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House Nerd: Almost Famous. Kind of.

Posted Tuesday, September 24, 2013 in: Nerd Life

So this is pretty funny, but I haven’t told you guys yet because it happened just before the wedding and I was running around like a headless space cadet chicken at the time.

Mr Nerd and I got asked to apply for the next season of House Rules. And no no, before you clap your hands in glee like some friends did when I told them - no we did NOT get on! And we are not unhappy about it. But it made me laugh so I thought I would tell you about it.

When Channel 7 opened the show up for applications for season two, some people suggested that Mr Nerd and I apply for House Rules and I kept saying no. I said we didn't have a chance in hell of getting picked. “I’m too brown and I talk funny,” I started saying in response.

Ok. I hear you and my friends and family cry out in dismay. “You’re not too brown!” my family and friends would shriek. And I know I am probably going to anger a few readers here by saying this. But it seems like the casts of these renovating reality TV shows are usually pretty, well, white. I am a half-Sri Lankan, half-German girl who doesn’t understand AFL.

And when it comes to the talking funny bit, that is no lie. Sometimes when I do house interviews people ask me where my “accent” is from. No matter how nicely I say it, they almost always look embarrassed when I tell them the truth. “I don’t have an accent, I’m just almost deaf,” I say. Mr Nerd says I should just say “Spain.”

I’m not degrading myself by saying I don’t have a good voice for TV. I know I have many other fine qualities. Like the ability to crack an egg with one hand without breaking the yolk. And I win cake raffles a lot. This is because I always fold my ticket into an origami frog. It boosts your raffle success rate. I have been doing this since I was in Year 6.

It was a little while ago I found out through social media that Channel 7 had extended the application date for the second season of House Rules. “They must not have found the right people yet,” I thought absent-mindedly. And then one morning I got a random email from a casting producer at Channel 7. She had seen my blog and pictures of and posts about Mr Nerd and I and she said she thought we would be great for the show. And she wanted us to apply and chat with us. They were under the pump and needed to lock in their WA couple by the end of the week (which I interpreted as their reason why they were scraping the barrel a bit, haha. But still). ERMAHGERD!

BLOCK FAIL: When we tried, and failed, about three or four years ago to apply for The Block.

I soon found out that Channel 7 were hoping to find a Perth couple where someone was a builder, tradie or had tradie or renovating experience. Hey, we have some of that. They said they were ideally hoping to get a family, but all kids had to be above six years old as you would be away from home, not working, for five to six months. As you know we don’t have kids but we could have borrowed some from Angelina. But here’s the kicker for their requirements, they were also hoping to find a couple with a CULTURALLY DIVERSE BACKGROUND. Hola! *waves a brown hand in excitement* I could be a token culturally diverse person.

SPEAKING OF BRANGELINA: By the way, I thought this was funny, and someone told me it was offensive.

Over the next few days Mr Nerd and I filled out endless forms, answered questions, chatted to the casting producer on the phone, sent off photos, made mood boards for tests, etc. But the same day they called us, they wanted to know if we could come into the Perth studio soon for a screen audition or whatever it’s called, and we couldn’t, because that very same day Mr Nerd had to fly away for a two week work trip. They seemed disappointed, but we were not going to toss in his job just for a maybe. We figured if they really wanted us, it would happen even if he was going away for a fortnight – if it wasn’t meant to happen, it wasn’t meant to happen!

ABOVE: The Channel 7 casting producer asked us (which meant I) to create two moodboards for two rooms we might create if we were on the show. Here are my attempts. I am pretty stoked with myself for my first mood boards, I'm not going to lie.

I think we also got points off because we had already done some partial renovations to the house (like the ensuite) and because we didn’t have kids, even thought my brownness seemed to impress the casting director.

Part of our conversation went like this: “Now Maya, that’s an interesting name. Where is that from?”
“Oh well my dad is Sri Lankan and it’s a Sri Lankan name and my mum is German and it’s also a German name but spelt differently. So they’re both happy.”
“Oh wow, German and Sri Lankan, that’s interesting. So I’m looking at some photos of you and you have sort of olive tanned skin, don’t you?”
“Uh, yes.” I could almost hear her ticking a box.
“And your hair, you’ve got dark hair, and you have long hair don’t you?”
“Uh, pretty long, I guess.”
“Fantastic, fantastic.”
Tick tick. What were they going to do to me? I thought nervously. Were they going to put a bindi on my forehead and wrap me in a sari for those cheesy promotional photos? Would I be wearing a sari and holding a hammer?

We thought being on the show could be great for my blog and that was the main reason we would have done it (and for funsies, I said, although Mr Nerd didn't quite share my enthusiasm for the funsies element and said it would be much more stressful and tiring than fun). But going on the show would also have meant Mr Nerd would have had to quit his job and I wouldn’t have been able to work either.

And you know what? It just didn’t pan out. I was half-disappointed, but half-relieved. But we actually did not mind. It was one of those things where things could work out one of two ways and you’d still be perfectly okay with either. Like when you go to a wedding and there’s two mains and the waiter could give you either the pan-fried salmon or the rib eye and then it is dessert and you could be handed either the chocolate mousse or the crème caramel. You’re not arguing. (And yes, I still have weddings on the brain. And also, food).

Of course I would have been very excited to be part of the show, and we would have given it our all. But what with getting engaged, planning our wedding for 130+ guests, starting this fiiiiiiine blog you are reading right now, Mr Nerd getting a new job, and getting stuck into our home renovations a bit more, this past year has been the most frenetic of my life. House Rules would have been five to six months of non-stop craziness and stress right after our wedding and to be honest we were just looking forward to enjoying some quiet post-wedding bliss. Yes it would have been good for House Nerd, but we are very happy anyway just to have our nice normal lives.

POST-WEDDING RELAXATION: Our wedding was the happiest day of my life, but I am looking forward to enjoying post-wedding nice, relaxed nights - Mr Nerd, fish and chips on the couch, a good movie and no commitments (well except uh, marriage). Photo by Chris Olszewski.

I got a funny reaction from my mum, who is the BIGGEST House Rules fan there is. She even keeps a folder with all these House Rules clippings from the paper and she has even “casually strolled” past Jemma and Ben’s house in Melville. Numerous times. She actually kept telling me and Mr Nerd to apply for the show. “You would be so good on it.” Then when I called her to tell her we were actually being considered, she was horrified.

“Mum! You know House Rules. They are interviewing me and Mr Nerd for it.”
“What?! You? To go on the show?”
“Oh! It’s probably because of your good looks,” she said smugly. My mum thinks we are lovely, because she is my mum. Then suddenly she sounded terrified. “But what about the arguing?” she said worriedly, because Mr Nerd and I bicker, well, a lot.
“It’ll be fine.”
“But all these people will know you in the street. And many people really don't like that person who is grumpy and rude to their partner on the show.”
“So? What’s your point?”
Mum went silent.
“Aren’t you excited?" I said. "You were DYING for us to go on.”
“What about Fiona and Dee instead?” she went on, in a fake cheerful tone. “Because Fiona is a model and she already has TV experience and they are a REALLY good-looking couple.”
“Thanks Mum.”

More blunt and to the point was one of my best friends. Let’s call her C. C knows who she is. We were going for a run when I told her we were being interviewed for House Rules. She was at first very very excited. And then she said the TV producers can portray you in a certain light. And she was blunt in the way only one of your closest friends can be blunt.
“But if you’re on TV then everyone will see how horrible you are to Mr Nerd.”
“I know.”
“And all these teenage girls will get crushes on him and they will go, “She’s so mean to him! She doesn’t appreciate him. I would appreciate him.” And they’ll get angry and call out nasty stuff to you on the street.”
“Oh, I know.”
“Maya! You’ll be vilified!”
She tried to make me feel better.
“But even if you’re mean all these teenage boys will think you’re hot and jerk off to pictures of you,” she said kindly.

I’m not unhappy we didn’t get on the show. Maya x

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