From real estate agent blindsides to body corporate blow-ups, Leah and Ash have repeatedly found themselves at the centre of the drama on this year’s season of The Block - and we’re only two weeks in.
After copping heavy backlash on social media, with viewers calling their actions “aggressive”, “mean” and “nasty”, the couple have now spoken out about their controversial portrayal on-screen.
Leah tells Yahoo Lifestyle that while she’s chosen to stay offline to avoid seeing any negative comments, she’s finding it “bittersweet” watching the show.
“It's not how I am as a person in my everyday life,” she shares. “I am a straight shooter, that’s what we are, but we are not nasty. We don't ever try and gang up on anybody.
“It's just not who we are and it's just unfortunate that The Block is first and foremost a competitive environment. The way that you act and say things is not how you are in normal life, so it’s a shame that the audience isn't getting an accurate view of me.
“But hey, the other thing is I am quite loud and confident and that is polarising for our society at the moment. ‘Women should be little wallflowers’, and I’m not one of them.”
'It's a very serious competition'
Speaking about her ‘drama’ with fellow contestant Steph, Leah says it’s “definitely an eye-opener” seeing both sides of their story play out on TV.
“When you're there filming you’re in this bubble, so it's very difficult to put yourself in other people's shoes and look at different perspectives,” she details.
“Going into The Block, you might think you're going to have a level head but when you're in it and amongst it, everything is very heightened and everything becomes a very big serious deal.
“We didn't come on The Block to just hold hands and skip to the loo, we left our three babies behind to have a serious crack and it’s a very serious competition. So emotions were high and so were our opinions.”
The body corporate drama
One of the most intense moments so far this season was when fellow contestant Kyle blew up at Leah during a body corporate meeting, which she and Ash had organised to address the fact that Steph and Gian had gotten help from her dad without getting an induction.
“Watching that body corporate back was hard for me, only because it's probably not exactly how it went in reality,” Leah shares. “There were a lot of contestants that were of the same opinion as us who were toying with holding their own body corporate.
“And I know it looks like I was talking but in reality when I said the words, ‘Can I just explain’ and then Kyle sort of had some strong reaction to me, my reaction to that was because he didn't have a reaction to any other person that was talking, and there was a lot more talking than what was shown.
“That's when I started going, ‘This just felt really personal’, because he wasn't after Eliza when Eliza had a lot to say about it.”
Leah asserts that the main reason behind the body corporate was about safety concerns on the construction site, which is something she and Ash are both very passionate about.
“I’m a first aid trainer in the construction industry, I’ve seen and heard way too many things, and Ash teaches construction safety, so it's just something that we felt strongly about,” she says.
“There was no malice in it, there was no bad intent,” Ash chimes in. “It was just, ‘Hey everyone, do you know what we can’t do this? These are the rules, let’s just play by the rules’.”
Leah went on to share that she has a “big journey” this season that she’s hopeful viewers will be able to witness.
“It’s disappointing how some of it is getting played out, but there are also a lot of good, wholesome moments,” she remarks. “Kristy and I do become fast friends and obviously that will go into a bit of a journey as well.
“We gave it our all on this show and we left nothing behind, so viewers are getting a lot of insight into our thoughts.”
Ash adds that even though fans have watched 19 seasons of the reality show over the years, they have “no idea” what the experience is actually like until they go through it themselves.
“It’s 100 per cent next-level insane,” he says. “It’s probably one of the hardest and craziest things that you can do in your life.”
The Block continues Sunday 7pm on Nine and 9Now.
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