We caught up with Christine and Michelle for an interview after episode four of LEGO® Masters, season three. As usual, we collaborated with several other recognized LEGO® fan media to conduct this interview. Special thanks goes to Megan from Brickset as she took over for us and asked our questions when I was called away last minute. You can watch the Christine and Michelle interview below or read on for more!
How did you get into the LEGO® hobby?
Christine: I did not play with LEGO® at all. I was only gifted dolls as a kid and built houses out of cereal boxes, Quaker oatmeal containers, even milk cartons. I tried building cities out of that. City building was always with me, but I didn’t actually play with LEGO® until after college. I used to be a pre-K teacher, but went back to school for engineering. There, everything I designed on Revit (which is like AutoCAD on steroids) was very whimsical or childlike. I still wanted to work with children, but I didn’t understand how to merge both those concentrations until I landed a job teaching engineering with LEGO®. That’s what I do now.
Michelle: For me, I’ve always been a tomboy [laughs]. I’ve always been not so much into dolls and stuff. I was very into LEGO®. When I started looking for a career, I really wanted to become a toy designer. So, I went into industrial design. My goal was to work for a toy company. When they opened LEGO® in Mexico, in Monterrey, my hometown, I was very excited about that. LEGO® is a very awesome toy to discover as an industrial designer because it has so much engineering in it. You can do so much with it, so much creativity. I’ve always been into building and puzzles and stuff like that.
After finishing college, I didn’t get the job [at the LEGO® Group] and my career path kind of changed. I started teaching. So, I pivoted and then went back when my kids were young. I spent a lot of time at home, so I started buying LEGO® sets. Now that my kids are nine and six, I play LEGO® with them. That’s an activity that I can share with them. We can all share the same passion together.
How does building at home compare to building on LEGO® Masters?
Christine: It makes me want to up my game with storage systems and variety. You have over 3,300 pieces [on the show], I think. I have a variety, but I don’t think its as vast as that. In the past, I built with what I have. I didn’t buy off of BrickLink. Now, I find myself purchasing off of BrickLink. I just started using Studio. My MOCs are getting larger.
Michelle: It was challenging because I don’t have too many pieces. I’m used to getting extra creative with the usage part. It was overwhelming to see that I had that amount of bricks. We were just dumping stuff in the bins. I’m not used to building with a huge amount of LEGO®, so it was overwhelming. The first episode, I think, was the worst one. You don’t know where anything is, you don’t know what’s going on, it’s the first challenge. As you go on, you get the hang of everything and you better understand the pieces’ placement [in the brick pit] and everything.
But still, there’s the fact that you have so little time. As you’ve all seen in episode four, if you don’t have the idea right away, the clock is running. Your time is limited. It keeps snowballing. Overwhelming, I would say. Also, the pieces that you’re used to using are not there. It’s weird, you would think they have certain pieces, but they don’t. You have to adapt and you have to overcome quick.
In the fourth episode, you struggled with some creativity block. We’ve all been there. What did you learn from your experience that might help others?
Michelle: Don’t think of registered brands [laughs]. That was our problem. We kept coming up with ideas that couldn’t make it on the show.
Christine: Also, although we’re both Hispanic, she’s Mexican, I’m Dominican. Something as simple as being on the same wavelength of what fairy tales might be can be different. I’m Americanized, she is not Americanized. So, her idea of fairy tales is different from my idea of fairy tales. Even though we have a similar background, even though we were raised together, we still don’t have the same understanding of something that’s fantasy. It may be interpreted completely differently.
Michelle: Exactly, that’s very well put.
What are you taking away from your LEGO® Masters experience?
Christine: We made it to LEGO® Masters! That’s it. Everyone and their dog applied or was sought out. It was like, really? We made it?
Michelle: We are part of LEGO® Masters history. No one can take that away from us. It doesn’t matter what people think or what people comment. We were part of LEGO® Masters. We will forever be related to the brand.
Christine: That and being able to call friends and people from previous seasons and other countries. To be able to have that friendship. Yeah, we get to see each other on social media. But, once they realize that we went through the same experience, it’s just stronger relationships. What an opportunity.
What advice do you have for adults just getting into the LEGO® hobby?
Michelle: Use other designers and builders as an inspiration, but never get discouraged. We all start somewhere. Don’t get discouraged by looking at the Master Builders. It doesn’t matter. Anything you build is amazing because it came out of you. Keep building, don’t get discouraged. Just get inspired, keep building.
Christine: Don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s a toy designed for kids, it’s only plastic. Try not to let the tiny brick overpower you. Just start off very basic, it doesn’t matter. It’s just a kids’ toy.
That’s all folks!
So concludes our Christine and Michelle interview. However, you can always see more from the duo by following them on social media. Christine “Tacos” Blandino is on Instagram and TikTok. Michelle Contreras is on Instagram. Four teams have left the show, nine remain. Be sure to tune into LEGO® Masters on FOX or CTV this Wednesday at 9:00 pm for the next episode! We’ll the have recap and exit interview shortly after as part of our complete season three coverage.
Until next time,
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