What are your thoughts regarding diversity on reality television today and the representation of different cultures?
Omar: I think it’s definitely needed. There’s a lot of people in Australia that probably aren’t familiar with people like Oz and I. There’s a lot of people that are very ignorant, as well as thinking Australia is purely a white country – which we all know it’s definitely not.
Oz: We’re representing a large community, and that’s the Muslim community. I am Lebanese, but I am Australian Lebanese. I’m a proud Australian and I want to show what two Muslim Aussies can do. For us, it’s something that we can’t take lightly. We’ve got to make sure we represent the people the best we can.
Omar: The more we can show people that Australia is multicultural, the better. I was born in Afghanistan and moved to New Zealand when I was 3. To see that Nine and The Block took that stand in allowing us to be role models for our community, I think it’s a step in the right direction. I think we need to keep doing it as much as possible.
There was a challenge you couldn’t participate in since you don’t drink alcohol. How did that make you feel?
Omar: We did get the heads-up before that challenge, so we knew that it was coming. We already knew that we weren’t going to be a part of it, so it is what it is. The only thing that I thought was a bit unfortunate was a $50,000 prize – whether it be in wine for a cellar or money to use on the build – it’s a prize anyone would want to win. We do understand that The Block is a massive show and they have a bunch of huge sponsors that they need to make happy, and without the sponsors the show wouldn’t be possible. We’re not holding any grudges against anyone for that challenge, though.
What are your thoughts about being famous?
Oz: I haven’t been in the spotlight on this scale before, but Omar has a bit due to his rugby career [Omar played for the New Zealand Warriors and the Afghan national rugby league team]. But since I’ve been on TV, it feels like second nature to me to be honest. The family are loving watching us both on-screen, too. And pretty much what you see with us is what you get – no acting.
Omar: The best thing about it is what people say to us. We have so many people saying they absolutely love us for who we are, they enjoy us and they hope we win. Hearing that from anyone is awesome, so it’s a really, really cool feeling. Oz and I definitely take our time out to stand there and have conversations with anyone, no matter who they are. That’s life these days.
Can we expect more from you two on TV after The Block has finished?
Oz: I think we’re made for TV.