Some parents dread the idea of their children bringing home a paper mâché school project they have to complete, but to Stephanie Martinez, its just another normal day.
Ms Martinez is one of 13 talented ‘Makers’ pining for a shot at a $100,000 grand prize on Channel 10’s new DIY competition Making It Australia. Contestants will undertake a series of challenges that will showcase their artistic genius, unique skills and passion for their craft.
“I like to do anything and everything because there’s not one particular thing I like to work with. I do some sewing, some woodwork, small crafts and big projects. I just love doing everything,” she told Neos Kosmos.
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The Cypriot-Australian mum from Melbourne almost missed out on joining in on the show, not being much of a television watcher herself, but after overhearing the show’s call-out for contestants, Ms Martinez knew she couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
“It was just one night, 10 o’clock in bed, my husband’s watching TV and a commercial comes up and it’s Amy and Nick Offerman and they’re saying apply for this show. ‘Do you do this? Do you do that?’. Everything they were describing is what I do and I looked at my husband and he asked, ‘You’re going to apply, aren’t you?’,” Ms Martinez said.
“I think the older you get, you lose belief because you’re older and you don’t take chances or you don’t have time to do things. I think I surprise myself sometimes and I think I’ve got to give myself the of the doubt and that I’ve still ‘got it’.”
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When Ms Martinez got the call that she had made it onto the cast, her family was naturally overjoyed, and while it was challenging to be apart from them during filming, her time on the show made up for some of the heartache.
“I just felt alive crafting all day! I mean how can you not like crafting? It was so much fun, I had the greatest experience ever. It was something else,” she explained.
The glue gun connoisseur’s love for craft can also be traced back to her days as a young girl, watching on as her mother put together sewing patterns and her father worked out in the backyard of her childhood home.
“My parents came out here as immigrants, they came out for a better life. They were blue collar workers, hands on, my dad was a motor mechanic and my mum cut out patterns and sewed,” Ms Martinez said.
“I remember watching on when I was little, sitting next to her and copying her. She would be on the sewing machine and would give me some material and I would sew on buttons. I was about five and would just keep practicing on the sewing machine.
It’s funny little things like that. When I got older I played with my dad’s tools. He was teaching me how to tile and how to weld.”
Ms Martinez will have a world of support behind her, going beyond her close family and friends. The 45-year-old mother of two built up her own deli, which welcomed the Sunshine community who came to pick up their favourite Greek and Cypriot staples.
“We were on the same street as the Cypriot church, so it’s a very tight knit Cypriot community, so we’re very well known when we opened up. We sold everything Greek and Cypriot you could think of…I don’t think you can get more Cypriot than me,” she said.
As the show gets underway on our televisions and we watch on with anticipation to see Ms Martinez’s creations, the crafty mum will continue putting her hands to work back at home and updating her YouTube channel helping out others who want to get involved themselves.
“We’re doing the backyard at the moment with my husband. My husband is a motor mechanic as well, he’s very hands on. He’s handier than me, but that’s how we met. He was a customer of mine and he would say ‘Come to Bunnings, I’ll show you new tools’. So we used to meet up at Bunnings,” she said.
You can catch Ms Martinez on Making It Australia on Wednesdays and Thursdays on Channel 10 and 10 Play On Demand.