Jackson and Alex are now household names, but long before they became the Australian Lego Masters champions for 2020, they were mates at Hale School.
Jackson Harvey and Alex Towler attended Hale from 2003 to 2007. Today, they returned to share their experiences on the hit TV show and their memories from school.
They were treated like heroes when they visited the Junior School at recess, before separate sessions with boys in Years 5 and 6, and then Years 7 and 8. They did Q&A sessions for both, as well as a five-minute Lego challenge in teams with the younger boys – a Hale School theme, resulting in simple builds of a football field and basketball court respectively.
Answering questions about their newfound Lego Masters fame, they said they never expected to make it to the finale and were surprised to walk away with the win.
“Jackson and I applied to the show on a whim,” Alex admitted. “I don’t think either of us really thought we were going be on it and then once we were, making it all the way to the end was pretty far-fetched, so to find ourselves walking into the finale was surreal. We were proud of ourselves to make it that far, but as soon as we walked in the door, we were focused on getting the job done. It was amazing!”
They also shared some behind-the-scenes information. No, they didn’t shoot for 15 to 24 hours straight – there was some “TV magic” at play. The long builds were divided up over days, with breaks at night and for meals.
Also, they suffered minor hand injuries, mainly cuts and scratches grabbing handfuls of blocks. But the mental challenge was bigger than the physical one.
“I think when you’re doing anything with a time constraint there is an added element of pressure and then when you have cameras in your face there is a totally different element of pressure,” Jackson said. “Combine those two and you’re pretty much under stress the whole time.”
However, despite the challenges, they still had a lot of fun – and it showed. The duo became known for their expert storytelling, which was a key element in all of their builds, merging impressive technical skills (Alex’s forte) with outstanding creativity and detail (Jackson’s strength). They agree that they could not have achieved what they did without each other.
“We found that time and time again we would come up with ideas together that we would never have come up with alone,” Jackson revealed. “The value of collaboration and teamwork is something I came away with a better appreciation of.”
At school, they became friends over their shared interest in the creative arts, especially drama. Alex was heavily involved in school productions and music, and Jackson was a passionate Art student.
Known almost as much for their ‘look’ as their Lego skills on TV, they admitted rebelling against Hale’s strict haircut policy once they left school and started growing their hair. Jackson hasn’t cut his hair since and would like it to grow much longer.
“I would love to have hair down to my ankles,” Jackson joked. “But getting my hair caught in the Lego was a perpetual source of stress for Alex in the competition!”