Chatting to 10 play after their elimination, the glittery glamour expert and master of non-binary finery explained that from a young age they had always been creative.
“I was quite a theatrical little child, loving drama and art, so I always dabbled and my mum was quite creative as well,” Russell said.
“I can remember being really little and making doll clothes for my toys and singing to them,” they added, laughing.
With a wide range of skills across fashion, interiors and building design Russell wanted to bring their own ‘special brand’ of making to the competition. “I did coin my own type of Maker as a ‘glamour Maker’, someone who makes something prettier, that was pretty much what I brought to every task.
“At the end of the day I like to make people happy and I find anything that sparkles seems to make people happy!”
Used to crafting and creating, being in the Making It barn pushed Russell out of their comfort zone when the judges would offer feedback on their creations.
“It was quite daunting especially because Deborah and Benja are so skilled and so talented,” Russell said. “I just wanted to be good enough, I wanted them to like what I did... I wanted to make them kind of proud of me!”
During the competition, Russell explained to the judges, Harley and Susie that they are non-binary and wanted to represent their identity through their crafts.
“It was definitely a challenge because I’m a people person, a people pleaser, I tend to put people before myself,” Russell told 10 play.
“I may not look it but I tend to be behind the scenes, the nurturer, supporter and cheerleader. This time I had to put myself first,” they continued, fighting back tears once again.
“I did find I’d get quite emotional putting myself first but I did come to realise that it’s a good thing, it makes me better and it makes me better for other people,” Russell added.
After the Master Craft challenge, the other Makers rushed to Russell to comfort them with open arms. In just a short amount of time, each of them formed such a close bond and became a tight-knit family almost instantly.
“When you’re in a competition I find sometimes it can get to you and you’re in a pressure cooker, you’ve got all these stresses, but I think at the end of the day what upset me the most was the possibility of leaving the other Makers,” Russell said.
“I never had such an experience where I got to spend time with such like-minded people, even though we’re from such different parts of the spectrum,” they continued.
“There was no competitiveness... from day dot we were supporting each other, helping each other. If we were stuck on something, someone was like, ‘I did this before’ or ‘how about you try this?’ It was just an amazing experience.
“It sounds so cliché but it just was! It was just a big, warm, fuzzy hug,” Russell said, laughing.
Aside from meeting the other Makers, Russell said in their brief time in the competition they achieved two of the most important things they set out to do; dedicating a piece to their grandmother and to be a positive role model for the queer community.
“When I was younger I never saw anyone like me on television and, if I did, it wasn’t in a good light,” Russell explained.
“I hope that maybe, me being on this show will help someone like me. Someone who is different and someone who is unique and doesn’t see it as a negative and can see it as a positive.
“I guess you always feel like you could have done more, but I do feel that the main thing that I wanted to do I showed.”
Watch Making It Australia on Wednesday and Thursdays at 7:30pm on 10 and 10 play on demand