flowers + reading
Jun 25, 2020
If you’re a flower lover and you have a Netflix or social media account, you’ve likely heard about The Big Flower Fight. Ten teams of florists, sculptors and garden designers compete in the Netflix series to create extravagant floral installations for a chance to display at London’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Recently, we got a behind-the-scenes perspective from cast member Jordan Marx who competed with her boss, Sarah Campbell who owns Intrigue Teaches and Intrigued Designs in Maryland.
Jordan has worked with Sarah for almost 3 years. After backpacking the globe post-college, the time came when Jordan’s visas were expiring and she had to make her way back to the States. Since she hadn’t touched US soil in years, she was struggling with the idea of where or how to find a job with very few connections. So, she did what any millennial would do. She turned to social media!
During Jordan’s last few weeks in New Zealand, she stumbled upon a quirky, sarcastic job listing for a personal assistant which seemed more like a joke than a serious inquiry. Some of the job requirements included a love of travel, a good sense of humor, and the ability to work in an office with an extremely smelly dog. Jordan applied and was hired by Intrigue Teaches owner Sarah Campbell. Jordan likes to say Sarah “adopted me sight unseen”. Upon Jordan’s return to the States, she began working with Sarah and was quickly promoted to Communications Director. According to Sarah, Jordan’s quick promotion was partly because Jordan was too smart to be doing personal assistant work and partly because Sarah realized she didn’t want anyone touching her laundry! Jordan’s current job requires doing anything and everything that isn’t hands-on design work. She handles emails, website copy, social media outlines, marketing campaigns, event production, and customer relations. According to Jordan, there is never a slow or boring day at Intrigue Teaches!
Botanical Brouhaha: How did you get the chance to be on The Big Flower Fight?
Jordan: Unbeknownst to me or Sarah, The Big Flower Fight production team was on a search for floral superstars to cast on the show. As the story goes, the team was talking to various designers and gauging interest, when Sarah’s name kept coming up in the conversation. People where asking, “Do you know Sarah?” and “Have you talked to Sarah?”…so they tracked Sarah down on Instagram. Once we started talking to the production team, it became apparent that this was the type of TV project we’d been waiting for! Sarah is approached by TV shows more than you might think, but this one was special. It was clear they were intent on making something beautiful, inspiring, and positive. They wanted to showcase the amazing things that can be done with plants and flowers, as well as shine a spotlight on the industry. We, as Intrigue Teaches, wanted to be involved in that! My personal involvement came when Sarah knew she needed a partner on the show. Of course, her first thought was to seek out a flower friend and floral designer to assist her, but there was one thought she kept coming back to. If I’m gone…who is going to run the business? That’s when I threw my own hat in the ring. What we do at Intrigue Teaches is hard work and it’s a team effort. I knew if I went with Sarah, we could continue running the business effectively and helping support the floral industry while competing on the show. Lucky for us, the production team loved the idea of Sarah (a world-renowned florist) coming on the show with little old me (someone who’d literally never designed anything before in her whole life).
BB: Did you form friendships with other contestants?
Jordan: For me personally, the friendships were an unexpected byproduct that came from the show! Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t walk through the doors wanting to make any enemies…but I certainly didn’t expect that I would end up walking away with 18 new best friends. We still talk to the other teams nearly every single day via text messages, group calls, or Facetime. I value each and every one of those people in so many ways, for so many reasons. Each relationship is different and holds a wealth of value in my life. I wouldn’t even know where to begin with the details…I’d need a book to tell you how much I love them all!
BB: What were some of the challenges of being on the show?
Jordan: The challenges on the show presented themselves in a vast array of ways over each and every challenge (I guess that’s why they’re called challenges, huh?). I won’t lie to you: the days were long, the workload was immense, and the challenges were extremely physically demanding. We were working with strict time restraints, limited plants and flowers, and only a certain set of tools…it was a competition, after all! Neither Sarah nor I were proficient in a lot of the skills and techniques that were being asked of us, but we didn’t let it keep us down! For me personally, as someone with no hands-on floral experience and limited knowledge of the concepts and mechanics of design, I faced a large learning curve over the course of the show. Lucky for us, that dome was full of loving, giving, supportive people who were always willing to lend a helping hand or offer up a piece of advice should we need it. Everyone in the competition wanted to win by having the best creation, not by seeing anyone else fail. At the end of each challenge, all of the struggle was worth it when you were able to step back and see the sheer impact of what you’d made! It was a feeling of pride and accomplishment like nothing I’d ever experienced.
BB: Which design were you most proud of?
Jordan: I’ve got two favorite designs that win my award for Proudest Creation, for two different reasons. My biggest emotional challenge came in episode 3, the giant creatures! Neither Sarah nor I have experience in sculpting large objects, so each challenge was difficult. But, this was the first challenge where neither of us were familiar with any of the plants or flowers in the garden…because there were none. This was a GRASS challenge. Each episode, I was looking to Sarah for guidance on what to do and how to do it (no design experience here, remember). During this build (which was a gigantic LEMUR, by the way), neither of us had any clue what we were doing! Our lemur structure was 10+ feet tall! To be honest, I had very little hope that we would finish this design or that it would look anything like an animal of any kind whatsoever. This challenge was a favorite because we pushed through our hardships and struggles, no matter the end result. Looking back now, whenever I see photos of the lemur, I find myself smiling. It makes me proud to see what we accomplished, and proud that Sarah and I made it together.
My second proudest moment came in episode 5, the mobile challenge! This creation was the most fun for me to make. Throughout a majority of the designs, I felt out of my element, never knowing if what I was doing was right, or wrong, or what was supposed to come next. During this design, Sarah said: “I wish there was a way to have flying birds emerging from the storm cloud” and my brain shot back: “I CAN DO THAT!” And..I did! I was so proud of those cute little birds and that I was actually able to make them fly. It was the most confident moment for me during whole competition and I was truly proud of the work I was able to contribute (even if it was only a small touch).
BB: Can you describe each of the designs you created?
BB: Would you do it again?
Jordan: During the filming of the show, it was something I swore to myself I’d never do again. Don’t misunderstand. Competing in The Big Flower fight was one of the most joyful, most magnificent, and truly awe-inspiring experiences I’ve ever had. On the other hand, it was also the most difficult, physically & mentally demanding, and exhausting thing I have ever done. However, the moment we finished filming and landed back in the US…my heart longed to go back! I missed the big things and the small things alike. I missed the dome, I missed my friends, and I missed waking up each day knowing a once-in-a-lifetime adventure was waiting for me. I missed having my friends around when I needed them, I missed the Biscoff cookies I had with my coffee every morning. I missed it ALL. I, 100%, without a doubt, would absolutely do it all again in a heartbeat. In fact, I’d LOVE to throw my hat in the ring to be the 3rd host or a guest judge, should there be a season 2! So, Netflix…if you’re reading this…*wink wink*
BB: What are some of the things you’ll take away from the experience?
Jordan: I’m not sure there is one particular element I have taken away with me. I made a conscious effort each and every day to stay present and soak up every second of time that I could, so that I can carry the whole show with me, and everyone that was a part of it, forever. Of course, there are the more practical things I could single out: new design skills (a bunch of them), new friendships (more than I can count on two hands, literally), and a bunch of cool English slang, and confidence in my voice as an artist. But more than anything, I’ve taken away the memory of a life-changing experience that altered me as a human being. I am not the same person now as I was when we first stepped off that airplane, and it took a lot of wonderful humans, wonderful moments, and wonderful memories to make that happen.
See more behind-the-scenes images of The Big Flower Fight:
Images courtesy of Netflix
Enjoy a Behind the Scenes look? Check out one of our all-time favorites.