*We caught up with Professional driver Paul Swan and his wife Mariel to dish about USA network’s half-hour unscripted series “Austin Dillon’s Life in the Fastlane”.
The couple is best friends of Daytona 500 Champion Austin Dillon and his wife Whitney and the show follows the group’s over-the-top NASCAR lifestyle. Per the network, “the Dillons and Swans live fast and loud while putting family and friendship first around every turn.”
Paul and Mariel are no strangers to the reality TV world but this is the first time they are appearing on the same show together.
“It’s been absolutely tremendous,” Paul says of this journey with his wife and their close pals, “but what I tell people all the time, like the people that come up to me at the track are like, “Man, love this show. Is this how you guys really are? Is it real?” I’m like, “It’s 100% real.” That was the best thing about this show, is that our producers, the network, everybody said be ourselves. And that’s what people are going to want to see. And that’s what’s going to make the show work,” he explained.
“So it made it really easy because it’s just the four of us showing our love, showing our friendship, showing the fun things we do together. And it’s just us basically being ourselves,” Paul added.
“I believe that we all know that we have something so special when it comes to not only our relationships with each other as husband and wife, but also the way that we’ve all come together as friends,” Mariel said. “It’s something really incredible because you’ve taken four different people from totally different backgrounds, cultures, walks of life.
“You’ve got Paul who’s from the north, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. You’ve got me to the south, Memphis, Tennessee. Whitney’s from Chattanooga, Tennessee and Austin’s from Welcome, North Carolina. And just to get four different people from so many different aspects of life that has really come together and show the love that we have for each other, I think it’s something really great to see on television right now,” she explained.
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What life has been like for Paul and Mariel since the Fastlane cameras stopped rolling?
Paul: It’s a lot harder for me to get my job done at the track now because a lot more people are coming up and stopping and want to ask about the show, ask for pictures, ask for autographs. And I love it. I love meeting all the fans, meeting all these new people and interacting with them and hearing how they enjoy the show. But it definitely makes getting my job, pre-race, a little more challenging getting everything done, getting everything set up, but it’s been awesome. I really enjoy going to the track every weekend now, since the show’s been airing, and just meeting a whole bunch of new people.
Mariel: Yeah. I completely agree. It is. It’s really cool too, to know and hear everybody’s feedback, and see that everybody’s just loving the show.
How often do you hear from fans who give you props for being an interracial couple representing in the world of NASCAR?
Mariel: We get so many messages about that very space. We’ve had a lot of interracial couples tell us that seeing us gives them encouragement because there is so much going on in the world right now and they say it feels good to see somebody that represents them on television.
Paul: There’ll be some interracial couples at the track who just come up and they’re obviously the same as us. And they’re just like, “Man, it’s really, really cool to see an interracial couple, you guys representing us so well and just showing what true love is all about, and that color does not matter and all that stuff. And it’s just going about it. It’s awesome.”
Mariel: Yeah, it touches our hearts to see the messages and stuff that people send to us on stuff like that. And even what they say to us in real life, that’s probably one of the most talked about things with us, whenever people talk to us.
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How challenging was it for you Mariel to film the show while pregnant? Were there moments when you wanted to hide from the camera and deal with your emotions privately?
Mariel: I definitely had those moments, because I’m just human and this is my first pregnancy ever. So I will say, I think that in the beginning, I had way more fears coming into it. I feel like in hindsight it actually gave the viewers access to a more vulnerable side of me because I’m going through pregnancy and the viewers are going through it right there with me. So of course I’ve had those moments where I was like, oh my gosh, I’m very emotional. I don’t know what to do with myself today. I want to hide under a rock, but the way that the cast and the crew members and our producers, they made me feel so amazing.
And they were so great and gracious with me. When I look back on it, it’s been really cool to just have all of this footage to look back on, and see the experience of me being pregnant with Bella. And like I said, I think it all worked out because I felt like viewers really got to see me at my most vulnerable time. And I didn’t know what to expect, but I just was like, okay, we’re just going to go through it. And we’re just going to be ourselves and whatever happens happens.
What’s the conversation like at home as you watch the new episodes air each week? Are there any moments coming up that you’re not looking forward to reliving?
Paul: Everything’s been pretty funny. We’re pretty lighthearted with it all. And we trusted the crew we had and the network, that they would put out a really good piece of everything, of what we did. And it’s been that way so far. There’s definitely been some scenes where we’ve laughed pretty hard and been like, “Oh man, whoa.” But it’s been all fun. And just some little things, like with some of the football scenes I did, I was hoping they were going to show some more of my better catches. They kind of put some drops on there and just some stuff like that, just some little funny things, but it’s really been a lot of great feedback from us.
Mariel: I think for me, whenever we’re watching it again, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, this happened for real.” I think while we were filming it, it felt real. But I don’t know, because I was pregnant and I was just halfway out of it too. I was like, “Huh, this is so much fun.” But it didn’t resonate that it was going to go on national television until we actually saw it on television. So I think that of course naturally, you get a little nervous, but it’s been great.
Tune in to new episodes of “Austin Dillion’s Life in the Fast Lane” on Thursdays at 9:30pm ET on USA Network.