CDL Exclusive Interview With Paige Duke of CMT’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’

CDL Exclusive Interview With Paige Duke of CMT's 'Sweet Home Alabama'

Celeb Dirty Laundry was lucky enough to get the chance to interview Paige Duke, the young woman who’ll be looking for love on season 3 of SWEET HOME ALABAMA, CMT’s “Bachelorette” style show that helps the contestant (either a bachelor or bachelorette) locate their true love. The catch? Each individual on the show who’s vying for this ultimate prize of love is classified into one of two categories: Country or City. Interesting premise, huh? Reportedly, the show’s concept is based loosely off the 2002 movie featuring Reese Witherspoon, Sweet Home Alabama, where a country girl is forced to choose between a man with a country heart and one with a city heart.

Paige Duke is the former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ambassador and hails from South Carolina. She was a favorite on the show’s second season and, as you’ll read below in the delightful interview we had, she was both excited and nervous to be invited back for the show’s third season — where she’ll be put to work to, slowly and methodically, trim down a group of 22 men until she discovers the love of her life.

From what we hear, the show, which premieres tonight on CMT @ 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT), is filled with more tears, drama, and — of course! — romance than ever before. This isn’t your typical dating reality TV show, y’all (do you appreciate my attempts to sound country-ish?). So you’re going to want to check it out. We know we are!

Take a look at the men who are hoping to win over Paige’s heart. . . Guess which ones are COUNTRY and which ones are CITY, and make sure to tune into tonight’s episode to learn more about them.

And without further ado, we’d like to introduce you to the southern belle herself, Ms. Paige Duke. We appreciate Paige’s sincere responses to our questions and, for that, we want you all to support the show!

Interview with Paige Duke

CDL: First off, it’s fantastic to meet you, Paige! Thank you so much for agreeing to interview with us. We appreciate it very much.

PD: Hey! Thanks for interviewing me! It should be a lot of fun!

Can you begin by telling us — for those who are unfamiliar with the show — what Sweet Home Alabama is? I hear it’s a lot like The Bachelorette. How is it similar? How is it different?

SWEET HOME ALABAMA is a reality dating show on CMT. It’s similar to The Bachelorette except there’s not only the “love story” element, but also a competition between country and city guys! This makes the show extremely entertaining, as people not only pull for a certain guy, but also for the city or the country. I get to choose from such a diverse group of men. The show actually stems from the movie “Sweet Home Alabama” where a country girl (Reese Witherspoon) is torn between a city guy and a country guy from her southern town.

Being that we here at Celeb Dirty Laundry love us some juicy gossip, especially regarding reality TV shows, this is your time to unload. Let loose. What is it really like filming a reality show? Is there ever an end to the drama? Or is it constant, never ending?

Filming a reality TV show has been one of the best experiences of my life. Not only is there a lot of drama on the romance side, but also between the country and city guys. I’ve been on both sides of the show, as I was a contestant last season, so I know what the guys are going through. It’s strange living in a house with so many guys. A lot of the guys became like brothers to each other, yet I’m going on dates with all of them. While filming, we are completely cut off from the outside world — no TV, phone, internet, radio, etc. This, combined with 22 guys living in a 3 bedroom house, is obviously going to lead to drama no matter what type of personality you have. All you have to focus on are your feelings and you are constantly interviewed and questioned about them — to the point where you may start second guessing yourself. It feels like a big mind game so you really have to dissect every emotion you are feeling!

Filming was also a little tough for me because I didn’t want to hurt anyone. It’s hard to look someone in the eye and tell them you aren’t reciprocating their feelings. I also had to figure out which guys were just getting caught up in the competition and which guys were actually developing feelings for me.

 You were a fan favorite during the show’s second season. From what I hear, lots of people adored you. When you learned that they wanted you to come back as the bachelorette on the third season, what thought ran through your head? Were you excited? Perhaps a little nervous?          

Well thank you! I tried to be myself the whole time and I really hope I came off as genuine. I can’t explain how excited I was to come back this season. Last season I knew the bachelor from college and we had always been “just friends.” I was also excited because I was going to be the one doing the picking. I’ve never been big on competing for a guys attention — down here in the south the guy pursues the girl! That’s just the way it goes!

I’m also the first to admit I’m very skeptical about finding love on a reality show. Honestly, I always thought people who did these shows were out for selfish motives — how can you look for love when all you care about is what you will get from being on television? However, this show being on CMT just seemed to be different situation that other shows. I saw how real my girl friends’ feelings were on season 2 and I wanted to experience that! I figured the Lord gave me this opportunity for a reason and even if there was only a 1% chance of finding my soul mate, I’d be crazy not to take advantage of it. I mean come on, nothing else has worked for me in the dating world! (Haha)

I’ve never done things the normal way anyways. Think about it, this is like the ultimate e-harmony. I have a team of casting directors going through thousands of applications and finding guys who will be compatible with me. Just a few years ago people shook their head at the thought of finding love via the internet and Facebook, and now think about how many people you know who have!

Aside from being so excited, I was also extremely nervous. I’m known to wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m not a good pretender. I was scared I wouldn’t like any of the guys and then what? (Haha!) Good thing they did a good job picking the boys because I can honestly say I’ve never been happier!

What would be your number one tip for those out there who are currently seeking the love of their life?

Hmm…well, that was me about 2 months ago. I tried not to think about it because Mama always said it will come when you least expect it! She said, “When you see the person you will know.”

I haven’t had a boyfriend in over 3 years, and I’ve dated a few guys but nothing serious. I never wanted to settle because I do believe God has someone planned for all of us and in his timing you will meet! My best advice would be not to settle just for the sake of not being alone. You are only cheating yourself from the most intense feeling you will ever feel! Also, don’t try to make a love connection with someone when it isn’t there. Trust your gut. One person should not have stronger feelings than the other. I remember when I thought I was in love and tried to “win” the guys love in return. I would have done anything for him and that led to a LOT of heartache L! Read 1st Corinthians 13:4! That’s the type of love everyone should have!

Do you end up with a City Boy or a Country Boy? I know you won’t be able to reveal the name, but can you at least give us that? Don’t worry, you can share everything with us here. This is a safe place. Don’t worry about getting in trouble with the CMT Marketing/PR departments. I can fight them off with my Jedi mind tricks and elaborate spells. *looks both ways to ensure no one is coming* Who do you choose?

Hahahaha!  You sure are persistent! I can’t answer that! Half of the fun of watching the show is cheering for your way of life. I’m a big time country girl yet I’ve traveled the U.S. with NASCAR and I love the city life as well! No you can’t take the country out of the girl but I enjoy the best of both worlds! I wanted a guy who can do the same. I mean shouldn’t your Jedi mind tricks allow you to predict the outcome anyways? I wouldn’t want to downplay that talent of yours ;)

Touche, Ms. Duke, touche. Okay, I accept this challenge. I think you choose Donny Fallgatter (the 20th pic in the gallery of guys above), a country boy. This is my prediction for the world to see. I have about a 0.05% chance of being correct. 

After looking at the list of bachelors, you have a fairly large group of men-lookin’-for-love to choose from. Do any of them do anything crazy to win you over during the upcoming season? Do viewers have anything outrageous to look forward too? Did any of the men make you feel uncomfortable (perhaps severely blush?) in any way? (Remember, this is a safe place and a gossip zone).

This is going to be the most entertaining season ever because it was so real. Even from watching the super trailer, one can see the raw emotion. We were told this is the most organic reality show anyone has ever worked on! Ohhh, didn’t you see the ring in the trailer? That’s a pretty big deal! Viewers will also get a kick out of all the fights that occurred behind my back. The city and country worlds sometimes collide. I mean 22 guys, 3 bedroom house, outdoor restrooms and showers, and nothing to do but have some drinks all day LOL!! Ohhhh 3 guys also wrote songs for me and they are amazing. I’m sure I blushed a little during the songs because they were so sweet. One guy also went in for a kiss in front of ALL the other guys and that was a little awkward.

Do your parents watch the show?

YES!! Oh they love it and that means the world to me. I never want to do anything to disappoint them so their support made it much easier for me to let go of all the walls inside. I wasn’t scared to show my feelings because I knew my parents would be so supportive. I mean, it may be a little weird for my Dad watching the kissing scenes (covers eyes) LOL. Oh and Mama saying, “Don’t worry John, she learned everything she knows from me.” Ahh, awkward!

What is your favorite Skittle flavor? I can tell everything there is to know about a celeb if I know their fave Skittle color. It’s like a gift — and it’s sort of a big deal.

Ummm…I don’t eat skittles. The wardrobe stylist would kill me if my zipper didn’t zip HAHA! Just kidding! I’d rather have pretzel M&M’s but I’d say the tropical skittle pack (the blue one) is my favorite and I’m sorry but I haven’t taken them time to match the colors with their flavors. They are good all mixed together!

You don’t like Skittles?!?! That’s all right. Unfortunately then I can’t  use my powers of prophecy to deduce the future success of your romantic relationship. Perhaps when the show finishes its season we can do a group interview with your new man. Maybe he likes Skittles? You should ask him for me.

What are your plans for after the show, besides being in a relationship bound by eternal love?

Oh I can’t wait for the finale so I can finally be with my man in public!! It’s the most amazing love I’ve ever felt. If you are laughing just stop now because I told you I was just as skeptical (haha )and I feel a little crazy saying that. However, the Lord works in mysterious ways and I’m now with the Love of my life J Other than that, I’m going to continue my job in Minnesota at, an outdoor retailer, where I work as a national spokesperson. I’d also like to explore other TV hosting opportunities!

I never laugh at celebrities. Just kidding, I do. But not the ones I interview :)

The Six (Essential) Quick Questions:

Favorite Food?

Sushi, mashed potatoes, Mexican, Italian — basically I just like food!

Favorite TV show?

SWEET HOME ALABAMA- duh! Also any real life murder mysteries on ID channel!

What’s something that people would never guess about you upon a first encounter?

I was born in Germany and my Uncle Charlie was the 10th man to walk on the moon!

Fave celeb crush?

Chuck Wicks, Ashton Kutcher and David Beckham.

Guilty pleasure(s)?

Cowboy boots and bikinis!

All of us here at CelebDirtyLaundry (including our readers) sincerely appreciate you taking the time to chat with us. We love getting to personally connect with new celeb faces. I truly wish you the best of luck with your life–both your professional one and your romantic one! Any last burning thoughts you’d like to get off your chest? This blog is now your stage. . .

Never say things can’t happen! I have honestly found true love (and no they are not paying me to say that – haha)! I can’t wait for the world to see it and talk all about it!

Thanks so much for interviewing with us, Paige! We can’t wait to watch the new season of SWEET HOME ALABAMA. Make sure to come back to us when the season finishes airing. We will invite you and your new man for a virtual dinner (as per your liking, we will serve a smorgasbord of sushi, mashed taters, pastas, and tacos!).

SWEET HOME ALABAMA airs: Friday, January 13 at 9:00 p.m., ET/PT (however, as always, be sure to check your local listings just in case).