As part of the very first season of 90 Day Fiancé, Russ Mayfield wasn’t sure he wanted to be on the reality show. His concern? That it would turn out to be too out of control for his liking. Too, as he put it, Jersey Shore, referencing the MTV reality show.
As it turned out, Mayfield had nothing to be worried about.
How Russ and Paola met and then heard about ’90 Day Fiancé’
Russ and Paola Mayfield met while he was in her native country of Colombia. He was there working as a field engineer in the oil industry. The couple met, fell in love, and made the decision to move together to the United States.
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Russ Mayfield explained in February 2020 how he and wife, Paola (or Pao) heard about the show.
“It was the first season of the show, so no one knew about it,” he said. “I didn’t want the pressure of the K-1 visa to rest solely on me, so I hired someone who knew what they were doing with the process. Then one day my immigration attorney called and said, ‘This show called and wanted to know if you would share your lives with everything going on with the K-1 visa.’ “
“We had a couple of casting interviews. During one of them I was visiting Pao in Colombia, so we got to do a casting interview together.”
The couple almost wasn’t part of ’90 Day Fiance’
Russ expressed his extreme hesitancy to become part of a reality show no one had heard of. Would he and his family regret it? Would the show’s editing cause them to look completely unlike themselves?
“My first question to them was ‘Is this going to be like Jersey Shore?’,” he said. “That was the only reality show I was familiar with at that time, and I didn’t want it to be anything like that. They said, ‘No, you’re just sharing your love story.’ “
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Pao revealed in the same interview how much her life has changed since appearing on the program, which coincided with coming to the US for the first time.
“I never could have imagined in a million years this would be my life,” she said. “I am grateful for it. I had really bad moments throughout the series—there are parts of me that are not proud. But the comments from people made me realize when I am wrong. Hearing from people has made me think about decisions in my relationship. I was lucky to get that.”
Russ Mayfield’s hesitation was unnecessary
As it turned out, Russ’ suspicions were unfounded and the couple’s turn on the show has resulted in higher visibility to fans, which depending on what fans are saying can be either be a positive experience or enormously disturbing.
Pao shared how people’s comments on social media have affected her and made a request of fans.
“The people who choose to show their lives in this moment, we are people,” she said. “And people go through hard times. Sometimes people are so mean and judgmental, and they don’t see it that way.”
She continued, “[Social media] gets people to go online and say things to the cast. They fight with others for you, they defend you. That’s the good and the bad of social media, the way it lets you interact with fans. I wish I could tell people, ‘Don’t be so mean to people on social media.’ “
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