Sometimes, we can be a bit cruel to child stars as a society. We adore them in their breakout roles, but we also love to criticize their every move. We watch them grow up with hawk eyes, commenting on every night out, every haircut, every rumor pumped out of the tabloid mill.
We like to watch people fail. We love to watch them fall from the top to the bottom and maybe go a little crazy on the way down. It’s hard to face, but it’s true.
At the same time, we love a comeback. We love a phoenix rising from the ashes and coming back strong. We’ve seen it with Britney Spears, Neil Patrick Harris, Robert Downey Jr., Amanda Bynes, Rob Lowe and many more. Turning public humiliation into a thriving empire is how we gained the Kardashians.
Now, we are witnessing what maybe the next big comeback: Lindsay Lohan. Her new reality series “Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club” airs Tuesday nights on MTV and follows her successful beach house in Mykonos, Greece.
Lohan’s flame burned exceptionally bright from a very young age. She started modeling at the age of three and took on the double-lead roles of Annie and Hallie for “Parent Trap” when she was just 11. This was the beginning of a string of iconic roles in movies like “Life Size,” “Mean Girls” and “Freaky Friday.”
But by age 18, it seemed that Lohan was in a dangerous position. The tabloids had branded her a party girl and her infamous parents fed the flames. After “Mean Girls” she struggled to find another box office success and kept having run-ins with the law. She was in and out of jail and rehab multiple times, and the paparazzi followed her for every second of it.
Eventually, she ran away. She found solace in Dubai, the city’s strict privacy laws making the paparazzi illegal. She moved to the city in 2015, and has rarely returned to the U.S. since. It was altogether a healthier environment for her, also limiting her access to drugs. She started to refuel and rebuild her life away from the spotlight.
So how did she go from hiding in Dubai to running the party in Greece? Well, as Lohan tells it, an incident of abuse by her former fiance Egor Tarabasov occured on the very beach she now owns. Pictures of this incident were caught by paparazzi, and a later fight was also caught on video by someone.
“Instead of crying or getting angry, I said I’m going to own this beach one day because I always want everyone to feel safe,” she says in the show. And now she does. She runs her beach club with a heavy hand, controlling every detail down to the playlist.
The show centers not on the beach club or Lindsay herself, but on the young and sexy brand ambassadors she has shipped in from the U.S. to help her.
The show is a bit like MTV’s other hit reality show “Real World.” The brand ambassadors all live together in a beautiful house and after working all day at the beach club, they go home and stir up some drama at night with Lohan and her sidekick Panos occasionally popping in to check on them when the drama is about to boil over.
The show doesn’t give you a lot of time to get to know many of the characters. The backroom editing chooses two or three to focus on in an episode. To be honest, there are only a couple of them that I would be able to identify as part of the cast after watching four episodes.
But, the show is good. It’s proper reality TV, without any competition or self-improvement or home-improvement. It gets back to where the reality show was born in the early aughts.
The show also helps Lohan reclaim her narrative. We don’t see the trashy party girl we came to know her as. We see her as a 32-year-old businesswoman running a tight ship with a caring demeanor. She looks healthier and happier spraying beach house guests with champagne guns than any time we’ve seen her in the last decade.
It will be interesting to see if the show addresses some of her viral moments from the summer. It would be expected that we see her now viral dance moves that fueled confusion and admiration on Twitter.
But, it would be very brave to take on the story behind her Instagram livestream where she filmed herself accusing a mother of child trafficking and attempting to take the children back to her hotel. It may be out of the scope of the show, but if anything is to be learned from the Kardashians, it is that reality is a great way to spin the narrative from the press months after the story hits.
Beyond the beach club, Lohan has been working on developing more businesses. She has a makeup line, a nightclub in Greece and is looking to open a similar beach club in Dubai.
She has also been steadily getting back into acting, but avoiding Hollywood and the publicity junkets involved. She starred alongside Rupert Grint in the second season of the Netflix Original “Sick Note” and has a couple more roles lined up in Europe. She is also in the upcoming thriller “Among the Shadows” which hits theaters March 5.
Lohan has a long way to go before she can reclaim her place among cultural icons, but this is a great start. She has found a way to push her own narrative and identity to the public and is no longer letting opportunists and tabloids cloud her vision.