It's nearly 2 a.m. in Dubai, and Lindsay Lohan is getting ready to go to sleep; she has taken some magnesium with water and is already in bed when we speak over the phone at the end of January. If you still associate Lohan with her past party girl-reputation, you're in for a bit of a wake-up call — she hardly ever goes out late nowadays. ("I've already lived that lifestyle, I'd rather be home," she says.) Instead, her top priority is running three beach clubs in Athens, Rhodes, and most recently, Mykonos. In fact, Lohan's Mykonos beach club is the setting for her new reality show, which spotlights a very different side of the former child star.
On Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club — airing Mondays at 10 p.m. EST on MTV — the 32-year-old is all about taking charge. "I've never been afraid of being bossy as a woman," Lohan says, echoing the message of the series' catchy theme song. "If the men can be bossy, so can women." And while she's been building her beachside businesses for years, this is the first time she's really letting cameras in on that experience.
"When you hear the title of the show and what it is, people are going to make what they make of it, because of the life we live in," she says of anyone who may go into the show making assumptions about Lohan, her party-girl past, or even her life now. But she insists, "I wouldn't have considered [the show], if it wasn't for the right reasons."
Plus, the series gives Lohan the opportunity to be in control of her own narrative. "Because there's so much [of my life] in the public eye anyway, I'd rather take it into my own hands and do it on my own terms, protect myself, and show what I've worked really hard for in these beach places and night clubs," she explains matter-of-factly.
If you think it's all about boozy drinks flowing and people dancing on table tops, there's actually a much more somber reason she chose to open a venue on the beaches of Mykonos: to reclaim it as a safe space for herself. As mentioned in the first episodes of Lohan's Beach Club, the location of her newest resort is the same beach where Lohan had an alleged altercation with an ex.
Back in July 2016, photos and video surfaced of an alleged violent incident between Lohan and her then-fiancé Egor Tarabasov. (Per the Daily Mail, a spokesperson for Tarabasov denied all allegations against him back in 2016.) And although no one is named on the show, Lohan's business partner Panos references those reports on camera.
As a public figure, and one who hasn't exactly had the easiest time in the spotlight, Lohan believes it would be "difficult" for her to go and be public about the alleged altercation in America with the risk of it creating a "negative connotation of [her] life." She says she is on a "different side of it," but now encourages other women to speak out about any abuse they may face.
Last year, Lohan sparked backlash with comments about the #MeToo movement when she told U.K. publication The Times, in part, "I think by women speaking against all these things, it makes them look weak when they are very strong women." (She later apologized in a statement to People, "I have since learned how statements like mine are seen as hurtful, which was never my intent... I feel very strongly about the #MeToo movement and have the utmost respect and admiration for the women brave enough to come forward and speak out about their experiences.")
While she certainly can't speak for anyone else, Lohan opens up during our conversation about how she coped with her own alleged physical abuse. For her, healing meant "disappearing and working harder" by diving full-throttle into her business endeavors abroad. "I was like, 'OK, you know what? I've been coming here, and how dare someone ruin a great memory for me in this place that I love,'" she explains. "'I'm just going to do something beautiful with it and say nothing else.' So that's what I did."
Still, that doesn't mean it hasn't been an emotional process. "I took the power into my own hands and it was not easy for me as a person," Lohan continues. "If a man hits you, you have memories of that."
Lohan's emphasis on creating a safe space — not only for herself, but others — is also evident when discussing the work environment she fosters for her employees. "If I see someone upset, that's more important to me," she says. "I'm surely not going to fire someone because they're going through something personal in their life. I just want to understand who they are as a person so I can help them." And she's already been doing just that, such as talking some of her club staff through first-day anxiety and making sure they check in with each other in the first few episodes.
Even though Lohan's Beach Club showcases a different side of the star, that's not to say all feedback has been positive. Like any reality show, there's going to be some critics. And when VICE shared a less-than-positive review on Instagram, another celeb stepped in to have her back. Fellow former child star Miley Cyrus wrote in the comments section, "Lies! It's the best show ever."
Like fans, Lohan was pleasantly surprised by the IG support. "I've known Miley since forever. She's been put through the ringer, and she's a strong girl and she's a beautiful person... It was really cool for her to do that," she says now. They haven't seen each other in awhile, but Lohan still says the singer "feels like a sister," adding, "You know who your friends are when you least expect it the most." Clearly, these two have one another's back, and the love is mutual.
While not everyone may understand where Lohan's coming from, but that doesn't seem to phase her. She's intent on building a business for herself and leaving any negativity behind.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit thehotline.org.