Growing up, Lindsay Lohan was thrilled when she saw herself in a trashy magazine.
“The first time I was in a tabloid,” she says, “I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I feel like Britney Spears!’ because she was in a tabloid and I felt cool. Little did I know what would happen from there.”
Lohan suffered one of the biggest crashes in Hollywood history. After starring in “The Parent Trap” at 12 and climbing onto the A-list because of “Mean Girls,” she was poised to become one of the stars of her generation. But she was held back by her own bad choices. After a stint in rehab, Lohan was arrested in 2007 for a DUI, possession of cocaine and a misdemeanor hit-and-run. Five more arrests followed, along with more visits to rehab, court hearings, jail time, house arrest and a necklace-stealing scandal. Her last theatrical movie, “The Canyons,” came out six years ago, and even independent directors stopped casting her because she wouldn’t show up to set.
Lohan, 32, has decamped the United States for Dubai, where she lives full-time. She’s entered the hospitality business, with three clubs in Greece and an island she’s designing called Lindsay Land. Now, she’s taking on another surprise job: MTV reality star. “Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club,” which premieres Jan. 8, chronicles her life in Mykonos. This latest reincarnation of Lindsay is more muted than what we’ve seen in the past (including a failed 2014 docuseries on OWN). In the pilot, Lohan seems to be channeling Bravo’s Lisa Vanderpump. She wants you to see her as a connected entrepreneur with her own staff and hospitality empire.
During a recent rainy Friday afternoon in downtown Manhattan, Lohan makes it clear she’s ready for a comeback and wants to star in movies again, including a sequel of “Mean Girls.” She’s nervous about talking to press, frequently taking cigarette breaks on the balcony of a swanky penthouse hotel room in Soho. On the day before our interview, she reached out to her old publicist, Leslie Sloane, because she didn’t want to face journalists on her own. Returning to Hollywood may not be easy. One sign of how many bridges she’s burned: Several of her former colleagues declined to be interviewed about what it was like to work with her.
Here’s what Lohan has to say about her new life and her future ambitions.
Why do you think people don’t want to hire you?
I think there’s a misconception that people still have about me, and I think it’s unfortunate. Hopefully, this will change people’s perception once and for all.
You’ve said that you wish your past would stay in the past.
And now we’re talking about it again.
But you’ve made many mistakes in the public eye.
Ten years ago. I just don’t want to seem like a martyr. But it’s in the past. I always say to people, “You do realize that was over 10 years ago?” But it was definitely unfair and unjust at certain times, especially as a girl. I worked at the morgue [as part of a judge’s ruling for violating probation after allegedly stealing a necklace]. I’ve been through the ringer. It was horrible. But from those things, I became a lot stronger.
Do you believe that there’s a Disney curse?
I don’t feel cursed.
A lot of child stars have struggled with substance abuse and other issues.
It was different then. There was less protection. So maybe that was the struggle. People know you so young and people are chasing you, and then instead of going to college, you have a month or two months off and you want to go to a club and that’s “bad.” I don’t think there’s any curse with Disney. That’s just a dark thing to say. If anything, it was a blessing, because we’re all still here.
Do you think there is a double standard with the way women are portrayed in the media?
No. If you think about it, back when I was being followed, there were more tabloids. We didn’t have Instagram. We couldn’t control social media on our own and have our own voice. So I think times have changed.
What work does Hollywood still need to do to really bring about equality for women?
Stop giving me s—! Stop rehashing my past for no reason, because everything is different now.
When you think back to being followed by the paparazzi 24/7, what do you remember?
I think I should have just smiled at them more. But it was always just so much.
Why would you want to have cameras following you for a reality show?
We were all very clear that it wasn’t going to be a Lindsay Lohan follow-her-every-second kind of show. It was going to be me running a business. It’s different because I’m writing the script, in a sense. I have nothing to hide. What’s left in saying that I’ve gone to a club? Now I own them.
The club you own in Mykonos is on the same beach where you were physically assaulted by your ex-fiancé, Egor Tarabasov, in 2016.
I was hit and abused physically on a beach in front of people, twice. And then at my house, and thank God a kid saw me and called the police. It’s a shame that people had to see that, but it’s not something that I feel is necessary to talk about. It’s something that happened to me, and I had to figure out how to handle it on my own. My eff-you was buying the beach.
Do you miss living in America?
Yeah, of course. I miss seeing my family. But my brother comes out every other month, and my sister is coming back with me. My mom came to Mykonos, but she didn’t want to be there when I was filming. We make time to see each other, and I talk to them every day when I’m in Dubai at odd hours whenever they call.
Do you still want to be an actress?
Yeah, of course. I love acting. It’s my passion. But I like being behind the scenes. If I’m not filming at the moment, I need to be creative somehow. I can’t just sit and do nothing. If I’m not on a set, then I’d rather do something, so I started my own company — Seven Wonders Prods. — and I like that it’s just mine and that I don’t have to answer to people anymore. I can just do it myself. It’s nice to have that power back. I want to keep acting and maybe directing.
You have a supporting role in the second season of the British comedy “Sick Note.” What other projects do you have in the works?
I’m attached to a movie that I’m producing called “Frame” that will shoot in Saudi Arabia, which is a really interesting story about an American girl photographer who moves to teach a class in Saudi Arabia. We’re raising the financing for that. I bought a book called “The Honeymoon.” We’ll turn that into either a series or film. I don’t know yet.
Do you still audition for things?
I only auditioned for “The Parent Trap.” I would be terrified to audition. I don’t even know what it would be like. I think I would freeze. My agent asked me to read for something, and I was like, “I can’t.” I would panic. It’s such a different experience. I don’t think I could do it. Someone asked me to audition once — it was Oliver Stone for “Savages,” and I met with him and they wanted me to read, and I said, “I’m really, really bad at this, and I’m going to forget everything the second I start, so I might just ad-lib it.” And he was like, “You were great.” And I was like, “OK.” It was such a weird experience.
What are your career goals?
To work with Martin Scorsese. Work with Spielberg. I don’t know. I think goals are limitless, and there’s always going to be something new that I want to do. I just want to make people happy, and I want to stay happy.
You said on your social media that you want to play Ariel in a live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.”
“The Little Mermaid” is my favorite movie since I was a kid. Whenever I put that movie on, it makes me happy. I’m like, “Everybody, stop. Watch this movie.”
Has Disney reached out to you?
No, but I’m going to harass my agent about it after this.
You also said that your dream cast would be Meryl Streep as Ursula. Have you talked about this with Meryl, your co-star from “A Prairie Home Companion”?
No, I’m not in America. I haven’t been in L.A. in a long time. But I would go for that.
Would you want to do a “Mean Girls” sequel?
If anyone has asked for this more than I have, please tell me. I’ve said it so many times, and so many people have asked me, and I think we’d have so much fun doing it. Tina [Fey] and Lorne [Michaels] are so amazing, and to bring everyone back together would be great. Last time I was in New York, I went up to Lorne, and I was like, “Please!” It’s in their hands.
Would everyone have to come back for a sequel?
Yes. I don’t know what else you could do, unless someone is killed off, but that would not be “Mean Girls.” It has to be everyone.
Do you consider yourself a feminist?
I’m just Lindsay Lohan. Whatever that is.