Lindsay Lohan on domestic violence, life in Dubai and her Mykonos beach club

Lindsay Lohan said she first discovered Dubai in 2008, when she hosted the opening of an Atlantis resort.
Lindsay Lohan said she first discovered Dubai in 2008, when she hosted the opening of an Atlantis resort. PHOTO: REUTERS

MYKONOS, GREECE (NYTIMES) - The other day at the newly opened Lohan Beach House, families played on the beach alongside topless women alongside the religiously covered up, while a shirtless and ripped Romanian man with several teardrops tattooed on his face and the image of a person doing cocaine inked on his abs danced near the bar.

None of these people who had paid dozens of Euros to recline on a thick Lohan-branded towel harassed, or even seemed to notice, Lindsay Lohan herself, in a red swimsuit and her trusty red baseball hat with the word "RUSSIA," who had just taken a seat directly oceanside.

Parked along a healthy stretch of the Kalo Livadi beach, the beach club, which includes a restaurant, a bar and a football field's worth of sand, is a serene sprawl of wood decks, lush canopies and overstuffed chaise lounges.

On the lazy, winding ride there - all of the cabs in Mykonos seem to cost 35 euros (S$55) and arrive no sooner than 30 minutes after they are called - the driver described the club as a genuine island success. Among his passengers, he said, the destination is approaching the popularity of even the vaunted Nammos beach club, despite having opened only a few weeks ago, with a marketing campaign apparently limited to a recycled clip from a 2011 film the artist Richard Phillips made of Lohan swimming in a pool.

Lohan's assistant Nichola is a tall blond woman who would not be out of place on the set of Westworld. She had confused Lohan's 6 pm interview with The New York Times with another interview, scheduled for the same day, with The Sunday Times, a British newspaper. And that appointment had already been postponed, Nichola said, because Lohan had a cold. Still, Lohan eventually agreed to speak.

Lohan said this mix of a clientele is by design, in part because most of the island hot spots cater to the sunset crowd. That leaves her beachside club almost the entire day to entertain the diurnal, even if that is the only trait some of her patrons have in common.

"There's a business side to my life now, but I'm not in America, so no one knows about it, which is nice for me," Lohan said. "Because I get to actually focus on the result of things."


A server carries food at the Lohan Beach House in Mykonos, Greece, on June 18, 2018. PHOTO: NYTIMES

If there is one thing Lohan wants the public to know about her personal life, it is that there is almost nothing that she wants them to know. She hoped, she said, that people realise "I'm a normal, nice person. A good person. I don't have any bad intentions. And my past has to stay in the past."

"Like, people have to just let go of it and stop bringing it up because it's not - it's gone," she said. "It's dead. And that's the most important thing to me."

Despite decades of breathless tabloid coverage of her life, she said the public has never known the real her at all. Recently, that has been by design. "I think success is the best revenge - and silence, as a presence," she said. "When I chose to change my future, my life, I was like, 'Where's the one place I can find silence?'"

That place turned out to be Dubai, where unmarried women can still be arrested or deported for the crime of becoming pregnant. It is also a place where intruding on privacy via photography can often be illegal, and Lohan feels protected enough there to leave the doors of her penthouse apartment unlocked.

She said she first discovered Dubai in 2008, when she hosted the opening of an Atlantis resort. On her second visit, she realised there were no cameras tracking her. "That click - Karl Lagerfeld said, 'It's like they're shooting guns at me,' when I first met him at Fendi," Lohan said. "And I felt it. You feel like you're always watching out, you're paranoid. It creates this paranoia in your head that's not necessary."

That is part of the reason she does not see herself moving from Dubai anytime soon. "It's the safest place. It's less demanding. America is always like, 'Go go go go go!'" Lohan said. "I don't have to turn on the news and see about the Kardashians. I don't have to see anything anymore. I choose what I want to see and how I want to live."

Lohan's own safety and well-being are her chief concerns. Though she is still close with her family, she has been keeping in touch mostly at an arm's length, primarily through FaceTime. Just now, turning 32 at the beginning of July, and for the first time in her life, she says she feels safe.


The main bar and beach front at the Lohan Beach House in Mykonos, Greece, on June 18, 2018. PHOTO: NYTIMES

"I know who I am as a person," Lohan said. And that still includes being an actress, even if she has grown uncomfortable with the publicity side of it. "I don't want any judgement on me. You know? My acting is good, my work is good, and I love work," Lohan said.

To that end, she has been quietly picking up projects; she recently filmed the British series Sick Note, and says she has several more roles planned, scattered around the world. She says she craves the structure of performing and points to the 2014 London production of Speed-the-Plow as a turning point in her life, where she says she found comfort in just doing the thing night after night.

"Just the diligence of being on a stage. It's not like a movie where you can miss a line. You're live, there, in front of everyone," Lohan said. "Very structured. And I love that. And that gave me, like, a calmness. And that kind of changed a lot of things for me."

She also agrees with the numerology proposition that life can be divided into approximately 30-year cycles, a theory that dovetails with a chain of events she said was set into motion in the summer of her 30th birthday, which she celebrated on a nearby beach.

It is the same place where her former fiancé, the Russian socialite Egor Tarabasov, was filmed assaulting her a few months later. "It happened, here in Mykonos, on the beach. And that was the moment where I switched and I was like, 'I'm going to take control of my life completely, and fire everyone and just rehire them when I'm ready,'" Lohan said.

"And that's why I'm here today, because it was on that beach where I got hit. I said, 'You know what? If there's anything I can do, I'm going to get that beach. It's going to be my beach.'"

Her 30th birthday was also the day she defied fate to option Tina Seskis' The Honeymoon, a psychological thriller that Lohan declined to spoil for me, saying only that she saw herself in one of the characters.

"I was at Nammos and I was reading it," she said. "I'm reading this book and taking notes on it, like, 'This is like my life, something that happened to me in my life, oh my God! I need to buy this book! I need to meet this woman!' She's incredible."

At the time, Lohan was staying with a host family in a small church in Greece, "because I wanted to be, like, with a family, alone." She got a call from Seskis, who had seen a paparazzi picture of the actress reading her book. Seskis was phoning to apologise because she had already sold the rights.

"I said, 'No no no! Let me buy it! Please, let me buy it! Let's write it together,' Lohan said. "She goes, 'No, they want somebody else to write it.' I said, 'No, we're going to write it.'" A year and a half later, they are writing the script together, and when Seskis visits Greece this summer, Lohan wants to work with her on the same beach where it all began.