He was once one of the most famous individuals in the country, with the highest-selling rap album of all time. People know the hair, the old outfits, the regrettable comments, the dramatic fall from grace. But most people don't know that Vanilla Ice is also in the real estate business. More specifically, he's one of many Americans into "flipping" houses. In the past ten years, he's done more than a dozen.
Tonight, his new reality show, "The Vanilla Ice Project," will make its debut, on the DIY Network. Of course, we profiled Rob Van Winkle in this cover story a year ago, when the show was just taking shape. A few weeks ago, Rob invited me up to the set in Wellington to check out what he's doing.
The basic premise is this: Rob bought a mansion in Wellington in foreclosure that had been stripped from top to bottom. With his buddies and some well-placed contributions from local and national home design companies (all more than happy to have their products in front of a national audience), he completely renovated the house -- "completely pimped it out ninja style," Rob explained enthusiastically.
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In what will ultimately be broken up into 12 episodes, one per month, the crew turns the attic into a media room, the master bedroom into a luxurious king-worthy chamber, and the pool out back into a seriously swanky private pond overlooking another, larger private pond.
As he showed me the pool, he flipped a switch and turned on the disco-style LED lights and concert-quality sound system. "How badass is that?" he said. "We turned every corner of this place into the top-of-the-line killer pad."
About 70 percent of every episode will focus on the construction, he says, with a new project each month. The 30 percent will be footage from Rob touring with his band and performing stunts -- like jumping a car through a fireball and into a lake -- with his buddies.
If the neighbors are displeased with the way Wellington is depicted in tonight's series debut, they won't be able to go knocking on his door with complaints. Rob is with his family at the premiere in New York.