In what has become somewhat of a time-honored tradition for Americans on their way back up or back down the ladder of fame, Lindsay Lohan debuted her first reality TV series, Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club, earlier this year. Less than an hour and a half away from the birthplace of Apollo, the former parent trapper turned club owner and her no-nonsense Greek business partner, Panos Spentzos, are charged with wrangling an unruly band of VIP brand ambassadors, all imported from America to service VIP guests like royalty. And oddly enough a woman who grew up in Southlake has so far gotten more screen time than Lohan herself.
Or at least that’s what it feels like.
“I’ve been writing recaps for Us Weekly lately, which is super exciting because I haven’t written anything in a long time and it’s fun to get back into it,” says Sara Tariq, one of Lohan's 12 hired hosts with the most. She, like the rest of her cast mates, have been leveraging their newfound fame for better opportunities beyond the club-life career.
Born in Pakistan, Tariq’s strict family kept her close to home throughout high school at Southlake Carroll and later at the University of Texas at Arlington. She studied public relations and even landed a short-lived internship at D Magazine before becoming a contributing writer for both Vibe and Complex. But Tariq says she just wanted to do more.
“I had this editor that, like, really loved me and then he left and went on to work with a different publication and I had a new guy I was working under,” Tariq says. “He was super discouraging and basically he was like, ‘I don’t like her writing style, find another job.’”
Find another job she did — several in fact. Tariq says she moved to Los Angeles and started working in nightlife. Bringing bottles and breaking hearts, all in the name of accentuating the allure of A-list nightlife and adding charges to the credit cards of athletes, celebrities and swag beasts alike. Proving her worth quickly in LA’s club scene, she soon settled into a Wednesday-Thursday schedule working nights in places where weekends seem the longest.
“It’s actually crazy how this opportunity fell in my lap,” she says. “I’ve been working in nightlife for like the past four years. I worked at this club at LA and my boss — he’s actually on The Hills.”
That boss happens to have been Frankie Delgado, Spencer Pratt’s former pal.
“He hit me up like, ‘Hey, Sara, I have this opportunity,’” Tariq says. “The turnaround time was like four days and I found out I was going to Greece. It was insane.”
Because if the “reality” of the events depicted at 10 p.m. every Monday on MTV is as cringe-y as it seems, then actually living through it must’ve been rough. Though all things considered, the show has opened new doors for Tariq, and in all fairness to Lohan, it shows that her new career as a club owner has been unquestionably positive as well.
Her first club, Lohan Nightclub, is still widely considered to be one of the best in Athens, and Lohan Beach House Rhodes also comes highly rated according to online reviews. So really the headline here should be “Lindsay Lohan’s Finally Doing All Right.” Her ultimate goal of fully owning the club brat persona that caused so much controversy in her late teens and early 20s has been achieved, empowering her for the better. But when it comes to reality television, she might be better off asking Miley Cyrus for Bret Michaels’ phone number.
“You see stuff on TV and you’re like, ‘Oh, this is staged’ or like, ‘Oh, this is probably, like, manipulated in a way by the producers,’ and when we were out there it was a free-for-all,” Tariq says. “I was just like, What am I doing? Am I doing this right? I have no idea.”
That feeling is omnipresent throughout the show. For as fabulous as Spentzos’ outfits are, when your VIP guests include the likes of living meme Big Shaq, Greek fashion guru/tax evader Lakis Gavalas and Swedish DJ Alesso, it’s hard to care whether or not the lobster tails arrive at cabana 3 on time. Especially considering the entire cast has likely partied with far more famous people at their bartending and hosting gigs back home.
At the end of the day, it’s a show about people doing their regular everyday jobs and for the most part, they all do those jobs pretty well, despite vague instructions and ambiguous requests. But the majority of the conflict ultimately devolves into every story a significant other has told about “that douche from work” or a slutty/disorganized former roommate. It’s a more superficial The Real World with millennials and every once in a while Lohan shows up to throw a dead lobster back into the ocean.
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At the very least The Real Housewives of Wherever are usually rich enough to actually afford outlandish beach clubs. The Kardashians are arguably all marketing geniuses, and you can add all the Jenners to that list as well. No one partied harder than the cast of Jersey Shore, but every time a cast member gets drunk on Lohan Beach Club, Lohan finally shows up with a wagging finger. These people have a club to promote, after all.
“We were actually working for the beach club every single day, so we were like, ‘Hey like, we need to keep our jobs here,'” Tariq says. “Like we don’t want to get fired, we don’t want to ruin her brand, make her look bad, etc. So we’re representing her there, but we’re also filming a show, so it was just like, ‘Wait, we need to be entertaining at the same time and do all that stuff.’”
It’s no wonder entertainment value was an afterthought; these people have jobs to keep and reputations to uphold. All in all the most this “show” shows is likely well-known by most: Out of a group 12 attractive American waiters and bartenders, at least one will be a sexist prick. Lohan is often too far out of frame for us to fully see her transformation, showing up just enough to become a feel-good meme.
But if you really want to watch confused members of the service industry have drunk misunderstandings, you’d be better off just going out tonight.