Vanilla Ice trades rapping at clubs for mansion renovations on new TV show


Famed rapper is saving a trashed Palm Beach mansion on the DIY network

The Vanilla Ice Project
Vanilla Ice (Robert Van Winkle) stars in The Vanilla Ice Project on the DIY Network.

By Madeleine Marr

What's Vanilla Ice been up to since his bad boy rapper days?

A lot, actually.

The '90s pop culture fixture born Robert Van Winkle has left his crazed single days behind (he used to have a 14-bedroom bachelor pad on Star Island) and has been married to wife Laura Giarritta since 1998; they have two kids.

For work, he's a general contractor, builder and house flipper and has been for about a decade around South Florida. Now, we get to see one of his babies up close.

The Ice Ice Baby singer's new reality show is nothing like The Surreal Life. In the DIY Network's Vanilla Ice Project, there are no train wrecks or crying, only renovations and sweating. The project of the title is a foreclosed-upon 7,000- square-foot, six-bedroom mansion in Palm Beach, which had been trashed by the previous owners.

The local entertainer - whose new album WTF is available on preorder - predicts the show will have mass appeal.

“You're gonna dig this s--t even if you don't like real estate,'' says Ice. “It's like Jackass meets home-building.”

Not exactly. Someone's going to have to live in this home, eventually.

“We do wild things and enjoy ourselves, but this is not like Pimp This House,” Ice promises. “We didn't do crazy purple and green rooms. It's classy earth tones. We had resale in mind.”

The house sure sounds cool - outfitted with high-tech-meets-green gadgetry.

“It's real energy efficient,” he says. “The whole place has LED lights – we got rid of the old gas guzzlers. We built an awesome movie theater in the attic with fiber-optic lights and shooting stars and remote control electric screens.”

Ice is well aware that a man's home is his castle.

“The most awesome thing is the garage - it's the ultimate man cave, with Ferrari-style plasma screens and diamond plate chrome walls. You'll just go, ‘Wow.’”

The Vanilla Ice Project premieres at 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14 on the DIY Network.

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