For Lindsay Lohan, adopting new roles and changing her image seems to have become as much a part of her personal life as it was in her acting career.
Following well-documented struggles with addiction, turbulent relationships and a somewhat chequered history as an actress, the 30-year-old is embracing her latest real-life role.
She has become a self-proclaimed humanitarian campaigner for Syria and Turkey, in addition to reportedly studying the Quran and learning Arabic.
She is also believed to have moved from her residence in London, and permanent base in Los Angeles, to make Dubai her new home.
Following recent public appearances in Greece, meetings with the press in China and Kuwait and a holiday in Bali, Lohan mingled with guests this week at a seasonal celebration in La Cantine du Faubourg, in Dubai’s Emirates Towers.
The star posted a photograph of herself at the event on her Instagram account which received almost 50,000 likes from some of her 5.2 million followers.
“What a wonderful night with lovely people in one of my favourite dresses by @melindalooi,” wrote the actress, who wore a gown by Malaysian designer Melinda Looi.
Dubai One TV presenter Dina Butti followed this up with a photo of her own on the social media site, and the comment: “Amazing to get to actually sit and talk to the beautiful @lindsaylohan who’s currently based IN DUBAI!!! She’s got a number of projects lined up, including some pretty awesome charitable initiatives. Welcome to Dubai Lindsay.”
After appearing in TV adverts as a child, Lohan began her acting career at the age of 10 with a role in the American soap opera Another World.
Her big break came in when she starred in the critically acclaimed Disney movie remakes of The Parent Trap (1998), followed by Freaky Friday (2003). Other big-screen credits include Mean Girls (2004) and Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005), as well as the 2012 television biopic about the life and loves of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Liz and Dick.
However, Lohan is better known these days for her off-screen activities, which have been splashed across tabloids since she was arrested for driving under the influence in 2007.
Stints in rehab, probation violations and unreliability on-set over the past decade have reportedly resulted in the scrapping of movie deals for the actress.
Following a career lull, however, she will make her movie comeback in the crime thriller The Shadow Within, which is due for release next year.
“I think everyone can make a mistake,” says Dubai designer Katya Kovtunovich, whose pieces were worn by Lohan during her summer holiday in the South of France. “With public figures, every mistake comes at a very heavy price and is made known to the whole world. Everyone judges without knowing your reasons or situation.
“Lohan wearing our pieces has been a very gratifying experience. And by choosing to wear a dress trimmed in the traditional, heritage fabric sadou – which is our trademark – that means we are indeed taking sadou global.”
Trailed by paparazzi wherever she goes, and with her triumphs and tragedies constantly reported, Lohan would appear to be seeking refuge in the UAE.
“I heard it’s not legal to take photos in Dubai without consent, privacy like #Monaco …” she wrote on her Twitter page on December 15.
The former child star is no stranger to the UAE, having visited on numerous occasions, including three weeks ago when she spent time with her “second sister”, Dubai blogger Karen Wazen Bakhazi.
“Re #united with my #godson today with my best friend who is the most beautiful mother!!! @karenwazenb” Lohan posted on Instagram, along with a photograph of two-year-old George, the eldest of Bakhazi’s three children.
Another well-known UAE resident Lohan has befriended is MBC TV presenter and beauty entrepreneur Joelle Mardinian. The pair posed for a snapchat photo wearing digitally added floral wreaths earlier this month.
Lohan captioned the snap on Instagram with “#GirlTime with my friend @joellembc1 … beauty product and family talk … good vibes with good people.”
Surrounding herself with Arab friends might be part of Lohan’s plan to improve her Arabic, which she says has inadvertently resulted in a new accent. She debuted her Transatlantic-Arabic twang during a television interview at the opening of a new nightclub in Athens in October.
“It’s a mixture of most of the languages I can understand or am trying to learn,” Lohan told British newspaper the Daily Mail last month. “I’ve been learning different languages since I was a child. I’m fluent in English and French, can understand Russian, and am learning Turkish, Italian and Arabic.”
She made light – and a humanitarian opportunity – of the situation, tweeting that perhaps she should call her new accent “#LILOHAN” and then launched a range of sweatshirts with the slogan to raise money for charity.
Nightclubs have played a prominent role in Lohan’s past life and they seem destined to be part of her future. In an interview with the New York Post’s gossip section Page Six, Lohan revealed that she’ll be hosting a party in the UAE on December 31.
“It will be announced soon but I will be hosting New Year’s Eve at Zero Gravity in Dubai which I am very excited about.” she said, “I am deciding now if I will head back to do more work in refugee camps in Turkey and Antep during or after the New Year…The dates are not set yet.”
The club, however, has yet to make an official announcement of this as part of their New Year’s Eve parties.
• Have you spotted Lindsay Lohan in the UAE? If so email us on [email protected]