Vanilla Ice, the rapper-turned-renovator, has a new show on DIY network. Titled “Vanilla Ice Goes Amish,” the series follows the 45-year-old rapper as he spends two months living with an Amish community in rural Ohio. The “Ice, Ice Baby” singer told FOX411 about living in the deeply religious sect and how he became a style maven.
FOX411: How did you get involved with the Amish community?
Vanilla Ice: They pride themselves on being craftsmen so I went out there to basically intern on their building ways. It was very hard to get out there. We had to get approval from the Bishop and the community.
FOX411: Did you wear their suits?
Vanilla Ice: Absolutely. It was fun. They're like minimalists. They have no electricity, no cell phones, no TV and no mirrors. I cut myself shaving quite a few times. It was an amazing adventure. To earn their respect I had to really get out there and help them with the chores.
The way they build things is it's going to be stronger, last longer. They use better materials, instead of using melamine wood which falls apart. They build things to last. That's their tradition. They really pride themselves on that. That's their main hobby, to build things for fun. We had a barn raising. We built a complete barn in two days.
I brought the design flair to them, the whole over the top gilded age of Palm Beach. They loved it. They had never seen anything like it. I told them about a zen wall and how it's tied into Feng Shui. They were like, “What's Feng Shui?”
FOX411: You've been at this a long time.
Vanilla Ice: I've been building homes a long time and nobody even knew it was Vanilla Ice. I found another passion, and I never planned it. I stumbled on it because I did “Ice, Ice, Baby” when I was 16 and sold 160 million records. I knew a lot of people were young and dumb so I went and bought a bunch of houses around the country that I never saw, in L.A., in N.Y., in Utah.
Three years later I said, “God that was the stupidest thing. I just wasted millions of dollars. Let's sell them all,” and it was the time of the housing market bubble and I literally made millions. I was like, “Oh my God let's buy some more!” and I did and I got into it that way. I hired professional decorators and looked at how they do things. I learned about earth tones and making a home cozy and warm, and I got the bug. That was about 16 years ago and I haven't stopped since.
FOX411: You used to date Madonna! Does that feel like a million years ago?
Vanilla Ice: Yeah of course. I'm married 16 years. I've got two teenage daughters now!