Whether showing off one of the houses he's renovated on his DIY Network show "The Vanilla Ice Project" or rapping onstage to his mega-hit "Ice Ice Baby," Rob Van Winkle is always known as Vanilla Ice.
The 45-year-old explains to omg! that the moniker was not chosen, but given to him by friends. In fact, he didn't want it to stick!
"I used to break dance at 14 years old and at first I was just called Vanilla, because of my complexion. I was the only white kid in my neighborhood that was doing it," he says. "The ice came from a dance move I had that looked like I was sliding on ice. It was a very painful move, because I would have to be on kind of my head, the side of my ear, and shoulder, but if I had a beanie hat on it would work, but without it, you'd scrape the side of your ear and the side of your face."
"Everybody loved this move that I invented in front of a mirror at my house," Ice says with a laugh. "And everybody kept saying 'Yo Vanilla, do the Ice!' And I hated it. I hated the name at first, and now I love it."
The musician has come to embrace his name, just like he has his totally awesome '90s past. At concerts, where he continues to bill himself as Vanilla Ice, he regularly performs his monster hit, even though he's released half a dozen hip-hop albums since the decade he's most known for ended.
Surprisingly, though, the tune isn't the biggest crowd pleaser!
"Of course, we take them back to the old school with 'Ice Ice Baby,' but I'm telling ya, these people, most of them grew up with the 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,' so they love the 'Ninja Rap!" Ice says, referring to his song from the 1991 movie "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze." "They come to the concerts dressed up like Ninja Turtles all the time."
Two of Ice's young fans are his teen daughters, Dusti Rain and KeeLee Breeze.
"They love it. They come on stage with me. They know every word," says Ice, who's been married to wife Laura for 15 years. "They sing with me."
When he isn't hitting the stage, the reality star is working on the show that grew out of his longtime hobby of turning lackluster houses into luxe pads. He and his team just completed work on the Palm Beach, Florida, house that will serve as the focus of the show's new season, which premieres Sunday, January 27.
"For Season 3, I've got a Tahitian theme in this mansion that's been sitting for seven years, rotting, and we went from zero to hero at this house," he gushes. "It's like the most romantic house I've ever made — it's unbelievable."
The house features a sunset view, a master bathroom with all the luxuries of a spa, and — for that one extreme element — a "human slingshot" that propels the rider into a lake.
Ice is so passionate about his work that he's even launched his own Vanilla Ice lighting line of chandeliers and sconces. One piece is already available exclusively through Capitol Lighting, and he's working on a second design now, he notes.
"It's one of the greatest upgrades in a house that you can do … the lighting," he says.
Catch more of Vanilla Ice’s home design tips on his show “The Vanilla Ice Project” on Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the DIY Network and on his new special “Ice My House.” Check local listings for times.
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