You could easily call Isabel Adrian a model parent, literally, but there is much more to the Swedish superstar than meets the eye. Now Los Angeles-based, the gorgeous entrepreneur / author / music producer and co-star of Bravo TV’s Euro’s of Hollywood (among other reality shows) is also a doting wife to Steve Angello of powerhouse production and remix crew Swedish House Mafia.
Isabel released the book Sex Drugs & a DJ in 2014, and has had success as a photographer and blogger as well. But ask about all of her accomplishments, and this forward-thinking mom will tell you that her favorite role is raising her two daughters.
As Isabel prepares for more big projects this year, UrbLife.com caught up with the globetrotting beauty for a few moments in our Parent Trap to learn how she keeps everything afloat in a sea of professional chaos. Read on…
How do you balance a marriage and children with all the work you and your husband do?
Isabel Adrian: We see other people’s mistakes and try not to do them. I had a hard time in the beginning of our relationship. I was like the first generation of reality actresses I guess, to the world. I did it for 12 years. I started with the Survivor show so I was very famous in Europe when I met Steve. We had a hard time in the beginning because we came from such different worlds.
Like everybody else you have your ups and downs, but it we knew that we wanted to have a family. There were points where we just sat down and said, “If we’re going to do this, then we’re gonna need to make up our own rules”. We will have hard times, but if we can remember this moment, then we’re gonna make it. We live for our kids, but in the long perspective… we want them to learn that they live with us. We want them to be good people, to raise them, to leave a legacy after. So if we need to travel, we bring them, we don’t leave them.
The thing with parenting is everyone has an assumption. If you’re looking from the outside – with him traveling lot and us being never home – the matter of fact, it’s not really like that. Sometimes it takes a long time for people to understand. I love parenting. For me, I never held a baby before I held my own.
Have your kids expressed that they want to follow in your footsteps at all?
IA: Well they have been showing what they want to do in life, because they do know what we do exactly because we bring them, involve them, and we let them be a part of every single project and everything we do. I’m the talker, that’s my job and that’s how I am. My five-year-old daughter, as she grew up she knows exactly what I do. She knows that I’m on TV; she’s seen me on TV and has even been on TV. She knows red carpet and fashion and music.
The youngest wants to be a Hip Hop DJ. She’s actually expressed that very strongly. We posted on Instagram and she said “I want to be a DJ!” she knows how to DJ even, she loves being in the studio and she loves to make things. My [eldest]girl is almost a little obsessive about me, which was a hard thing for me, because I don’t have a lot of friends where she is and I don’t have my family, so I don’t really know what’s normal or not… and Hollywood is not normal.
We have a music studio in our house that Steve works out of, and they listen to his music and are allowed to be out there after they have been to kindergarten. They listen to his songs on the radio, and we even brought them up on stage once when he played in Vegas, because it was in the middle of the day and it wasn’t a lot of people. So they do know, and they’ve actually been on TV many times so they are very well-known. They’ve said that they don’t really know why people “know” them without really knowing them.
What is your philosophy about allowing your kids to be on social media?
IA: Because we have so many fans together and they do love our family, it would be impossible to keep them from all media, even how much we try to shield them from it. If you think about it, what is normal? Instead of just shielding them so hard in the beginning, and then suddenly there’s something so interesting that they don’t understand, “How could I not have known about this?”
When they were a couple of months old, I actually started Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts for them, but I posted one picture when they were born, who their parents are, and that’s it. They love taking pictures; they love photography, because I take a lot of pictures in my studio. They see pictures, and we go through pictures, but they don’t know what Instagram is yet. I say to them “You have an Instagram account. It’s gonna be fun when you can do it yourself.” Just because it’s nothing special, they haven’t even shown interest for it yet.
I make it part of a normal life, because that’s what it really is. If you make it forbidden, then you want to do it because you are young. If I was hiding them all the time, people would look for them and demand it and talk about it. It’s there now. Monday has maybe 20 thousand followers on Instagram but she doesn’t get it. She takes a picture and says “Oh that’s so pretty.” I ask if she wants to post it to her account and she says “yeah” and we’ll look at pictures of mom and dad and do a small video. For them, it’s just another day.
It’s a long way off, but have you thought about what it’s going to be like when they start dating?
IA: I have a lot of things on my mind, and it’s scary! I only have one demand from my daughters. I try to teach them about what true love is, and that you get what you want if you don’t give away everything. I don’t specify that to them, I just talk about love, boys, and true love. I go to vintage book store with my three-year-old and we buy old fairy tales, not Barbie, but Hamlet and Shakespeare. It’s about that true love.
I wish I had someone who told me the truth, just honest and true. I have the possibility to tell my daughters how harsh they may sound… It doesn’t really matter who they are, it’s about what you see on the inside. It’s when you feel something like how you see mom and dad, love, that’s what’s you should even consider talking to that person but until then, play cool. Play cool and you’ll get whatever you want. They’re like “yeah I’m cool, I’m cool. I don’t care.”
My biggest fear is that they watch this show called My Sweet 16 on MTV, that is my worst fear. That they don’t know the value of money and because we have money, that is my fear.
Your husband has worked with a lot of big artists on production and remixes. Do you ever worry about the kids latching on to more controversial lyrics or content he might be working with?
IA: We are a music family, however Steve is a producer and he’s composing and he’s more about the whole music side, and not so much vocals. We listen to jazz at home. They like what their parents like, and I like to listen to classical music, opera, theater, like Vivaldi and jazz like Frank Sinatra. Also Steve’s music. It’s very inspiring and it’s like floating on air. It’s not about what they say, it’s more about how you feel.
My daughter loves FKA Twigs. She’s very cute. They don’t have their own phones yet. We have radio on all the time, and we don’t look as much at TV. We have playlists, but there isn’t anything bad. It’s always classical, jazz or big band. We always have a lot of artist coming over and playing live music.
Since you travel so much, do you consider homeschooling?
IA: I was in Catholic or private school when I was a kid, so I’m putting them in public until the day comes that it actually matters if we travel. For now, I believe there are public schools equally as good as private schools because I’ve seen the outcomes of them.
We had a system in Sweden called Waldorf. It’s more about the ways that they teach the kids. Waldorf is more about the world, the earth itself and how to appreciate nature. It’s more about that philosophy of life. It sounds blurry and super trendy like in the ’70s. Of course I went through that in Catholic school. I think my best memories are from when I was in Waldorf School because I got to express art and science, but it was all based on earth in a way because that’s where it comes from.
I want them to experience the American way because they were born here. They are Swedish and American, and me and Steve are half Swedish and half Greek, so we have a lot of cultures in our family, and I want them to experience that all cultures are equally fascinating. We try to explore that when we travel.
What do you have coming up in your career in the next year?
IA: I was fortunate enough to have a career in reality TV, and I slowly transition to documentary, and on the side associate producing but right now I did the Euros of Hollywood. That’s been sold to 17 countries in the world including Africa, so I’m very proud of that. That’s why I went with that concept, because I was asked to be on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. That’s something that’s so domestic and I’d already done that, so I wanted to branch out and I knew that concept of Euro would be embraced by Europe so it’s been going very well.
Because of that, I have gotten a lot of new jobs in Europe and in the U.S. so I can today announce officially that my husband actually is appearing in a reality show with me for the first time that we did two months ago [Sweden’s The Angry Handyman]. It’s kind of like Extreme Home Make-over. The man came to our house in L.A. We have two wings in our home and he built a studio for me, where I do photography, film, producing, and all of that stuff that I’ve been doing all my life. That’s been going amazingly well, because I now do the creative work for the productions that come here from Europe, which is an amazing thing that I’m super proud of.
I’m also doing a comeback in a show that I’ve been doing many years and won awards for. That’s how I kinda became famous from where I come from in Scandinavia, so that’s gonna come in the Fall. But I also do all the creative stuff like all the billboards, intro, pictures and all of the creative work in the back end, and we’re actually showing it on TV. So that’s very exciting that I can showcase myself on a TV show.
We brought our work to our house, so in that sense we can also have time for our kids and they can see what we do on a daily basis and we can work from home. Sometimes reality TV is a very good thing because you can actually show and accomplish something really good in the back end.
I’m also going home to Europe for prep this Summer, and Steve is gonna go on tour in Europe for his new record. Then I’m actually associate producer of an American TV show called Con Man which is with Nathan Fillion from Castle and Alan Tudyk. They did they an old TV show called Firefly and they have a new show coming out. I’m moving towards being behind the camera but also in front.
Then I have a documentary coming out next year about the last two years [going from]European TV to American TV and back, and that’s gonna be very exciting. And of course my book is translating and becoming a movie about the electronic rights of House music. It’s called Sex, Drugs, and a DJ, but it’s not about sex and drugs, it’s just what’s outside, because the message is because you can’t judge a book by its cover.
What do you want people to know most about you at this stage of your life?
IA: What I feel right now is that I’m in a very good place, and I have accomplished a big and successful career becoming a big star in Europe. And then I left everything and we went to US and we did it again, but with more experience and more of a plan. You can actually become whoever you want if you just believe in yourself.
My goal right now is to inspire people, and show people that just because you are a reality star and married to a musician, it feels like the credibility of those people is not the same as real actors or [rock stars]. That has always been a little bit why I wrote the book. People say, “Ah you’re just a reality star” or whatever. You are what we see on TV. And then musicians with DJs say “Oh he’s just a DJ. What is that?”
I kind of want to prove with my production company that I work with actors, people; I mentor stylists, and young people that feel like they don’t really know what they can be in this time of social media. It’s not black and white anymore like, “I want to be a fireman” – it’s just “ I want to be famous.” So I’m trying to inspire people to realize that it’s hard work and if you just look inside that you have a great talent. Just because you’re ordinary doesn’t mean that you’re not unique and amazing at what you can do, you just have to find out what it is.
It can be hard because at this time it can be so many things. It’s like are you famous for being on YouTube… what is famous and why do you want to be famous? People forgot about the reality, the “real” of reality. Instead of reading about the people in gossip magazines, maybe you should do your own magazine. Write about it and talk to these people.
At the same time, I do reality and I work and it’s amazing, but I don’t like to just green screen when I act or when I do photos. I want to create worlds and awareness about charities. I want to help other people, because there are so many people who have helped me. I believe that I have a responsibility to tell the truth.