Her sharp wit, snarkiness—bordering on bitchiness—and reports from the red carpet have garnered Elaine Lui a worldwide following. Exposing Hollywood A-Listers’ deepest secrets, the Vancouver-based blogger has become a celebrity in her own right thanks to her tabloid tales of the rich and famous.
The self-proclaimed gossip maven got into the gossip game in a circuitous way. The Toronto native was living in Vancouver and working for Covenant House, a crisis shelter for youth, when she returned to Hogtown to be with her mother, who was sick at the time.
Between jobs, Lui started sending emails of her musings on pop culture to friends. They then forwarded her fresh sheet of Hollywood headlines to other friends and unwittingly the University of Western Ontario grad developed a small following. Soon there were thousands on her distribution list.
In 2005, a friend offered to build a blog for her, LaineyGossip.com. Devoted to all things Hollywood, it won fans over immediately. Six months later, her irreverent blog and gift of gab landed her a regular TV spot on CTV’s entertainment news show eTalk. Today, millions of readers visit her popular site every month.
“Celebrity gossip has been around for ages—it’s only the status of the subjects that change,” says the gossip queen who lives in Vancouver with her husband Jacek and beagle Marcus. “Hundreds of years ago, we gossiped about royalty. Then we gossiped about politicians. And now we gossip about celebrities. Gossip is immortal”
Your big break?
The story that really launched my career was my exclusive story on Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. She was pregnant with her daughter Shiloh and I was the first to report that they would be having their baby in Africa.
Biggest red carpet moment?
Depends on your definition of “biggest.” A few weeks ago Richard Branson tossed me over his shoulder and almost dropped me on my head. Does that count?
Worst red carpet moment?
I was so nervous on my first red carpet I totally blanked on the celebrity’s name. And he knew it too. He took it very personally. I don’t actually remember who he is anymore. There’s a block on my recall about that night because I was so embarrassed. All I know is that my producer at the time thought I sucked.
Celebrity that had you most star-struck?
Angelina Jolie. She is so beautiful you can’t speak or think or do anything but stare.
Which celebrity surprised you the most?
Ron Perlman. We giggled together.
Celebrity you most like to interview?
Dustin Hoffman. He is so nice. Every time I interview him he treats me like I’m his houseguest. Once he tried to set me up with his son who, um, is significantly younger than I am.
Running the Olympic torch with my family by my side.
I couldn’t find work for six months after I quit my job where the workplace was toxic. I lost confidence, and I was so afraid I made a mistake. But that led me to Covenant House, the most nurturing, rewarding professional environment I’ve had the honour to be a part of.
Your darkest hour?
My mother was hospitalized for nine months last year. Confronting the reality of her disease was the worst time of my life.
What does success look like?
When my mother is proud of me.
Best life lesson you’ve learned?
Don’t expect to be complimented for doing your job.
One lesson you’d love to give others?
Be OK with saying, “I don’t know.”
One thing you could change about the world?
People don’t read enough.
If you could be any celebrity?
I wouldn’t. Celebrities are crazy.
CBC’s Gloria Macarenko. I am obsessed with her.