Gossip queen Lainey Lui channels bitchiness into blogs
Which Vancouver-based blogger and self-proclaimed “opinionated bitch” has become a big-name in the world of celebrity gossip? To smuthounds around the city, the answer should be obvious.
Elaine “Lainey” Lui, is the writer and creator of LaineyGossip, a site that bills itself as the source for “advanced celebrity gossip."
"Lovers, Cheaters, Homewreckers, Superstars, Famewhores, Hot Homos [and] Closet Homos" are spliced apart on her her candy-coloured blog.
"This is a Friday night conversation with your girlfriends [so] you talk about sex, tampons, parents, relationships, all that kind of stuff. Deeply gossipy," Lui told me.
Like other sites devoted to all things Hollywood, Lainey serves up the standard juicy tidbits and endless photo galleries of celebrities at premieres. But she is also part of a breed of writers, who offer their own spin on the escapades of the rich and famous. LaineyGossip is no People magazine; into each post Lui injects her distinctive brand of snark.
When we met for coffee at a Starbucks in Kitsilano, she had no qualms about telling me how she developed her unique voice.
“When I was ten I wanted to be Miss Hong Kong, which lasted for about 10 minutes, until my mother told me I was too fat, squat and not attractive enough,” Lui said.
Her mother's harsh realism helped her develop an inner source of strength.
“I love her for that because I think that too many parents say to their kids that they can do anything. No. There are other ways to empower your kids, not by telling them they’re pretty.”
Despite dreaming of being crowned a beauty queen at age 10, Lui claimed she never wanted to be famous. "There’s something about the pursuit of fame. More people want to be famous these days than they want to be intelligent," she said.
There's an obvious irony in her chosen calling documenting the misadventures of celebrities. But this Toronto native's ambitions started off ordinarily enough. After pursuing a degree at the University of Western Ontario, she moved out West and worked as a fundraising officer at UBC. It was here that she began to realize that she could channel her bitchiness into something creative.
As is often the case these days, it began with an e-mail that she sent to co-workers of her musings on pop culture. That e-mail was forwarded to other friends, until she had unwittingly developed a small following.
She moved back Toronto to care for her mother during a kidney transplant but she later returned to Vancouver where she found a job at Covenant House, a nonprofit for street youth. It was here that her blogging career took off. A friend built her a blog back in "2004 or 2005 when blogging was the new thing."
In the beginning this meant that she was working at Covenant House by day and blogging up to five hours at night. But her blog became popular enough that she left her day job to begin a career as a full time blogger and in 2006, she became a reporter for CTV's etalk.
"If there were forty hours in a day, I’d still be able to do Covenant House and etalk and this," she laughed.
As a TV personality and celebrity correspondent, her career has done a 180 from the days of administrative work at a nonprofit. She arrives at Starbucks wearing a floaty white dress and turquoise Ray-Bans.