Elaine Lui shares her opinions on Hollywood celebs
Courtesy of eTalk
Celebrity gossip columnist Elaine Lui — known to her fans as Lainey — makes no apologies for speaking her mind.
In Monday's column posted on her websitewww.laineygossip.com, she writes: “Who can out-drama Lindsay Lohan these days? My girl is owning it and she is living it and like all spoiled celebrities, she has now taken to complaining about it. Praise Goddess — what would smut be like without Lilo?” This may be cheeky to some, but Lui’s site has continued to gain popularity since its launch early last year as her readers relish the banter.
“I think that people find the really snarky approach refreshing,” she says at the Masonic Temple — home to CTV’s eTalk, where she dishes the dirt every Monday. “I don’t think you can be effective as a celebrity blogger if you’re not objective.”
With 49 million hits from 500,000 unique visitors a month in 26 countries, Lui, 32, has bragging rights.
After all, she was the first to report on Katie Holmes’ pregnancy 12 hours before anyone else in the celebrity business and the Jolie-Pitt African birth three months before any of the tabloids picked it up.
But how did Lui come to be the person people turn to for juicy tidbits of celebrity mayhem?
“It started as a hobby … I’ve always been a pop culture junkie,” says Lui, who graduated from the University of Western Ontario in French and history.
After a stint at Rogers as a corporate trainer, Lui worked in fundraising at the University of British Columbia and would often relay the latest happenings in Hollywood to two of her co-workers.
When she had to leave her job in 2002 to take care of her sick mom in Toronto, her friends were in a rut.
“(They) were like, ‘How are we going to get our gossip fix? You have to send us an e-mail’…(so) I started an e-mail to these two people.”
By word of mouth, a distribution list of 4,000 blossomed, and soon a website was in sight.
At the time, Lui was working as a fundraiser for Covenant House in Vancouver, but still found the time to write her columns four times a week.
The executive producers at eTalk took notice of her online popularity and asked her to do a couple of spots, which soon turned into a weekly gig.
With so much on her plate, Lui scaled back her duties at Covenant House eight weeks ago to include only large projects. She has now devoted the majority of her time to her site and eTalk.
So how does she balance it? “To be honest, I don’t sleep very much,” she says.
What keeps Lui going is the work itself and her fans.
No doubt, she has a loyal following, but on occasion, her deprecating remarks on say, Jennifer Aniston, can rub someone the wrong way. “For every 500 e-mails I get, probably one will be really nasty,” she says.
But Lui is hardly catty in real life. “I think that the misconception is because I am so bitchy on my site that doesn’t mean I’m not professional. Anything that you apply to a regular job you need to apply as a celebrity gossip columnist as well.”