Media Darling: Elaine (Lainey) Lui

Lainey isn’t looking to impress anyone. Especially celebrities. The eTalk reporter and scribe of the immensely popular celebrity gossip blog,, does what she does for one reason – to provide a gossip education to the Canadian public.

The Toronto-born, self-proclaimed gossip maven got into the gossip game in a very roundabout way. What started as an email to two friends grew to a website with millions of readers from around the world, making it a leading international celebrity gossip source. As friends told friends about Lainey’s non-sycophantic email updates, she received so many requests to get on her mailing list that her server crashed.

Recognizing Lainey’s talent, eTalk made her part of their team of experts in 2006. Lainey also regularly shares her gossip updates with CTV News Vancouver and CTV News Channel, and is called upon as a celebrity expert by media outlets across North America, including and the Los Angeles Times.

A graduate of the University of Western Ontario majoring in French and History, Lainey lives in Vancouver with her husband and beagles. She is a consultant for Covenant House, which offers shelter and services for homeless youth.


Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
Never. I came into media by accident after starting my blog. When I was very young, I wanted to be a professional mah-jong player. Like my ma and all her friends. Before I started gossiping, I was a professional fundraiser – for higher education at The University Of British Columbia and in support of at-risk youth at Covenant House Vancouver. My goal was to eventually run a non-profit organization. Now I talk shit about celebrities for a living. I guess I got the job I deserve.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
In a home that I own. (I currently rent.)

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Be willing to do the shitty work. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”. Nobody likes an entry level know-it-all.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
Grantland, Dlisted, Oh No They Didn’tThe Daily ShowDeadline, Color Lines and Gawker.
Best interview you’ve ever had?

Dustin Hoffman – he risked missing his flight and went over 5 minutes just to make sure I called him my “best”. Also, he tried to set me up with his son.

Joaquin Phoenix – his nicotine craving kicked in after the third question. Was practically lighting the cigarette while pushing me out the door.

Best advice you’ve ever been given? 
From my mother – don’t let your hair cover your forehead.

What rule(s) do you live your life by? 
1. See above re: forehead and hair
2. Don’t cry at work
3. Avoid using the word “slut”
4. Never order seven dishes at a meal (very bad Chinese Feng shui)
5. Don’t live in a house where the staircase faces the front door
6. Don’t expect to be complimented on doing your job

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros? 
Give people second chances and proofread your emails.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins. 
It was one of my first red carpet assignments for eTalk. I was nervous about the interviews and totally overwhelmed. I fumbled through my chat with the first celebrity who stopped for me. I can’t remember the celebrity but I can remember the publicist coming back around, seeing me flustered and disappointed, asking me if I wanted another go, and bringing the celebrity over to me again. It was a kindness I’ll never forget.

I hate?
Chicken. Fan fiction.

I love?
My ma.

The Headmaster’s Wager by Vincent Lam.

Best place on earth?
 The casino.

Dinner guest?
J.K. Rowling.

My ma.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)? 
PGA Tour.

Pool or ocean? 
How close is the ocean to the washroom and shower? It has to be accessible within two minutes. I have a small bladder.

Voicemail or email? 
Email me and I’ll call you back.

23 thoughts on “Media Darling: Elaine (Lainey) Lui

  1. Lainey is my addiction! I have been in meetings all day, I just walked in the door, got a drink and am now 'rewarding' myself by reading her site (I know, I know, I should be working)!

  2. I am a lainey reader from the old email days but these days I am pretty tired of her. She seems to be a shill for certain types of shows/movies and isn't as outrageous/fresh as she used to be in her comments. She's also kind of sanctimonious about certain things, which I find irritating. Still read her, though.

  3. I agree. I'd be afraid to meet her, knowing I'd probably get the once-over and then once again. Am sure I wouldn't measure up to her fashion expectations…and then would get talked about behind my back. I don't think she used to be this way but she sure is now. Easy to say when you're making enough money to afford Brian Atwood shoes and other latest and greatest fashions.

  4. I love Lainey too, for all the above reasons. Let's put it this way, I even read about celebrities I don't care about just to see her take on them. So funny yet insightful.

  5. :(Can't imagine her doing that to you. Seems like everyone has a good time at her Smut Soirees, and seems very appreciative of her readers.Do you have a copy of an old email of hers? I just started reading lainey a year ago, am curious of what she was like 🙂

  6. I can only imagine that she's grown into a role where she has more access and more experience. And she's grown herself, so of course sanctimony comes with growth – I am also a reader from the old days – I love her growth, her constant self-awareness, her ability to separate the real world from the celebrity world. She is evolving her writing, her contributions, her "business". We need to evolve with her…or read someone else…

  7. I haven't been reading since the e-mail days, but I had been reading since 2004. And Lainey and I were actually pretty close–as close as you can be to someone whom you've never met, but have traded many, many e-mails with over the years (our conversations weren't always about gossip and my name has appeared on her site a number of times, whether in Smutty SOs, as a hat tip at the end of a post, or in a warm greeting during Live Chats).In any case, as her site has grown in popularity, she has become more distant, and rightly so, considering she is crazy busy and traveling so often in order to keep wearing all the hats she does. But with her success, which I do not begrudge her one bit, she has become snobbier, more judgmental and downright mean in some cases. She's no longer the person I used to e-mail.Granted, I'm no longer the same either: when I started reading I was an insouciant single woman living in the heart of where the gossip was manufactured–Los Angeles (West Hollywood to be exact…I used to be able to walk my dog to Urth Caffé every morning and celebrity sight until the Entourage kids ruined it–HA!); now I'm a mother living in one of the "flyover" states she relentlessly ridicules. I even told her as much in e-mail and she didn't care to answer. C'est la vie.Now, when/if I do check in, it's only as an afterthought; no longer the daily devoted devouring I enjoyed. And when I do read…it's the same borderline sycophantic tripe about the same certain few, the unforgiving browbeating of certain others, and the wannabe esoteric fashion posts.One thing that hasn't changed, however, is her great taste in books. And for some of those recommendations, I'll be forever grateful. Like "Your Voice in my Head", a book for which she actually sent me a Canadian copy when it wasn't published in the US yet.I miss you, Lainey. Wherever you went.

  8. I usually read Lainey over lunch, when I could be working! And she even inspired me to start my own blog! (About online dating, not about celebrities.) 🙂

  9. EXCELLENT comment, especially this: "Now, when/if I do check in, it's only as an afterthought; no longer the daily devoted devouring I enjoyed. And when I do read…it's the same borderline sycophantic tripe about the same certain few, the unforgiving browbeating of certain others, and the wannabe esoteric fashion posts."I'd read YOUR blog! And I would love you as a reader of mine…but I dare not delurk. I agree with every single thing you said and have even had a similar experience with her. For the record, she's not a reporter/journalist…and it shows on television. I find her painful and even embarrassing to watch. That's why it's kind of maddening to some of us actually in the business that she gets the opportunities she does.

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