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, LaineyGossip.com, 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 CNN.com 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.


@LaineyGossip
www.laineygossip.com 

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.

Worst?
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.

Reading?
The Headmaster’s Wager by Vincent Lam.

Best place on earth?
 The casino.

Dinner guest?
J.K. Rowling.

Hero? 
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.

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Rave: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

For some, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is considered “The Most Magical Place on Earth” but we’ve got news for those Muggles – they’re dead wrong. Universal Studios snagged the title when they opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (WWHP) in June 2010.

Where to go first?

Housed within Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventure theme park, WWHP is a Rowling-fan’s dream come true. As with the books and films, the park’s attention to detail is impeccable. That noise you’re hearing in the girl’s loo? Oh, that’s just Moaning Myrtle having a wee cry. Looking for the ATM? It’s under the archway labelled “Gringotts.” So cool, right? 

For all your cauldron needs.

From touring inside Hogwarts to indulging your sweet tooth at Honeydukes, there’s a lot to see and do in the park, which also means a lot of time for lollygagging. Our suggestion: get to the park early (we arrived 30 minutes before it was supposed to open and they let us in!) and beeline to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, located inside Hogwarts (!!!). This dark ride takes you through the castle, where you’ll follow Harry (on his broom, natch) and encounter a lot of familiar sights: the Whomping Willow, Dementors and the Quidditch pitch. Surpringingly, one of our favourite parts of the ride was the queue, as it took you through Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor Common Room, Professor Sprout’s greenhouse and the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom.

The magical, magical Hogwarts.

The two other rides are Dragon’s Challenge, a pair of completely different roller coasters and the Flight of the Hippogriff, a kid-friendly ride by Hagrid’s cottage. If you’re a fan of rides, we highly suggest waiting in line for both the Red and Blue dragon coaster. Another tip: eat lunch after the rides. 

Butterbeer!

Finally, the shopping. Hogsmeade has it all: Ollivander’s Wand Shop, Honeydukes, Zonko’s and the Three Broomsticks. But save up your Galleons because Hogsmeade ain’t cheap. A character’s wand will run you $30, the Marauder’s Map (unframed) is $50 and a Chocolate Frog is about $10. There’s one thing that’s totally worth the pricetag though, and that’s Butterbeer. Make sure you get it frozen and in the commerative cup. You can thank us later.

Rave: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

“It all ends.” As if we needed reminding, the posters have been inescapable. Today, the final film installment of the Harry Potter series comes to theatres.

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The fourth floor was invited by Warner Brothers Canada to attend the Toronto premiere earlier this week at the Scotiabank Theatre, as well as the after-party at Casa Loma. Not a bad job perk! We’ll try to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible, but if you haven’t read the books and want to be totally surprised then we suggest you stop reading – now (also: avoid Twitter, blogs and anyone dressed in a cape you run into on the street).

The last chapter of the Harry Potter film franchise does not disappoint. The Deathly Hallows, Part 1 was slow-paced, conveying the sense of hopelessness that our heroes – Harry, Ron and Hermione – felt. The second film starts off right where the first ended: Voldemort stealing the Elder Wand from Dumbledore’s grave and Harry burying Dobby (Ack! This part destroyed us in Part 1). From this point on, the action does not stop for two hours.

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While Harry is undoubtedly the hero of the film, both Neville Longbottom and Severus Snape reveal aspects of their characters the audience may not see coming. Snape’s story, especially, is handled with such respect and is so touching that if you aren’t crying, well, your soul may be as empty as You-Know-Who’s.

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One of the things we love best about the Harry Potter series is the importance that J.K. Rowling gives the tertiary characters. She realizes that all the students at Hogwarts have impacted Harry’s life in some way, and that the stories are richer because of it. You’ll smile when Seamus Finnigan has to blow something up, because you know he’s a bit of a firebug. Your blood will boil when Pansy Parkinson tries to turn people against Harry, but you know she’s a Slytherin and that’s what they do. 

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If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, you will not be disappointed. This movie will make you cry, laugh, weep, cheer and sob. As the Prophecy said, “… for neither can live while the other survives.” It all ends, but that’s okay. If you find yourself missing Harry and the gang, you can always visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.