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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Rants and Raves – Gossip in the Workplace

We’re the first to admit we love us some good dish, whether it’s the latest celeb news on Lainey or Perez, or the rumblings of an amazing new restaurant coming to town. But for the most part, gossip isn’t cool, especially in the workplace.

First off, gossip can’t be trusted. It’s like that game Broken Telephone; facts get twisted or left out altogether. If you don’t hear the juicy details directly from the person it’s concerning, consider it a rumour, take it with a grain of salt and don’t spread it around. 

Mean Girls. Hilarious on screen, not at work.
Image source

We think another good rule of thumb is to never put anything in writing you wouldn’t shout from the rooftop. This goes for email, text, social media like Facebook and Twitter, blogs, and even the good old written word (remember pen and paper?). You could send your message to the wrong person, or you might write something that could come back to haunt you down the road. Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back.

When a co-worker or higher up does something that gets under your skin, toughen up. Chances are it wasn’t personal. Don’t spread it around the office. It wastes time, contributes to a negative energy in the office, and won’t improve the situation. If you really need to vent, take five minutes for some privacy and call a friend or family member to let off steam. (Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, so if you are legitimately being mistreated at work or feel you need assistance to resolve an issue, hit up your boss or HR department.) 

Gossip can damage your relationships.
Image source

We’re not fans of “you didn’t hear this from me, but…” either. If you need to preface yours news that way, you probably shouldn’t be saying it at all. Besides, there might be more to the situation than you are aware of, and leaking private info could do more damage than you anticipate, especially if it includes sensitive information regarding your company, your clients or your boss. 

Spreading gossip works two ways. We’ve all heard someone claim “I don’t gossip, I can’t stand it,” and then watch them happily soak up whatever piece of dirt someone is sharing. Just because you’re not the one spreading word, doesn’t make you guiltless. It’s perfectly acceptable to politely say “I’m not really comfortable discussing this,” and change the subject. 

We know gossip can be a fun distraction, but most of the time it’s not worth it and can have some negative consequences like damaged reputations, a dip in morale and increased anxiety. And really, it’s just plain unprofessional. So next time you’re feeling that urge to spread word about something that probably isn’t your business, bite your tongue and remember that karma is a bitch. 




A version of this post first appeared in http://www.huffingtonpost.ca. 

 

Media, Darling: Sasha Tong

After working at MTV in the U.K., Sasha Tong moved to Toronto where she quickly landed a job at eTalk.  She’s been with the show for more than five years and heads up the fashion beat. Tong has been lucky enough to interview some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, including everyone from Oscar and Juno nominees to talent at the Toronto International Film Festival; she’s been afforded some pretty crazy opportunities. Tong also now writes a weekly fashion and personal advice column on laineygossip.com.

Twitter: @eTalkCTV

How can someone grab your attention with a pitch?
The most important way to grab my attention is with a pitch that’s quick and concise. If I have to read through a novel to get to the point, then I’ve already moved on. I know what will work and what won’t work for the show, so you typically don’t have to convince me. It’s really important though, that you know what eTalk features on a regular basis, so something like “how to wax your bikini line” just isn’t something I can feature on the show. Oh, and if you get my name right on the email, then that’s a bonus.

What do you find most useful when dealing with public relations professionals?
I always appreciate it when I’m dealing with a PR company that can get me everything I need on a tight turnaround. If you’re pitching me and I like it, I usually have to move quickly, so the more organized and resourceful you are, the more I love you for it. Because time is such an issue, I also find it useful when I can just shoot the shit with the publicist and be straight up. If I pass on a pitch I don’t want to feel like I’ve hurt your feelings.

What is the biggest mistake PR professionals make?

Hands down: when I’m stalked. I love a good follow-up email but if you start leaving messages on my work phone and my cell phone, that’s a quick buzz kill. 

My pet peeve
Please, oh please, put the email all in one font. When I get an email and everything is different sizes, I know you’ve just cut and pasted and pressed send. I don’t need to feel special, but paying attention to a small detail like that goes a long way.

Any other thoughts you’d like to add?

Ninety-nine per cent of the time, the publicists I work with are amazing. You guys are talented, innovative and creative. So keep up the good work.