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Co-Host of CTV’s The Social and Senior Correspondent for Etalk, Elaine Lui became a celebrity herself after starting her own celebrity gossip blog, LaineyGossip.com. CTV notes that “Lainey does what she does for one reason – to provide gossip education to the Canadian public”.
Lainey’s blog came about after she started emailing a few friends with celebrity commentaries. From there, it grew to a website with millions of readers from around the world. As word got out about Lainey’s non-sycophantic email updates, she received so many requests to get on her mailing list that her server crashed. Today she has over a million readers and Twitter followers every month, making it a leading international celebrity gossip source. Recognizing Lainey’s talent, she joined the Etalk team in 2006.
Lainey has reported and covered celebrity and gossip news for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, appearing in The Globe and Mail and Metro newspapers, and daily on Canada’s official Olympic morning show during the Games. Lainey also travelled to London, England to cover the Royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Lainey 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. Lainey is also known for her coverage of the phenom book and movie saga Twilight, and has a cameo in D: NYC - Degrassi Takes Manhattan. Lainey’s first book, Listen to the Squawking Chicken: When Mother Knows Best, What's a Daughter To Do? A Memoir (Sort Of), debuted at #1 on the Globe & Mail bestseller list upon publication.
A graduate of the University of Western Ontario majoring in French and History, Lainey lives in Toronto with her husband and beagles. She is a consultant for Covenant House, which offers shelter and services for homeless youth.
- This interview is courtesy of CTV
You have one of the top gossip blogs on the net, laineygossip.com, you are a reporter for CTV's Etalk, you co-host on CTV's daily talk series The Social, aaand you recently wrote a book about your tough but loving relationship with your mother. Wow! How do you find work-life balance? What do you do to relax when you’re not working?
I don’t subscribe to the “work-life balance” philosophy. My husband and I built LaineyGossip together. It’s our passion. We love what we do. But it’s the kind job that can never go on holiday…and we don’t mind. Because it’s ours. We think of it as an extension of ourselves. And that’s how I see my career – why would I want to divide myself from it when I worked so hard to create it?
That said, I also play golf, I hang out with my friends, I read a lot, I travel, I shop… but none of that helps me “recover” from my job. I do all of it because I enjoy all of it.
What value would you say celebrity culture and gossip have in our society? Why do you think people love it so much?
We’ve been gossiping forever. Thousands of years ago, people gossiped about empresses and pharaohs. The hieroglyphics proved that. A few decades ago, they gossiped about politicians – and we still do. When we gossip, we are communicating. We are sharing with each other our social expectations, our boundaries, our moral limits. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
Has any celebrity gossip ever shocked you?
All the time. Celebrities can be shockingly self-indulgent, narcissistic, and badly behaved. Which is great. Otherwise we’d be bored.
Was there an "important" book for you when you were getting a handle on who you were and wanted to be?
I read a lot and I read a lot of everything so I’m not sure I can narrow it down to one book. But I did write a memoir called Listen to the Squawking Chicken about my mother. And my favourite memoir is The Tender Bar by JR Moehringer about growing up in Long Island without a father, and how the people at the bar filled that role for him. The book is beautiful and honest and I wanted mine to be the same.
Feng shui holds a lot of power in your life, including partaking in rituals such as using eye-drops every morning and eating a papaya each day. Do you have a "mantra" that helps to steer you? Or perhaps a method to the madness?
Keep working. And work hard. Hard work is always achievable.
What is your greatest struggle right now? And how do you deal with those moments in life when you feel low or down and out?
Everyone has moments when they feel inadequate or frustrated or impotent. I try not to get too myopic about my own petty problems though, especially since part of my job is to call out celebrities on their bullshit first world problems. On days when I’m not at my best though, I treat myself to a very, very good dinner, my favourite foods, and a lot of it. Eating makes me happy, always.
Relationships between mothers and daughters tend to be complicated and this is something you explore openly in your 'sort of' memoir Listen to the Squawking Chicken: When Mother Knows Best, What's a Daughter To Do? What would you say is the most important lesson you learned from your mother so far?
“Keep working. And work hard. Hard work is always achievable.” This was already an answer above, but my ma told me that even if I couldn’t be the smartest or the fastest or the funniest, I could always be the best at working hard.
What advice would you give to teens dealing with high school bullying, rumours or gossip that impact their social and mental wellbeing?
My ma was tough on me. She was always my first and worst critic. But this helped me. Because she was preparing me for how cruel the world can be and she wanted me to arm myself, she prepared me for attacks by setting expectations. She believed that if I was informed and educated, I would build confidence. And she encouraged me to work on learning more, thinking faster – she was training my mind. Because your mind is all you have. No one can take that from you. Your mind is your protector and your weapon. If you believe in your mind, you’ll start to believe in yourself.
How did your work with homeless youth at Vancouver’s Covenant House impact you as a person and professionally?
I grew up an only child of two loving parents. My parents provided me with everything I would need, physically and emotionally. The sad truth is that not everyone has the luxury of that kind of upbringing. The youth we serve at Covenant House Vancouver are running from abuse and neglect. No one CHOOSES to live on the streets. They’re there because that’s the only option they felt they had. At Covenant House, we’re not just trying to help young people, we’re also trying to change attitudes. My attitude certainly changed. And I hope I can assist others with the perception around homeless and at-risk youth.
How do you see the treatment of women in the media changing or evolving (if at all)? For instance, more journalists are being called out on how they interview or critique female artists vs. their male counterparts.
The treatment of women in the media won’t change until we change the treatment of women in society. Why are women paid less than men? Why do women still have to justify what they want to do with their own bodies? Why are women, most often the victims of domestic violence, increasingly less willing to report the crimes? Why are we still fighting for equality? Why is equality so elusive? It’s infuriating.
And for fun - just a few quick short answer qs:
If the world was ending in the next 30 minutes who would you like to spend those 30 minutes with?
My husband and my dogs.
What are you reading right now?
Judy Blume’s new book In The Unlikely Event
Secret celebrity crush of all time?
None of my crushes are secret. My longest crush ever was River Phoenix.
What do you want to be remembered for?
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