A decade ago, Elaine Lui started LaineyGossip as an email blast among friends. Today, her blog is one of the most successful gossip sites in the world. Next week, she’ll appear at the eighth annual SMUT Soiree (a one-night-only celebrity gab-fest), and this fall she’ll be back in Toronto to co-host a daily talk show called The Social. Here, Lui talks Kimye baby names, loving Gwyneth, and why Rob Ford makes for grade-A goss.
By the time this interview is printed, the world will presumably know Kim Kardashian’s baby name. Are you willing to speculate?
I have no leaning whatsoever, but someone on Twitter suggested to me Kleopatra with a K, which seems plausible. It’s self-aggrandizing, it’s extra, it’s K-themed.
You generally avoid writing about Kim and her clan despite their popularity. How come?
It just feels too easy. They have People and Us Weekly on speed dial, and I just refuse to talk about super-fabricated celebrities. Like, all these housewives and teenage mothers: A lot of people know them by name now, but I have no idea who they are. There’s no art, there’s nothing interesting about that gossip.
In your post about the MMVAs, you referred to Chavril as Canada’s answer to Brad and Angelina. Were you being facetious?
Why would you say that? That’s my answer.
I feel like McGosling was our best chance at a homegrown Brangelina, no?
Yeah, but they died. They are no more. So what we have now is Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger. The first couple of Canadian entertainment. Congratulations, Canada.
I know we share a long-term Gwyneth Paltrow obsession. What do you make of the recent wave of extreme hatred?
The thing is that you’re not an effective celebrity unless you’re polarizing. She’s not boring anybody. Every time there is a new Gwyneth sighting, every blog that loves her posts the picture, and every blog that hates her posts the picture. Gwyneth Paltrow pictures always, always sell.
Are you a love/love or a love/hate?
I don’t love/love her the way I love Cate Blanchett, but I certainly don’t hate her. I guess I love Gwyneth for the reasons that other people hate her. I love that she is always trying to remind me that she’s better than I am. Frankly, I think the people who want to see celebrities as their neighbours and “just like us” and all that are totally misguided.
What do you mean when you say “the way I love Cate Blanchett”?
Well, with Gwyneth the love is a little cheeky. It’s a kind of gossipy love. With Cate there’s no irony. I love her, she’s perfect—the appreciation is 100 per cent authentic. The talent is extraordinary and she’s not one of these people who’s fame-whoring herself. She spends most of her time in Sydney, and when she says, “I want a different kind of life and not the Hollywood life,” she’s living it. She’s backing that shit up.
As opposed to all these celebs who complain about the paparazzi and then show up at the trendiest restaurant in L.A. for dinner.
Exactly. The Hollywood Reporter coined the term mocktress for the ones who really can’t do anything except wear a nice outfit and get photographed. Cate Blanchett is the opposite of a mocktress.
Can you talk to me a bit about your new TV show, The Social? People are describing it as a Canadian version of The View.
Well, I’m not supposed to say that. It’s an afternoon talk show with four women sharing four different perspectives. Sometimes it gets heated, but mostly we’re trying to engage Canadians in a conversation. One of the ways that we’re different is that we want to have a discussion in real time with our viewers. With Twitter and Facebook, we can actually do that—interact with people from their living rooms.
Panel shows like this tend to have specific personalities: the sarcastic one, the Bible-thumper. What archetype do you think you fill?
People definitely know me as a gossip and as someone who makes a living talking about celebrities, but this show is going to give me an opportunity to show a different side of myself—I read, I’m up on current affairs, and I really care about sports.
Having spent the past several years in Vancouver, what are you most excited about in terms of moving back home to Hogtown?
My parents still live [in Toronto], so I’m excited to be close to them. For my husband and I, this is our first house, which is very exciting.
I know you bought in the Beaches. Shouldn’t a gossip girl be living in Yorkville?
We wanted to sort of replicate the neighbourhood where we live in Vancouver, which is very community-based and green and not so hustle-and-bustle, for lack of a better expression. We are outdoorsy, and we spend a lot of time with our dogs. Full disclosure: our house-hunting requirements were kind of dictated by our dogs. Also, we are just generally really casual people. I think my husband maybe wears jeans twice a month and that’s his fancy clothing. He spends a lot of time in athletic wear, and when I’m not working, I’m sort of the same.
From a gossip-ologist’s perspective, what do you make of the Rob Ford crack scandal?
I’m not going to lie: I am obsessed with it. Normally, Vancouver people don’t give a shit about Toronto, but everybody wants to talk about Rob Ford and everyone followed every single detail. He’s our national celebrity right now. I’ve spoken with journalists who say they’ll be dining out on Rob Ford for years.
Jen or Angelina?
Scruff or clean-shaven?
Depends on who.
On your pizza?
Mushrooms, olives, ground beef, extra cheese, tomatoes, onions.
Desert island album?
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
On a horse, with Prince Harry.
Heels or flats?
Oxfords, elevated one inch.
The SMUT Soiree takes place at Evergreen Brick Works (550 Bayview Ave.) on June 25.