Blogging is hard. Truly. Having been part of the blogosphere for the past three years it has been an interesting test of my knowledge of Calgary and my time management skills (or lack thereof it seems). It takes some serious chutzpah and more than a little elbow grease to get a blog to work – and to work well.
But taking it to the next level to become a professional blogger takes extreme dedication and skill. Elaine Lui has all that and more with a sassy attitude, sarcastic wit and blogging prowess that has turned her into the celebrity blogging machine known as Lainey Gossip. Now one of the most popular celebrity bloggers in North America, Lainey has parlayed her talents into a gig with CTV’s E! Talk and even has her own line of Vitamin Water for heaven’s sakes! Last month, C.I.A. Editor, Angela and I were invited to attend a special celebrity gossip session with fifty other like-minded ladies (and a few dudes too) to gab about our favourite Hollywood heroes and villains. We expected a night of girl talk and ended up with a serious evening of celebrity analysis and discussion. Angela and I had the chance to meet up with Lainey before the “class” to chat about everything from celebrity life, the TomKat divorce and of course, shoes.
Q: Tell us what the Lainey Gossip Faculty of Celebrity Studies is all about. How did this all get started?
A: On my blog last year, I started saying things like, “If I were the Dean of the Faculty of Celebrity Studies in a liberal arts university somewhere in New England, we could have a whole class talking about a certain celebrity’s management or decision making.” I had also been working with Vitamin Water at the time and they were on board to create a fun and cheeky event for people to attend.
Q: How did the other Celebrity Studies events go?
A: The level of engagements at the other events has been so impressive. The thoughtful points that have been made and the participation has been so valuable. It really became like a class lecture where the floor was thrown open and everybody came to add something to the discussion. My goal is to stimulate the discussion and maybe encourage people to think of gossip in a different way. That’s the objective.
Q: Why do people crave gossip?
When gossip is done well, it’s a reflection on human behaviour. It’s an examination and observation of how we approach these stories through the prism of our experience. So for people to say that gossip is just either a distraction or doesn’t add anything to our regular day-to-day lives, I would argue that gossip is more insightful than many other academic disciplines. Gossip can be a valuable component in social understanding.
Q: What makes you different from the other celebrity bloggers out there?
A: Celebrity gossip at Lainey Gossip is an analysis of the story. “Here’s the movie they just signed onto, is it a good decision for their career, is this a good casting decision for the studio,” and then it becomes a case study for whatever point I’m trying to argue. So I think Lainey Gossip sets itself apart, because to me we’re more erudite, we’re smarter, and we’re more curious. Hopefully we’re providing a more intelligent look at the story.
Listen, I sound like I’m up my own ass. I’ll add to that by noting that we also talk about shoes.
Q: What’s the best part of your job being Lainey Gossip?
A: I get to communicate and have a gossipy conversation with people all day long and that’s my job. When my article gets posted, it’s being read by people that want to have that conversation and I can’t think of anything that’s more rewarding.
Q: What’s been the most interesting celebrity story that you’ve been loving to write about lately?
A: Well, it’s been the summer of awesome gossip. There’s been the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes breakup and the Kristen Stewart cheating scandal dominating headlines.
Q: Do you believe in the saying that there’s no such thing as bad press? People want to be famous and do outlandish things to get attention.
A: No, I believe that there can be bad press. For example, I don’t think that Kristen Stewart is getting good press right now. I don’t believe Mel Gibson got any good press after the crazy things that he did. Having said that, the definition of bad press is getting narrower and narrower. It used to be that bad press was that a celebrity should not be able to still be successful after, for example, beating the shit out of their girlfriend. But Chris Brown is just as famous, if not more than before that incident. So the definition of bad press is becoming smaller.
Q: What is that you think makes Calgary awesome?
A: Last night was the second time I’ve eaten at Charcut and it holds against any other restaurant in Canada. It’s that good. I had the bison heart for the first time last night. So sushi in Vancouver is unbeatable, let’s declare that now. But bison heart in Calgary? I won’t even try it anywhere else. It’s outstanding at Charcut.
I love that it’s sophisticated without being up its own ass.
Q: And I think that’s kinda Calgary.
A: Yah! Honestly the last few times I’ve been in Calgary, people are so friendly and welcoming. I was born and raised in Toronto and now live in Vancouver. The two snobbiest cities in Canada, let’s be honest. So coming to Calgary everyone is so friendly and welcoming. I really love the openness of it. Calgary is awesome.