Canada's Pop Culture Source

News > Pop Culture

Inside the world of Perez Hilton, star blogger

Perez Hilton
Perez Hilton Supplied publicity photo

It’s the dawn of another workday. On your way to the office, you pop into the local coffee shop to grab a cup of java and catch up on the latest gossip. But imagine if you never left the coffee shop. Imagine if the coffee shop was your office — and gossiping was your job. That’s the way it is for Perez Hilton, Hollywood’s most infamous insider. However, when Perez, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, arrives at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in West Hollywood with his computer, he’s not there to loiter. He’s networking to collect the latest entertainment news for his website, PerezHilton.com—a popular destination for daily distraction and one of the top gossip websites.

Before starting his site in 2004 (then called PageSixSixSix.com before a lawsuit by the New York Post forced him to change it), Lavandeira got to know the industry from all sides. Some of his past professions in Tinsel Town include stints as an actor, publicist, and journalist. It’s only recently that he’s dedicated himself to his site full-time and gained a high profile in the process, standing out amongst other gossip bloggers for the inside tips he gets by partying with the A-listers.

Love him or hate him, when Lavandeira says “I don’t even think I have competition,” he’s probably right. Unlike an anonymous blogger in Anytown, USA, Lavandeira is right in the heart of the action — his oft-criticized knack for promoting himself as a personality has garnered invites to some of the hottest industry events. In the last six months he’s been to the Cannes Film Festival, Sundance, New York’s Fashion Week and the MuchMusic Video Awards, to name just a few. Afterwards, it’s not uncommon to read a play-by-play on his site of who-did-what, right down to the smallest details, like what Nicole Richie was eating (grilled cheese) or what Jessica Simpson smelled like (vanilla). But now that Perez has become so recognizable, you’d assume celebrities would avoid him like carbohydrates.

“Not at all,” says Lavandeira. “Since people know who I am they’ll come up to me.”

But what about his namesake and friend, the notorious Paris Hilton? Lately readers can’t help but notice the contrast between Lavandeira’s reports on Paris (one picture is captioned: “People are going to be very impressed with Paris’ album”) and other starlets such as Lindsay Lohan (a headline reporting her latest endorsement deal decries: “Selling Out Is The New Black”). So, how can you have a top Hollywood gossip site and not trash the sex-tape starring, most-maligned socialite of them all?

“There were these pictures that popped up of Paris exiting her car and she wasn’t wearing any panties,” he says. “A few of the other gossip blogs posted pictures. I didn’t. My readers don’t need to see Paris’ vagina — they’ve already seen it.”

Speaking of exposure, Lavandeira currently has a reality TV show in production, which he describes as a Real World/Simple Life/Surreal Life/Punk’d hybrid.

“We’re put in situations that may not happen every day that make for good television — like Kathy Griffin and I going to buy star maps and seeing which celebrities let us into their homes.”

But with the celebrity mingling comes also the requisite mudslinging. Lavandeira once referred to actress Shannon Elizabeth as being on the dreaded Hollywood “F-list” — and she confronted him in-person.

“I felt bad about that,” he says, “but not about calling her F-list, because, you know, I’m keeping it real. She is F-list! Come on. The only thing people remember her for is American Pie and that was years ago.”

Did he feel guilty about the dig?

“No, I didn’t feel guilty except for one moment when she said that it came at a bad time because things were slow for her — maybe she couldn’t get work! Poor thing,” he laughs.

Of course, everyone loves to see someone getting served a dose of what they dish out. Lavandeira’s own personal life has become the target of blog-fodder on sites such as Gawker.com, which published nasty email correspondence between Lavandeira and a publicist who neglected to send him an industry invite. But he’ll take the good along with the bad.

“I’m old school. Any press is good press.”

As for setting up shop at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Lavandeira doesn’t foresee an increase in office overhead anytime soon.

“Make me pay rent?” he scoffs. “They should pay me money!”

Filed Under

Share This

Related Posts

Tay Zonday talks ‘Chocolate Rain’ on its 10th anniversary

His odd, but earnest music video went viral and became the source of many, many memes. What's life like for Tay today?

How taking a DNA genetic test could affect your life and health insurance coverage

Heavily-promoted DNA testing kits could cause problems with your insurer and even your employer thanks to a lack of Canadian regulation

Inside the Stratford Festival’s props workshop and wardrobe warehouse

Go behind the scenes at the long-running theatre festival's innovative properties department and its vast wardrobe warehouse, the third-largest in North America

Connie Walker on missing and murdered investigations, life at the CBC

The award-winning journalist has been on the frontlines, reporting the stories of missing and murdered Indigenous women

Tanner Zipchen brings a bit of the Prairies to Hollywood

The Saskatoon radio DJ gets a gig on the big screen thanks to a clever YouTube video and a talent for talk

Til Schweiger takes flight in ‘The Red Baron’

An interview with one of the stars from the WWI-set action film
Celebrity

Being Ben Mulroney

In a candid Q & A session, Mulroney talks about fame, family and the new season of 'Canadian Idol'
Books & Publishing

Meet Jann Arden, best-selling author

The prolific singer-songwriter talks music and chats up her latest collection of personal journals
Industry

Inside the mind of Canadian radio’s most important executive

A one-on-one conversation with Susan Marjetti, CBC's executive director of Radio and Audio
Comedy

Inside the Mind of Rick Mercer

We speak to the comedian and Canadian icon, in the midst of the second season of his news satire show, 'Monday Report'
Music

Mae Moore’s real life

The Canadian singer-songwriter reflects on her 'Collected Works 1989-1999'
Comedy

Jessica Holmes makes a big return to CBC’s Air Farce

The comedienne dishes on impersonating Céline Dion & Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, opening for Seinfeld, Ellen and Oprah
Television

Everybody Loves George Stroumboulopoulos

Now that his program is on the main CBC network, 'The Hour' and its host prepare for a new set of challenges
Television

It’s not easy being Wendy Mesley

The CBC journalist talks about her TV newsmagazine 'Undercurrents', being a homebody and, yes, we went there, her bad hair days
Music

Canadian hitmakers Wild Strawberries get deep

'90s pop-rock radio duo thoughtfully evolve in their latest album, 'Vesper 50'
Journalism

One-on-one with Global National anchor Dawna Friesen

The Winnipeg-born journalist talks candidly about sexism, news bloopers, and the fine line between family and work