It’s a new age for gossip. Thanks to the popularity of @deuxmoi, Instagram’s most popular gossip, everyone can get their fix.
DeuxMoi is a completely anonymous gossip account (on both ends). The account posts everything from blind items to celebrity sightings to TV recommendations, with all sources remaining anonymous. (Current events, skincare and restaurant recommendations, and opportunities to shout out lesser-known celebrities seem to perform the best.)
DeuxMoi gets tips before anyone else: a follower DMed the press release from the Royal Family in response to Meghan and Harry’s Oprah interview minutes before it was released to the public, someone spilled that there would be a new flavor collaboration with Jeni’s Ice Cream soon (it turned out to be Dolly Parton), and a follower confirmed “Love Story” would be Taylor Swift’s first release from her re-recordings. But the account also posts everyday stuff. Bernie Sanders was spotted getting tomato soup at a Senate cafeteria (DeuxMoi stays away from political content but thought that was fun and innocent enough). Apparently, Bella and Gigi Hadid are as nice as they seem to be. Celebrities love shopping at Anthropologie. Katy Perry will supposedly be announcing a Las Vegas residency soon. There’s always lots of Real Housewives and Bachelor content, surprising celebrity hookups, and general gossip as well. Some followers even note if a celeb was wearing a mask or not if they spot them out and about.
While the tea coming from the account is always piping hot, it’s not just the gossip that’s so interesting—it’s the fact that we also have no idea who the person (or people) are who run this account, and yet people cannot stop sending in gossip. How are they comfortable doing that?
“To me, that’s the biggest mystery, more than anything else,” DeuxMoi said. “A lot of the time it’s their job, it’s their NDAs on the line. And sometimes it’s their relationships or personal relationships. So I just put myself in their shoes and I’m like, ‘Would I feel comfortable putting any of those things on the line just to gossip?’ and I probably wouldn’t.”
We’re not going to find out who runs the account anytime soon, either. (“Will I ever reveal [my identity]? Probably not,” DeuxMoi said.) When the account owner called me for our interview, the call came through as “No Caller ID”—they’re not messing around with anonymity.
“I stay anonymous because I do have a job that is not [running the account]. And the account has always been just about the account, even when it was started. I don’t really feel like I need to insert myself personally into it. I rarely even give my opinion,” DeuxMoi said.
So, how does DeuxMoi work?
It’s basically a modern-day Gossip Girl. If you have gossip, you can submit it through a form on their website or DM the account. The form is anonymous, even asking users to use pseudonyms, while the DMs will be blurred out so there’s no way anyone will ever know it’s you. A lot of people will send in gossip and then say, “anon pls,” indicating they want to remain anonymous, but even if they don’t, DeuxMoi will never reveal its sources.
“If somebody DMs me something and they’re scared about me posting it, I’m not pushy. I reassure them as much as I can that this information is going to be completely anonymous. I will never reveal who they are. I try to be really chill about it. And I don’t post anything without their permission,” DeuxMoi said.
The gossip, should it be chosen, will then get posted to DeuxMoi’s Instagram Stories. Oftentimes, the names and identifying details of the gossip will be redacted so as not to expose a celebrity too much.
“Honestly, the only reason [I post to Instagram Stories] was because I don’t like the way a DM would look on my feed,” DeuxMoi said. “It started that way. That’s the way I continue to do it just for consistency.”
There’s an entire culture surrounding DeuxMoi, from merch (often branded with the classic “anon pls”) to acronyms and sayings (“Chris Noth Trigger Warning” means you snapped a pic of a celeb without their permission—Noth is not a fan of that; “Headphone Dino Bones” is a nickname for Leonardo DiCaprio). Job posts for trending news writers have even said they want you to break the news faster than DeuxMoi, and there are a few TikTok videos out there that spill gossip and start with, “So call me the next DeuxMoi because…” With such a huge following over such a short amount of time, it’s safe to say DeuxMoi is Instagram’s favorite gossip. But how did this account come to be?
“If Covid never happened, this account would have never happened,” DeuxMoi said.
The account was originally launched as a lifestyle page but had been dormant for a while before becoming what we all know it as today. The owner decided to revive the account in the very early stages of quarantine.
“It’s almost the one year anniversary of when it started to be a gossip account. It was the 22nd of March . So, it’s so crazy that a year has gone by, it’s actually insane,” DeuxMoi shared. “It feels like yesterday that I was home for quarantine, just like everyone else, scared, not knowing what was going on. So just as a distraction, I just posted a post that was literally like, ‘Why don’t you guys share any celebrity encounters you’ve had?’ And it wasn’t really an original idea to ask people to share that.”
If not originality, what makes the account so popular, then? It was a perfect storm in a way. With everyone’s love for gossip—whether they want to admit it or not—combined with the entire world being stuck at home and looking for something to stay entertained, plus DeuxMoi’s unwavering commitment to anonymity, everyone wanted to send in their celebrity gossip. On top of that, DeuxMoi also often starts discussions and posts information that other gossip sites aren’t talking about—the everyday stuff is really what pulls people in.
What has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon and a revival of gossip culture came about completely organically, and what it turned into was something completely accidental. And it’s all happened in just one year.
“It wasn’t anything that was premeditated,” DeuxMoi said. “It just kind of kept snowballing and snowballing… As more people started to join the account, I felt like the responsibility to keep it entertaining.”
And yes, more people have definitely joined the account—more than 800,000 more, to be exact. It’s not just bystanders either; celebrities and PR teams follow too. At the rate this is going, the account is barreling right toward a million followers.
“I definitely thought [the followers] would cap out at the low hundred thousands. I didn’t think it would keep growing,” DeuxMoi said. “I do know that some celebrities follow from their real account, but I know a bunch of celebrities follow from their finstas [fake/private accounts]. But I always tell people, ‘Don’t tell me which celebrities are following.’ I don’t want to know because I don’t want to be swayed in what I’m posting.”
It’s not necessarily all about the number of followers or who’s following: it’s more about the engagement. People send in thousands of tips. But there are also “regulars” that DM the account. Once their tips prove to be accurate, DeuxMoi can rely on them to keep submitting true information.
DeuxMoi couldn’t share the most shocking piece of gossip the account received (“It was probably something I couldn’t post,” DeuxMoi said), but there have definitely been surprising submissions.
“When Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost got married, somebody told me before they announced that it happened on a Sunday, and then Monday I got a DM about it… So, I put it up, and people were like, ‘No way, this isn’t true. Colin hosted Saturday Night Live, how can he do this?’ so I took it down. Ten minutes later they announced they got married,” DeuxMoi said. “I was kind of mad at myself for not believing the person and keeping the story up because then I would have broken the news that they got married.”
DeuxMoi ended up apologizing to the person publicly for not believing them. Still, the account gets lots of fake tips, and the owner has to filter through those.
“[I get fake tips] all the time… They’re mainly from the fans, and sometimes they slip through the cracks and I’ll post it,” DeuxMoi said. “And then there are things that I just totally get wrong, because there’s no way I could know. There are certain pieces of information I could get loosely verified if I took an extra step, but right now this is a hobby. I’m not doing this all day. I’m not at my computer all day working on this. There just isn’t time.”
With a lot of those fake tips coming in from fandoms, fans probably want to protect and maybe even get noticed by their favorite celebrities. And those fandoms are also part of the reason why the account is private.
“In the beginning, fans started finding out about the account and writing in and [they were] angry. I just made it private,” DeuxMoi said. “And then also, I made it private so I could see who was coming in and out… But I think at one point I’m going to make it public.”
Fandoms aren’t the only reason for the account being private. DeuxMoi felt a little ashamed in the beginning. The account owner’s parents don’t follow the account or know how much press DeuxMoi is getting.
“There were a lot of times I wanted to quit, in the beginning especially, when things were in severe lockdown, and I was just doing this nine hours a day,” DeuxMoi said.
Tips come in waves, but it can be hard to keep up, especially with a day job or when something big is breaking. Now, with the account more popular than ever, DeuxMoi tries to post during the day while at work if possible.
“It depends on what it is, but I try to sneak,” DeuxMoi said. “Like, in a corner, in the bathroom, under a desk.”
Followers come in waves, too. If DeuxMoi gets mentioned somewhere else or if something gets reposted to Twitter, the account will see an increase in follow requests.
“There are definitely times when it spikes and times when it gets pretty steady, which is maybe like 1000 [follow requests] a day,” DeuxMoi said. “But then there are times like with the Vanity Fair Armie Hammer thing or something else. That was like 10,000 [requests].”
For context: Vanity Fair essentially suggested that the blame for the Armie Hammer scandal earlier this year should be placed on DeuxMoi for posting unsubstantiated claims, yet DeuxMoi and its followers fervently state (often with proof) that the gossip posted on the account had already been released elsewhere.
With the world slowly adjusting to this new normal a bit, people don’t have as much time to share as much gossip. Coupled with DeuxMoi turning off commenting on posts and direct replies to Instagram Stories, the tips have actually slowed down a bit. But according to DeuxMoi, the information is better. It’s more reliable.
“I think people are getting back to their life…. But that being said, it’s weird because also now that things are getting back to normal, and the weather is getting warmer, I’m getting tons of sightings. That has not slowed down. That’s actually ramping back up,” DeuxMoi said.
And what does the popularity of the account and the sheer number of tips coming in say about celebrity gossip culture today? Everyone wants to be celebrity-adjacent.
“It shows what’s going on when the cameras are off, and it’s also very relatable… You can learn that JLo uses La Mer and then you can actually go out and buy it. So it’s attainable,” DeuxMoi said. “People love [celebrity spottings] too. After I post them, someone will email me and be like, ‘I’m going to Miami for the weekend, what are the hotspots that you always post?’ I think people need them as recommendations, but it also makes them feel like they’re a celebrity.”
Even celebrities want to be celebrity-adjacent. Remember when the Comments by Celebs Instagram first launched? Celebrities were thrilled when their witty comments were posted on the account. And followers were equally amused. (Since then, Comments by Celebs has expanded to Overheard Celebs too, which is similar to DeuxMoi in that it posts celebrity encounters and stories, but not gossip.)
But in a world full of misinformation, where can one draw the line between harmless gossip and dangerous rhetoric?
“To say someone wasn’t friendly or nice or wouldn’t take a picture or doesn’t make eye contact just shows that they’re human. Everyone has good and bad days. I think there are definitely celebrities who have more stories like that than others, but I don’t necessarily think that that’s a bad thing,” DeuxMoi said.
But the owner of the account still has to use common sense and instincts in deciding what gets posted and what doesn’t.
“There are certain words I don’t like posting… If somebody sent me an email or DM and it’s totally going off and calling a celebrity every name in the book, I will not post that because obviously, that person is angry,” DeuxMoi said. “The name calling I don’t like.”
There’s also a lengthy legal disclaimer on the DeuxMoi website and Instagram bio that’s been up since April of last year, right at the beginning of the account’s inception. After all, this gossip is totally unverified (but people don’t care—it’s all in good fun). Adding the disclaimer was a proactive move rather than a reactive one, though.
“I don’t research [the gossip]. I don’t have a team of journalists or reporters that can investigate every single thing that’s posted… it’s a total roll of the dice,” DeuxMoi said. “I try to sort of shift what I post that isn’t a blind item to be things that aren’t too serious. So if they don’t turn out to be true, it’s not going to ruin someone’s life. For example, Daft Punk being at the Super Bowl. Somebody said they were there and then it turned out they weren’t there, maybe they were there, something like that.”
Even though there haven’t been any legal issues with celebrities or their representatives yet, there are some people in the industry that have reached out to DeuxMoi, whether it’s to try to confirm that they think they know who submitted gossip or to change something. But the number of people who have done that are way lower than you’d think, DeuxMoi said. In the course of a year, only one publicist (that DeuxMoi knows of, at least) has reached out. It was not to give information but just to correct information, and they apparently weren’t pushy about it at all.
“There was this tip about James Franco and it was the way he acted backstage while he was getting his makeup put on for a play he was doing, and it was not favorable at all. And somebody who worked on that play DMed me and was like, ‘Who sent you this?’ And I’m like, are you kidding me, you think I’m really gonna tell you? Absolutely not,” DeuxMoi said.
But you can, of course, refute (or reinforce) what people are submitting. And DeuxMoi thinks that’s why people keep sending in tips, to provide their perspective on a celebrity too.
“It happened another time too with a story about Ariana Grande,” DeuxMoi said. “She asked for cut-up strawberries on a photo shoot or something and an intern sent it in. An editor winded up writing in and was like, ‘I think this was my intern.’ And I’m just like, no, no, I can’t tell you.”
At the end of the day, people want to share their celebrity gossip, from bystanders to interns to entertainment industry professionals. It makes them feel cool and part of something bigger. As for what’s next for DeuxMoi? Expect another merch drop sometime this spring. And in the meantime, we—and hundreds of thousands of others—are keeping our eyes peeled for lots more celebrity tea.
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createdAt:Thu, 18 Mar 2021 14:25:03 +0000
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