The story of how DeuxMoi came to be is something of pop culture lore, oft-repeated between friends at brunch, regaled by college students to their social media-inept mothers, and published in countless articles over the past two years. The celebrity gossip Instagram page was famously born from a whim in March of 2020 when, bored and stuck at home waiting out the first COVID-19 lockdown, an anonymous New York City-based woman shared a request with her followers: “celeb stories (first or second hand) you are willing to share.”
The profile, @deuxmoi, was left over from a defunct fashion blog the woman had started with a friend years earlier, and it had a modest but not-insignificant following of 45,000 people who gleefully sent in messages about their celebrity encounters. The tips ranged from innocuous anecdotes (maybe a famous comedian kindly posed for a picture with someone at Starbucks, for example) to salacious sex stories, like the rumor that Leonardo DiCaprio likes to wear headphones when he does the deed, earning him the DeuxMoi-coined nickname “Headphones Dino Bones.” The account administrator took screenshots of the DMs she received and posted them to her Instagram Stories. The rest, as they say, is history.
Now, two years and 1.5 million (!!) followers later, DeuxMoi is basically a celebrity in her own right—so much so that she’s getting her own scripted HBO Max series loosely based on her life. Earlier this week, it was announced that the streaming platform is developing an hour-long drama called Anon Pls, adapted from DeuxMoi’s forthcoming novel of the same name. Part Gossip Girl, part The Devil Wears Prada, Anon Pls will center on Cricket Lopez, an assistant to a nightmarish celebrity stylist. When Cricket rebrands her Instagram as a Hollywood gossip blog, she is not prepared for the unfathomable social media fame that’s in store for her.
In an interview with The Daily Beast in September of 2020, the woman behind DeuxMoi expressed her desire to one day be able to monetize her hard work. At the time, she was working a 9-to-5 job during the day and spending all of her free time filtering through her inbox and posting to DeuxMoi. She told The Daily Beast that she would regularly stay up until 2:30 a.m. to work on the account, all for free.
In the 20 months since that interview was published, DeuxMoi has gotten her wish, and then some. She has leveraged her platform into a merch line (fans can buy crewnecks and hats emblazoned with the slogan “ANON PLS”), a book deal, and now, a TV show with a major streaming service. It’s a testament to the rapid evolution of the account from crowd-sourced pandemic pastime to fully fledged cultural phenomenon. But the price of such swift and unexpected success may just be DeuxMoi’s integrity as a source of celebrity gossip. With this latest HBO partnership, Instagram’s foremost gossip-monger may be flying a little too close to the sun.
It should be noted that DeuxMoi is not and has never been a verified, official, or even consistently reliable entertainment news outlet. Since the beginning, the admin has carefully shielded herself from liability with frequent, emphatic disclaimers. (We are referring to DeuxMoi as “she,” as in the original admin, though followers have speculated in Facebook discussion groups that the account is now run by a team of people.) Her bio reads, “statements made on this account have not been independently confirmed. this account does not claim any information published is based in fact.”
DeuxMoi gets tips via Instagram DM and an online email form, and posts them to her story without fact-checking. The tips are typically coded “blinds,” or the admin will take it upon herself to block out names if the information seems particularly sensitive. Celebrity subjects are often referred to as simply “A-list singer” or “B+ list TV actor.” There have been plenty of instances where tips seem way too outlandish to be real—or have the scent of being intentionally leaked by a celebrity’s own team. DeuxMoi has also fallen prey to toxic fandoms who send in “tips” that read more like wishful thinking. It’s up to followers to be discerning about what they read.
Still, for all of the fake blind items and posts about J. Lo’s Carbone order, DeuxMoi has also broken major celebrity news stories before they grace the pages of People and Us Weekly. She posted the first statement from Hillsong megachurch when disgraced pastor (and buddy of Justin Bieber) Carl Lentz was fired. She spilled about Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost’s secret October 2020 wedding. She knew about Emily Ratajkowki’s pregnancy and Harry Styles’ Coachella gig weeks before news of either was made public.
Another story DeuxMoi was ahead of was the behind-the-scenes drama between Barbie Ferreira and Sam Levinson on the set of Euphoria. The gossip account first began posting rumors of a rift between Ferreira and the series’ creator in early January, resulting in the fan-favorite actress having a reduced role in the show’s second season. “New season of Euphoria is going to be real DARK,” read the anonymous email. “So much so that some actors, especially Barbie Ferreira, were not vibing with the director’s vision. Barbie got into it with him on set and left one day. He then cut a lot of her lines. Hence, why she’s not in the trailer or at the premiere.”
The tension between Ferreira and Levinson proved to be a huge story surrounding season two of HBO’s druggy teen drama, and DeuxMoi was integral to bringing it to light. This is just one example of what’s at stake with the significant conflict of interest posed by her partnership with HBO. In fact, the entire cast of Euphoria is consistent fodder for DeuxMoi’s Instagram Stories, since interest in the hugely popular series is so high.
Jacob Elordi is a weekly fixture in the Sunday Spotted roundup, in which Deux posts all of the celebrity sightings she received in the previous week, accompanied by constant speculation about who he is dating at the moment (right now, it’s allegedly the college-admissions-scandal-tarnished influencer, Olivia Jade). Zendaya and It-girl du jour Maude Apatow also regularly appear. And DeuxMoi was one of the first sources to confirm the relationship (and recent breakup) between co-stars Hunter Schafer and Dominic Fike.
Now that DeuxMoi has a vested—and monetary—interest in HBO, it’s not difficult to imagine that she will be dissuaded from posting anything negative about the network. At the very least, it will certainly be awkward to air the details of its stars’ hookups, coffee orders, and on-set feuds, which will put a damper on the fun of following. The people want to know how much Zendaya and Tom Holland tipped on their dinner date in Boston! We deserve to know!
Then, there’s the broader issue of subjectivity. Granted, DeuxMoi was never completely unbiased, and has always been shaped by the admin’s interests—one would think Jack Quaid was way more famous than he actually is based on the sheer amount of posts about him. But this new professional partnership signifies a giant step even farther away from objectivity. Surely the account will disproportionately promote its own show, but perhaps it will also begin to shy away from covering shows and stars on competing networks like Netflix and Hulu. What if there’s a really juicy rumor about an Anon Pls actor? It’s safe to assume DeuxMoi will look the other way.
When it comes down to it, a good purveyor of celebrity gossip cannot herself be a celebrity. She can’t have a dog in the fight. What made DeuxMoi so addictive in its early days was how distinctly different it felt from reading a tabloid or scrolling through paparazzi-snapped red carpet photos. The mundanity of what she chose to highlight was refreshing—who among us is not curious about what Julianne Moore buys at Whole Foods? Above all, though, it worked because she was one of us, a fan, and tapping through her stories felt like chatting with a friend over cocktails.
Maybe Anon Pls will be great, or at least better than HBO’s disastrous Gossip Girl reboot from last year. But it also undeniably marks the end of an era for the DeuxMoi we have come to know and love.