Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast
Leonardo DiCaprio loves having sex with his headphones on. A Real Housewife runs a NXIVM-style diet program. Jay Cutler is dating “White Power Barbie.” Vince Vaughn is quite rude to his fans. And Sen. Lindsey Graham goes maskless in airports. Or at least, that’s the juicy gossip according to Deuxmoi, a highly addictive Instagram account that’s become the go-to source for celebrity rumors during the coronavirus pandemic, providing a light tonic of sorts to our daily doomscroll.
“People are home and looking for another entertainment outlet,” the anonymous young woman in New York City who runs Deuxmoi tells The Daily Beast. “If there was no quarantine, it wouldn’t have grown at all.”
And grown it has. The account has swelled from 45,000 followers at the beginning of lockdown to around 234,000 and rising. Deuxmoi (“a made-up French word”) began in 2013 as a lifestyle account featuring interviews with local entrepreneurs, but things took a sharp turn on March 18, when the poster, who works a full-time job, fired off a message to her IG audience.
“It was the last day of work (in the office), and I said, ‘Hey guys—send me your celeb stories.’ And it took off from there,” she recalls.
Deuxmoi acts as a celeb-gossip repository of sorts, curating tips sent in via Instagram DM or its online submission portal—typically a sneaky picture of a celeb in the wild or a spicy anecdote—that are then posted to Instagram Stories. Dozens of these items are shared on the Story a day (from approximately 200 submissions), creating a narrative effect. Typical posts include shots of celebs dining at NYC or L.A. restaurants; celeb couples walking the streets; stories of celebs being either nice or mean to their fans or coworkers; celeb hook-up tales; and of course, famous people partying. The result is a fascinating window into the pandemic lives of the rich and famous, at a time when the actual paparazzi have been sidelined.
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There is, of course, the question of accuracy, corroboration, fact-checking, and legality. Deuxmoi’s account regularly posts ass-covering disclaimers, and its Instagram bio reads, “Statements made on this account have not been independently confirmed. This account does not claim any information published is based in fact.”
Thus far, she hasn’t received any legal threats from celebs.
“I had one publicist, one reality star, and two people who dated offspring of celebrities reach out. That’s it,” she maintains.
Deuxmoi says that she doesn’t post the location photos in real time, because she’s “not trying to create mass hysteria or trying to put anyone in danger whatsoever,” and though she insists that the account is “not trying to shame anyone,” there does appear to be a social-responsibility element to the IG tabloid proceedings. She typically notes whether a celeb was spotted going maskless—as in the case of Sen. Graham (R-SC), who was caught without a mask at an airport (“The person said that he was asked to put a mask on—and refused,” notes Deuxmoi), or if they’ve been flouting any and all COVID-19 guidelines, like Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy, who was spotted multiple times partying maskless with groups of people in the Hamptons before (and after) he came down with the coronavirus, according to photographs sent in by tipsters.
“He was in Florida, he was in Nantucket, then he was in the Hamptons, and he was in the city, so who knows how many people he spread it to,” says Deuxmoi. “And he was definitely out in public before his ‘quarantine’ was over. And the mask was hanging off his face.”
According to Deuxmoi, Adam Sandler, Hugh Jackman, Drew Barrymore, and Julianne Moore are known as the nicest celebs to their fans and coworkers—although the most angelic is none other than Harry Styles, who has been the subject of tons of positive stories and not a single negative one—while Vince Vaughn and Anna Kendrick are alleged to be the most prickly by her anonymous tipsters. Certain celeb regulars are given nicknames, e.g. Leonardo DiCaprio is known as “Headphones Dino Bones,” owing to two of his alleged favorite pastimes: sex and collecting dinosaur fossils.
“It’s about having sex with the headphones on—and I’ve gotten so many DMs about that,” she offers about the longtime rumor, adding, “I’m just posting what people are sending in. I don’t control what celebrities people see or interact with, and I don’t think some people get that.”
The lion’s share of the celeb content on Deuxmoi is of the dining out and hand-holding variety. And yet, in addition to exposing celebs behaving badly during the pandemic, she also broke the news of a pair of famous celeb diets—Tanya Zuckerbrot’s F-Factor and ex-Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Teddi Mellencamp’s ALL IN by Teddi—that have been accused of endangering women.
At the start of the pandemic, Deuxmoi conducted an open call, asking her followers for stories about their lives.
“This community of women started reaching out to me,” she says, relaying horror stories about the F-Factor Diet. Then, another woman shared her terrible experience with ALL IN by Teddi, saying it restricted her to a 500-calorie-a-day regimen complete with an “accountability coach” who administered penalties for lapses. Deuxmoi published damning text messages between the woman and her “accountability coach” that went viral, aided by the signal boost of influencer Emily Gellis, who took up the mantle and crowdsourced many other people’s troubling episodes with F-Factor and ALL IN. (These allegations have since been corroborated by a number of media outlets, including The New York Times.)
“I got a lot of the same messages she did, and she’s just taken it to the next level. But that’s not my job,” says Deuxmoi. “I try to remind everyone that my account is ‘for entertainment purposes only,’ and if something good comes out of it, great, but I’m not trying to crusade against anything.”
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It hasn’t been easy balancing a full-time job and her increasingly popular IG. Deuxmoi typically gets up around 8:30 a.m. to check her tips and feed; goes into the office from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; works the account from 6:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., with small breaks for dinner or Real Housewives; and goes to bed at 2:30 a.m.
“I’m exhausted right now,” she tells me. “It’s hard when people are constantly sending you information—especially information that’s relevant to the news. You want to post that stuff right away.”
And Deuxmoi is hoping all her posting will soon pay off.
“I’d love to monetize it due to all the hours I’ve poured into it for free,” she explains. “I’m working on a premium platform that will have more information for my followers, and merch, which people ask for all the time. But who knows? This might all go away tomorrow.”
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