Gossiping With DeuxMoi, the Internet's Lady Whistledown

The woman behind social media's "Society Papers" dishes on being the keeper of Hollywood's secrets and names her Diamond of the Season.

DeuxMoi logo on an iphone
(Image credit: Brittany Holloway-Brown)

Dearest readers, the time has come for another season—of Bridgerton. In honor of the highly anticipated return of the Regency-era romp, we’re digging up all the sex, scandals, and secrets of the Netflix show. Sorry Lady Whistledown, Marie Claire’s “Bridgerton Week” is about to be the hottest read in town.

If there are two brands that have a stranglehold on anonymity they're Lady Whistledown and DeuxMoi. While the former operates in Regency-era London and the latter commands a more amorphous Internet audience, both delighting and scandalizing their respective tons, hiding behind the clever pen names and a trademark writing style. ("Dearest gentle reader" may as well be Bridgerton's version of "Anon pls.") 

But the similarities between the real DeuxMoi and the fictional Lady Whistledown (real name: Penelope Featherington) may end there. Unlike Lady W, who wishes to dismantle high society (or at least hold a mirror up to it) through her cutting words, DeuxMoi is not an insider with a vendetta against Hollywood's elite. DeuxMoi isn't even a journalist wannabe hoping to spin social media success into a top editor job at a celebrity rag. (Don't get it wrong, with a merch line, a podcast, and a book deal she is absolutely taking advantage of her status.) Instead, DeuxMoi considers herself somewhere between an Instagram content creator and message board moderator; someone who enjoys celebrity gossip at an arm's length with no interest in seeing A-listers cower in fear at being "spotted." 

Here, the woman behind DeuxMoi chats with Marie Claire (camera off, of course) about the ins-and-outs of running the account and why her brand of secret sharing is "anti-gossip gossip."

Warning: This interview contains mild spoilers for Bridgerton season 2.

Marie Claire: When you discovered Bridgerton, did you feel the premise related to what you're doing?

DeuxMoi: I was a huge fan of the show. I really enjoyed it. I didn't read the books. Season one aired while I was in the beginning of creating the Instagram account—it was December 2020 and I started in March 2020. I don’t think it clicked until the end when they revealed that Lady Whistledown is actually one of the people amongst them. Then I was like, Holy shit. This really parallels what I'm doing. And then the new Gossip Girl came out. I was like, Gossip is really in right now.

MC: You said you related to the fact that Penelope Featherington/Lady W was part of the people she gossiped about. So are you part of the Hollywood industry or media or PR? Are you an insider reporting on your peers? 

DeuxMoi: I wouldn't say I'm an insider. And I wouldn't say I'm an outsider. I would say I'm in between—which I've actually never said before. But the more I think about it, and the more I tally up my six degrees of separation, I would say I'm in between. I would say I've been around famous people.

MC: When you started the DeuxMoi account, did it come from a place of “I have access so why don't I do something with it?" Or like Penelope, was it driven by a desire to take down? 

DeuxMoi: No. Not at all. Any, I guess, "access" that I could or do have, I don't use. It started with posting crowd-sourced gossip. It didn't start with me approaching people who I personally know who might have an interesting story for me to tell and then reposting. It was literally just random stories.

It was born out of [needing] a distraction during COVID lockdowns. And that distraction just happened to be managing this account because it definitely was a 10-hour a day thing.

MC: As the account has gotten so successful, are you leveraging your access? Are you, for instance, eating at Carbone every at night, looking for famous patrons and then posting that yourself?

DeuxMoi: I have never reported anything that I witnessed or knew myself. I have never contributed to the conversation about a certain celebrity with my own knowledge.

It's definitely more authentic to who the brand is to not do that. It doesn't even cross my mind. I totally remove myself from the equation, to be honest. It's like a very weird out-of-body thing…. [If I did report stuff I saw,] I would either have to plant it in an email or DM myself and I don't do those things.

MC: Were there any instances regarding how Lady Whistledown handled a situation when you thought, I would have used that tip in such a different manner?

DeuxMoi: I actually thought the way she handled everything was perfect. Now, if you ask me that question about Gossip Girl, I would have a different answer. But Lady Whistledown... Maybe, it's the time period. Maybe, it's Julie Andrews's narration. But I feel like she does it in a classy way. She was so stealth. I was shocked [when she was revealed]. … She's reporting on the people she's mingling with. There are high, high stakes when you're doing that. 

Penelope (nicola coughlan) writing at a desk in a scene from Bridgerton season 2

Penelope Featherington pens another Lady Whistledown missive in Bridgerton season 2. 

(Image credit: Netflix)

MC: There's been plenty of press for DeuxMoi. Similarly, Gossip Girl and Bridgerton can make being a gossip columnist seem glamorous or exciting. Are there hardships of being the keeper of all of Hollywood's secrets?

DeuxMoi: I was a little bit agoraphobic in the beginning. I did have a little bit of paranoia because I was like, Is this legal, the things that I'm posting? I would say that was like a huge downside. Because of that, my friend circle has become a lot smaller. I'm much more private now.

MC: Do your friends know that you have this account?

DeuxMoi: Some friends know. Some friends don't. Some people, I don't trust. So I don't really wanna be around them or want them in my life. Or even colleagues [I don’t want them to know], which is why I started using a voice distorter. 

So it's not necessarily knowing the information that's a burden; it's not necessarily  the subject matter. It's just being the person who hears all the information that has made me paranoid. 

MC: For the friends who do know, was it because you chose to tell them or were you discovered?

DeuxMoi: They knew because [I told them.] I need someone to talk about this shit too. Or else I'll literally combust.

MC: Do they ever ask you to reveal blind items? What is your code of ethics as a  keeper of secrets?

DeuxMoi: A lot of my close friends and other family members are not that into pop culture gossip. I'll have a friend every once in a while text me and ask, "Who's this blind item about?" And I'll tell them.

MC: Were they shocked when they found out that you are DeuxMoi? 

DeuxMoi: No, because they knew from the beginning. They had to [be told] because I was spending so much time on Instagram. After a while I was treating it as a job. There were certain things I had to do on the backend that were time consuming. I was filing posts. I was transferring information. You can't really hide that from your immediate family and friends.

MC: Does it ever just like weigh on you if you hear, for instance, a cheating rumor? Or do you compartmentalize it all as just gossip?

DeuxMoi: If it's something about cheating or breakups or dating or pregnancy rumors or casting rumors or music release date rumors, I really don't think about it too much. The more serious topics, there are some things that I've heard that have definitely weighed on me. Mainly, it's stuff I haven't posted. One of the things I'll say—because it's come out since—is the fight between Yolanda Hadid and Zayn Malik. Someone had told me about that before [it came out], and I obviously would never post about it. But I was like, "That sounds terrible. And it's so sad for the family." 

MC: Do you ever send those types of tips directly to the celebrities they are about?

DeuxMoi: I have sent information to celebrities. Yes. It doesn't happen often, but it has happened. 

MC: When you have shared it with the celebrity, do you tend to get a response? A thank you?

DeuxMoi: Yes, always. 

MC: In season 2 of Bridgerton, there is an arc examining, What does it mean for Penelope Featherington to be profiting off of the secrets of her friends and her family? She grapples with the morality of that. Is that something that you have also had to deal with? Have family or friends criticized you for choosing to do this?

DeuxMoi: Well I didn't choose it. It was something that, honestly, was an opportunity. It was something that happened, the popularity of the account, by accident. I didn't really plan for it to happen. Do I grapple with it? No. I work really hard at managing the account. 

My mom really didn't agree with it. She is on Instagram, but I blocked her. So she doesn't have to have an opinion. But this was back in the beginning. The content, I think, has, as the account has grown, changed because I did realize that as the audience grew I did have a responsibility to not post about certain things.

MC: Is there an editorial process that you consider before posting something? Lady Whistledown is witnessing events or being told news personally so she knows the veracity of it. In your case, is it a gut feeling? Do you have a person you consult in the industry? 

DeuxMoi: All those things. If I hear the same thing over and over, I tend to think, A lot of people know about this. There's a possibility it could be true. There are definitely people I go to, specifically for certain celebrities, that I ask their opinion about what they've heard.

At the end of the day, it's all hearsay. And I say this all the time: Nothing I post is ever a confirmation until it's confirmed by the celebrity themselves. So as much as I could say I have a process or detail my process, it's never going to be foolproof. On the other end of that: Is everything we read in legitimate news outlets the truth? Just because I'm honest about how I get my information—I'm honest about how reliable my sources are—I'm scrutinized…Why am I so put under the microscope? Look at all these other publications that post things that are bullshit…

At the end of the day, I don't talk to publicists. So maybe, that's the one factor that's removed. But publicists don't always tell the truth anyway.

MC: Do you consult a lawyer before posting tips?

DeuxMoi: I do not consult a lawyer. There's definitely a process I use. I'm not really gonna go through it because some of it I have to keep private—how I figure out what's bullshit versus what could potentially be true… There are some people that plant shit and try to get me to post it to discredit me. But there are also fans of the people they're posting about that really believe if I post something, it's going to come true. It's hilarious to me.

And even if I don't post [something], I always try to bank it in my brain because nine times out of 10 it will come up three months later. A lot of times, if I think something might not be true but it's written in an entertaining way and it's pretty harmless, I'll post it. There is an element of my account that is supposed to be entertaining. I think some people take it a little too seriously.

MC: Lady Whistledown is trying to be critical of high society—delivering gossip as a way to tear it down. Is that your thought process?

DeuxMoi: I'm making fun of gossip, in a way, by posting things that you wouldn't consider gossip, like a celeb's coffee order or what they order at Sweetgreen. Or all the tipping posts. That is the stuff that interests me more than any of the other salacious things.

It's almost like the anti-gossip gossip. That part of my account was always supposed to be a little bit satirical. Making fun of the people that take gossip so seriously. Some people get it. Some people don't. Gossip doesn't have to be...it could just be fun. It could be entertaining. It could be useful. People wanted to know what Timothée Chalamet's Starbucks order is so they could go to Starbucks and order it themselves. All the other stuff I was posting—the divorces and the breakups and the get-togethers—was because I knew the audience was dying over that stuff.

MC: Penelope has to go through a lot to hide her identity. What kind of maneuvering do you have to do to protect yours?

DeuxMoi: When I'm at work and something's going on that I have to post, there's definitely a lot of ducking and a lot of hiding. Making excuses to leave the room to check Instagram or post… I turn my phone over a lot, if I'm in the presence of people that don't know, [so they can’t see push notifications]. 

Genevieve and Penelope Featherington in Bridgerton seaosn 2

Genevieve (Kathryn Drysdale) and Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) conspire to keep Lady Whistledown's identity a secret in Bridgerton season 2

(Image credit: Netflix)

MC: Let’s go back to the agoraphobia you mentioned. Was that because of the potential legal ramifications?

DeuxMoi: I started becoming so paranoid. I was wondering, What if a celebrity gets mad about something I post and hires a hitman? I would come up with all these scenarios. I was wondering, What if I get murdered? Not to be so grim but I was in my apartment and everyone was locked down. The stress of COVID and not knowing what that was all about, plus this. I was not in a good mental head space during that time at all….You never know. Hollywood's a scary place.

MC: Has anyone ever figured out your identity and threatened to reveal it?

DeuxMoi: They haven't. And any celebrity or publicist or anyone in the industry who has messaged me has been like super, super nice, except for one. One celebrity was really pissed about something that I posted about them.

MC: Can you tell us who?

DeuxMoi: No. (Laughs)

MC: Has it ever gotten to the point of someone DM'ing you death threats?

DeuxMoi: Death threats from crazy fans. The only thing I could do is block them on Instagram. People won't even send it through Instagram. People will send it through email. It's very jarring to read something like that—aggression towards you for just having an Instagram account.

MC: Have you gotten a lot of cease and desists or legal action against you?

DeuxMoi: No. I haven't… If a celebrity doesn't like something that is posted about them, they could just message me or they could have their assistant message me. And I'll take it down…I oblige. I'm not gonna be a jerk about it.

MC: Have you ever considered shutting it down?

DeuxMoi: In the beginning, I thought about it every day. When it was very overwhelming and I didn't know how to manage it. And people weren't nice about it…And I've always said, my account's almost like a message board. And I'm just the proctor for it. So there were times in the beginning when it was really hard being that in-between person and having to manage all the DMs and all the backlash and all the hate.

MC: Have you ever considered revealing your identity?

DeuxMoi: No, because I don't really think that it's important. I don't see any added value into revealing my identity. …maybe, 20 years from now. (Laughs) If somebody wants to know, maybe, then.

MC: Have you ever used your account for your own personal gain?

Deuxmoi: Any perks that come along with the account, I've not been able to take advantage of because I want to keep my anonymity. Like I was offered a ticket to the Super Bowl. Carbone is always like, "Anytime you need a reservation!” I’m offered tickets to concerts. I haven't accepted one nor will I. I have no desire to be famous or be a celebrity. My life is exactly the same.

MC: Let’s have you step into Lady Whistledown’s shoes. Who would be your pop culture Diamond of 2022?

DeuxMoi: Maude Apatow. 

MC: Lady Whistledown's most famous fan is the Queen. Who is your most famous reader? 

DeuxMoi: I don't like to say who looks at my account—that's one thing I'll protect…just in case they don't want people to know they're peeping. But there are some big ones; their real accounts [too]. Of course there are Finstas that I don't know about.

MC: What about the most famous person who follows you, since that's public?

DeuxMoi: Cardi B. I'm a huge Cardi B fan. That one was definitely like, "Oh my god." 

MC: Who is the Daphne and Simon of 2022?

DeuxMoi: I love this couple; they've been a little low-key lately: Austin Butler and Kaia Gerber. I hear he's a gem. I don't really know that much about her. I think she's kind of quiet and shy. I just love them together for some reason.

MC: What's the biggest scandal?

DeuxMoi: Anna Delvey. Inventing Anna, [I’m] obsessed… [Also] The Tinder Swindler;  Super Pumped about the CEO of Uber; The Dropout. All those people fucking fascinate the shit out of me. To me, they're way more fascinating than any celebrity. They're all hustlers, you know?

MC: The hottest ticket of the season?

DeuxMoi: Maybe an invite on Jeff Bezos's yacht. I didn't realize how much famous people co-mingle with these billionaires. That's who [celebs] want to hang out with. They don't wanna hang out with other fucking celebrities.

MC: You just announced that you're writing a book. What can you tell us about it?

DeuxMoi: The book was heavily inspired by my real experiences starting Deuxmoi. I can’t share any details yet, but readers can pick up the book in November to guess what might be true and what is purely fiction.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

Entertainment Director

Neha Prakash is Marie Claire's Entertainment Director, where she edits, writes, and ideates culture and current event features with a focus on elevating diverse voices and stories in film and television. She steers and books the brand's print and digital covers as well as oversees the talent and production on MC's video franchises like "How Well Do You Know Your Co-Star?" and flagship events, including the Power Play summit. Since joining the team in early 2020, she's produced entertainment packages about buzzy television shows and films, helped oversee culture SEO content, commissioned op-eds from notable writers, and penned widely-shared celebrity profiles and interviews. She also assists with social coverage around major red carpet events, having conducted celebrity interviews at the Met Gala, Oscars, and Golden Globes. Prior to Marie Claire, she held editor roles at Brides, Glamour, Mashable, and Condé Nast, where she launched the Social News Desk. Her pop culture, breaking news, and fashion coverage has appeared on Vanity Fair, GQ, Allure, Teen Vogue, and Architectural Digest. She earned a masters degree from the Columbia School of Journalism in 2012 and a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Pennsylvania State University in 2010. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and dog, Ghost; she loves matcha lattes, Bollywood movies, and has many hot takes about TV reboots. Follow her on Instagram @nehapk.