My friend and I were ready to dig into plates of spicy rigatoni at Carbone, New York City’s storied celebrity-spotting hangout. We had just finished our first round of drinks when a table full of A-listers sat down next to us. I froze.

I’d traded secrets via DM with one of these stars just the other week, and I noted that a very famous person at their table was visibly pregnant but clearly didn’t want the public to know. And now here we all were, inches away from each other. I bent my head low, praying they wouldn’t look over. Did they know that I am DeuxMoi, one of the biggest celebrity gossip sources on the internet? Because if so, things were about to get really uncomfortable.

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I could quite literally feel my adrenaline pumping through every vein as I thought about my worst-case scenario: I’d get doxxed right here in the middle of the trendiest restaurant in Manhattan, and word would spread everywhere online within seconds. My friend, one of the very few who knows my real identity, rolled her eyes.

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When DeuxMoi first gained Instagram traction in March 2020, right at the start of the pandemic, I knew I wanted to stay anonymous (anon, pls) because I still had a day job. I was already fucking off a bunch at work, taking bathroom breaks every 20 minutes to post the most recent juicy tip. Colleagues would walk by and I’d block my phone with the nearest inanimate object at my desk. (Thank you, Post-it Notes, for taking me from 35,000 followers to nearly 2 million.) At the time, my biggest fear was getting fired.

But *movie trailer voice* in a world where powerful Hollywood elites and obsessed Law & Order: SVU fans want my head on a spike, there’s no way I can ever reveal my name. On one level, I get that that’s rich coming from someone who exposes details of people’s private lives, even if those people are public figures. But personal safety is my primary concern—the internet, and especially Instagram, can be a really scary place.

Just this morning when I checked my DMs, two messages were waiting for me from disgruntled fans (not fans of mine, if you can’t tell): “Fuckin liar cunt” and “Hi, I hope you die.” Those were followed by a nastygram from someone who was pissed that I mentioned Christian Bale’s recent jury duty appearance. Apparently, civic duty is “political” and triggering around these parts.

I constantly wonder if the people I do trust with my truth will betray me.

Slogging through nine hours straight—I looked up my daily screen time for this story and...yikes—of constant DMs, the occasional death threats, delusional fan theories, and actually credible tips for three years takes a serious toll. My nights can be sleepless, loaded with anxiety over becoming financially ruined by a scorned superstar or being caught between warring factions of the same fan base (Swifties, I’m sorry, but again, I don’t know when our girl is dropping new re-records). It’s emotionally and physically draining work, and I have the cystic stress acne to prove it.

During the peak of my paranoia, I would rush from my Uber with my head down, not stopping until the elevator doors in my building closed and I knew I was alone. Because, yes, the goal is to remain alive, but I’m also constantly waiting for the inevitable “you’ve been served” line. One star’s team tried to blame me when his scandal made front-page news. Situations like this are the reason for the disclaimer in my bio: Every blind item I post is hearsay.

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But my bleakest moments running this account are not actually the horrifying personal messages, the legal risks, or the wild-goose chase that is discerning whether a tip is true or false. It’s the strain on my social life. Being anon is crucial, but I constantly wonder if the people I do trust with my truth will betray me. I got into a screaming match with my dad because he decided to tell a casual acquaintance about my “fun side project.” (He gets it now, but damn.) And I had to cut off a lifelong bestie because she kept letting important identifying info slip in random conversations. Our group has tried to amend the fallout, but I’m still reeling from how careless she was. Oh, and you won’t see me at Carbone again—or any other restaurant either, probably. I rarely go out to my favorite spots anymore, preferring to stay home instead.

In the end, is being a modern-day Gossip Girl worth it? Sometimes I wish I could go back to having a lower-key celebrity obsession, like everyone else for whom the lives of stars don’t impact their own. But I still get high highs from feeding my hungry DeuxMoi community, and I do revel in the fact that everyone knows me...even though they don’t. The thrill of my double life and once-in-a-blue-moon high-stakes scandal is addictive, and my loyal followers keep me coming back. Also, the business opportunities. Is this the place I should plug my new book? You know you love me. XOXO.

Anon Pls.: A Novel by DeuxMoi

Anon Pls.: A Novel by DeuxMoi

Anon Pls.: A Novel by DeuxMoi

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A self-proclaimed “curator of pop culture,” DeuxMoi is an anonymous source for all sorts of celebrity news and gossip. Her new book, Anon Pls., is available now.

Rachel Sylvester

Rachel is the acting Lifestyle Director at Cosmopolitan. She specializes in lifestyle, travel, weddings, and career content, and her writing has appeared in Marie Claire, REAL SIMPLE, The Knot, and more. Follow her on Instagram.