Originating as a fashion blog in 2013, the @DeuxMoi account as we know it today, a mecca of celebrity gossip, first gained traction at the beginning of the pandemic, after the admin posted a request for “celebrity stories (first or second hand) you are willing to share” to her then 45.000 followers. From these beginnings, initially posting a screenshot of a direct message she received about Leonardo DiCaprio’s sex life, the account turned into a real life Gossip Girl, with people sending in anonymous and cryptic ‘blind items’ about celebrities’ lives, places and pictures where they spotted celebrities, which turned into a weekly ‘Sunday Spotted’ segment featuring hundreds of DMs of sightings throughout the previous week, all over the globe.
Safe to say DeuxMoi seems to be taking over the world of gossip, with her follower count currently standing at 1.6M, marking an exponential growth in popularity over the two years since its inception. Interestingly, while the account is based on interactivity with its audience providing stories and gossip, many celebrities also follow the account, ranging from the likes of Bella and Gigi Hadid to Whoopi Goldberg. The rapid growth of DeuxMoi indicates a societal obsession with gossip, but what hides behind this phenomenon?
At the centre of the phenomenon stands the omnipresence of eyes and ears cultivated by the account’s large following, creating an Orwellian panopticon of surveillance around public figures. Aided by the development of technology and social media, gossip no longer relies on the paparazzi nor the tabloids, but is rather thrown into the court of the public who provide the information through the platform of the account. In fact, tabloids are further reduced to relying on the public for their information, using the vehicle of DeuxMoi as their source material. For instance, the Daily Mail has cited DeuxMoi on multiple occasions as its source for various scoops, notably in its reporting on Dua Lipa and Anwar Hadid’s breakup citing a blind item from the account.
However, with the ubiquity of eyes comes the ethical question of whether the act of photographing a celebrity in public is an invasion of privacy. Many celebrities themselves oppose pictures being taken by the public without their consent. This has even inspired a popular catchphrase on DeuxMoi, the ‘Chris Noth Trigger Warning,’ which the admin uses when posting a picture taken without the celebrity’s permission, following the posting of an unflattering picture of the Sex and the City actor that the latter was not fond of.
Taken from the perspective of these public figures at the mercy of the public eye, the quasi-permanent threat of someone observing you, à la Big Brother, appears to be a flagrant invasion of privacy. While the admin of DeuxMoi upholds that she steers clear of posting anything litigious or regarding serious allegations, clearly setting her boundaries, the question remains: should these public figures make peace with the fact that they have relinquished their privacy through their career and lifestyle choice, even when it comes to their everyday life?
While celebrities’ personal lives are unfolded publicly on the social media account, the popularity of DeuxMoi conversely seems to be the anonymity she accords her sources. With ‘Anon Pls’ as a slogan which acts as a refrain through most of the messages she reposts while also being the title of the admin’s fiction book set to be released later this year, anonymity is crucial to her receiving information due to the prevalence of Non-Disclosure Agreements in the entertainment industry. Anonymity is crucial to the admin herself, as followers only knows very basic facts about her, such as her gender, that she lives in New York City and has a job in the fashion industry. Although many speculate about her identity, the most famous of which being Hailey Bieber, the admin still remains shrouded in mystery.
The point of this anonymity is crucial to the phenomenon of gossip: as a follower of the account, you do not follow a singular persona, but rather many personalities. Indeed, DeuxMoi as a persona represents more than one person, she symbolises the multiplicity of voices constituting the hundreds of stories, sightings and rumours she receives and posts. With this presentation of gossip at the forefront of the account, personality is relegated to the relatively unimportant background due to the emphasis on anonymity.
This effect is fascinating in the context of our culture which is obsessed with self-image and the curation of its presentation on social media. While we all seem to have garnered an individuality complex in our daily lives, DeuxMoi and her followers hide behind anonymity and the publicity of celebrity. DeuxMoi hence proves to be a fascinating phenomenon in the effect of gossip on social media: if we constantly seek individuality by showcasing carefully chosen images of ourselves, why are we so captivated by others’ lives in such an insular culture?