Anderson Cooper is not afraid to go undercover. No, not for a story, but to help out his mom. The 54-year-old CNN host just revealed he spent three years pretending to be a woman on Instagram in order to help his late mother sell her artwork on the social media site.
On Monday night, Cooper appeared on Late Night With Seth Meyers where he told a sweet story about his mom, the socialite Gloria Vanderbilt. A few years ago, when Vanderbilt was getting a little depressed and restless, Cooper got Vanderbilt on Instagram and made her a specific account so she could sell her artwork. “Anderson would show me people’s accounts and it often seemed like a lot of pictures of plates of food,” Vanderbilt told W back in 2017 of her initial reaction to the app. “I mean, there is nothing wrong with loving your food, but it just didn’t grab me.
Along with that, he agreed to field her DMs and work with people interested in buying her artwork, not as Anderson Cooper, but as “Monica.”
“She was like, ‘Okay, why don’t we invent a lady of a certain age named Monica who’s a longtime trusted assistant and you be Monica and you answer all the DMs on Instagram to buy my artwork,’” Cooper explained. Well, Cooper was into the idea and agreed to participate. “That’s what I did for three years,” he said.
“Literally, I’d be in Baghdad, you know, in between things and I’d be like, ‘Would you like a laminated white frame?’ as Monica,” he said. “People would be like, ‘What’s it like working for Ms. Vanderbilt?’ I was like, ‘Oh, she’s so lovely.’”
The story is highly relatable—who hasn’t helped an older relative out with technology?—but it also begs the question, how many celebrities are going undercover and usually the shield of Instagram in order to interact with others as an everyday person? Are there other “Monicas” in our mist? And when, if ever, will they reveal themselves?