Anderson Cooper is a broadcast journalist, political commentator, and… an assistant named Monica?
Cooper’s late mother Gloria Vanderbilt was known for many things, including her one-of-a-kind artwork. Even at 93 years old her passion for the arts and all things aesthetic was a huge part of her life. That’s why her son thought it might be a good idea to introduce her to Instagram.
Though she was far from tech-savvy, Cooper was more than happy to create an account for her. And so Vanderbilt’s obsession with Instagram began.
She started out with just 10 followers, but that number quickly grew into the thousands once Cooper shared her account on his own Instagram. With her newfound following, she wanted to make sure that she always posted the best photos with the best captions, and she often looked to her son for advice. Very often, in fact, as Cooper explained when co-hosting “Live with Kelly and Ryan.”
With over 200,000 followers, Vanderbilt’s artwork continued to thrive all the way up to her passing in June 2019. Cooper has since gone on to celebrate his mom’s life and her work in Instagram posts and interviews. But it wasn’t until 2021 that he revealed a major secret the two of them had kept.
As her Instagram account blew up and the messages from followers interested in her work poured in, Vanderbilt quickly became overwhelmed. They both agreed that she needed an assistant, and Cooper happily offered to take on that role. But there was one problem: they felt that it was best if people didn’t know it was him.
“She was like, ‘OK, why don’t we invent a lady of a certain age named Monica and who’s a long time trusted assistant and you be Monica and you answer all the DMs on Instagram to buy my artwork,'” Cooper said. “And that’s what I did for three years.”
Cooper was able to maintain the persona of Monica the assistant without anyone guessing for a second that it was him, but having this secret job did lead to some interesting moments between live reports for CNN.
“Literally, I’d be in Baghdad, you know in between things I’d be like, ‘Would you like a laminated white frame?’ — as Monica,” he said.
He would also have loads of fun when clients asked him questions to get to know more about Vanderbilt, especially when they involved him spilling the tea on what it was like to be her assistant.
“People would be like, ‘What’s it like working for Ms. Vanderbilt?'” he said. “I was like, ‘Oh, she’s so lovely.'”
The cat’s out of the bag on Cooper having been Monica the assistant all along, but he’s not done telling the world how great of a person his mom was. A year after her passing, he fittingly made a post on Instagram where he once again let the world know just how lovely she was.
“She had an extraordinary and indomitable spirit, grit, determination, passion, and vulnerability. She experienced great love and horrific tragedies, but she never lost her almost childlike optimism; her openness to the world around her. She chose to remain vulnerable. Others would have closed off their hearts, protected themselves. My mom wanted to see and hear and feel everything,” he wrote, “and that is exactly what she did.”
Don’t forget to watch the video from “Live with Kelly and Ryan” below and share this story with a friend.
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