Anderson Cooper has a secret identity!
The CNN anchor, 54, revealed during an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers that he moonlighted as his mom Gloria Vanderbilt's personal assistant for years before she died.
Cooper, who was on the show promoting his book Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty, explained to Meyers that he set up an Instagram page for his mom a few years before she died so that she could sell her artwork.
"So, my mom died when she was 95, but like, around the time she was 91, she was getting a little depressed. A lot of her friends were dying. And she wasn't — she works as an artist as well, and she wasn't painting," he said. "So I thought, 'How am I going to get her motivated again?' So I introduced her to Instagram."
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Anderson Cooper and mother Gloria Vanderbilt
The Anderson Cooper 360 host said that while Gloria found the social media app to be like "magic," she needed help with her newfound customers' orders. Enter: Cooper's new alter-ego, a made-up personal assistant named Monica.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
"My mom was like, 'Well, you should invent a character. You can't do it as yourself, because you can't be like, 'Hi, I'm Anderson. What size frame do you want?' " Cooper said. "My mom took great pleasure in this, and she was like, '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."
"And that's what I did for three years," Cooper said, adding that even his most intense assignments wouldn't stop him from his side gig. "Literally, I'd be in Baghdad, and, you know, in between things, I'd be like, 'would you like a laminated white frame?' Yeah, as Monica."
The father of one added that customers would ask him what it was like working for "Ms. Vanderbilt?" to which he'd reply, "Oh, she's so lovely."