We can’t seem to stop thinking about Elizabeth Holmes, the infamous founder of Theranos, who went from self-made billionaire to legendary scammer very quickly. What kind of person claims to be revolutionizing health care with new technology, while allegedly secretly knowing that technology doesn’t even exist? As it turns out, someone who is very charismatic, and very unique. Here are all the surprising facts about Elizabeth Holmes that we now know.
You’ve likely heard this one before — Holmes intentionally lowered her voice. Videos of Holmes slipping in and out of her fake voice sometimes surface and then mysteriously disappear, but former employees of Theranos said on the podcast The Dropout that she was heard slipping into a higher pitch at a company holiday party, perhaps after drinking.
She Claimed Her Dog Was A Wolf
Holmes had a husky named Balto, and she told people he was a wolf. Balto also apparently had a habit of urinating and defecating around the Theranos office. Not cute!
Her Dad Worked At Enron
According to The Dropout, Holmes’s father was briefly employed by Enron, the energy company that collapsed after a huge accounting fraud scandal.
Glassdoor Reviews Of Theranos Described Gaslighting And Compared It To A Cult
Over 100 reviews of Theranos remain on Glassdoor, and many describe the workplace as toxic. One review from an employee who worked there over six years begins, “The first day on the job you start to become a victim of gaslighting.” Other reviews accused Holmes of being immature and acting like a child.
She Was Obsessed With Steve Jobs; She Poached His Employees And Emulated His Style
It’s been widely reported that Elizabeth Holmes copied Steve Jobs’ signature look, wearing black turtlenecks as a uniform. Holmes told Glamour that this turtleneck habit came from her mom, but product designer Ana Arriola, who helped design the iPhone before being lured to Theranos by Holmes, claims on The Drop Out that Holmes dressed in frumpy sweaters before Arriola mentioned that Jobs consistently wore black turtlenecks made by Issey Miyake. Soon, Holmes adopted the Miyake black turtleneck as well.
She Lied About Weird, Trivial Things
Justin Maxwell, another Theranos employee who had previously worked at Apple, explained on The Dropout that he started becoming suspicious of Holmes when he saw people he trusted and respected leaving the company abruptly, but also when she reportedly lied to him about trivial things. He described receiving an email from her saying that she would deal with something when she was back in the office the next day, but he could see that she was still in the office, not far from him. When he confronted her about it, she became angry.
Maxwell also described a bizarre incident after his resignation, where he ran into Holmes at a CVS. Maxwell was covered in blood, having just been hit by a car, and she made small talk with him about Theranos without acknowledging that he had clearly just been injured.
Clever branding is part of what helped get Theranos investors on board like Henry Kissinger, Betsy DeVos, and Rupert Murdoch.
She Reportedly Spent Every Waking Hour At The Office
Before Theranos was widely recognized as a fraud, lots of news organizations wrote about Holmes as a “self made billionaire” (sound familiar?), with CBS News reporting that she spent every waking hour at the office, and didn’t own a TV at home.
She Had A Secret Workplace Romance
Holmes hid from investors that she was romantically involved with Therano’s COO, Sunny Balwani. When things went sour at Theranos, they went separate ways, but are both in significant legal trouble.