Inventing Anna is the show that everyone is talking about right now. The series follows a journalist, Vivian Kent, as she looks into the fascinating story of Anna Delvey, a supposed German heiress accused of scamming New York City’s high society out of tens of thousands of dollars.
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While people are unsurprisingly fascinated by Anna - what about the journalist uncovering the story? Vivian Kent has her own fair share of mystery. In the series, she is determined to write Anna’s story after a disastrous article leaves her career in tatters - so who is Vivian based on, and is the article backlash based on a true story? Get the details here…
WATCH: Have you seen Inventing Anna yet?
Vivian Kent is based on Jessica Pressler, a journalist who wrote the hit Anna Delvey article for The Cut, Maybe She Had So Much Money She Just Lost Track of It. Like Vivian, Jessica spent months speaking to Anna in prison alongside several of her contacts, and the Netflix series is based on her feature.
Jessica is also known for writing an article for New York called The Hustlers at Scores, which became the inspiration behind the Jennifer Lopez film Hustlers - and like Vivian, she also came under fire for writing an article about a teenage boy who had made tens of millions of dollars in trading stocks, which proved to be untrue after the subject of the piece admitted to making it up. Like in the Netflix show, this revelation led to Jessica’s job offer at Bloomberg being rescinded as a result of the story.
Vivian is based on Jessica Pressler
At the time, the New York editor in chief shared a memo which read: "Can't say that we expected things to turn out this way, but we feel very lucky to be keeping her on, and look forward to publishing more of her with pride." They also released a statement following the news that the story was a hoax, writing: "We were duped. Our fact-checking process was obviously inadequate; we take full responsibility and we should have known better. New York apologises to our readers."
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While the teen in Inventing Anna is called Donovan Lamb, the real person behind the hoax was Stuyvesant High senior Mohammed Islam, who spoke to the Observer about the news story. Speaking about his parent’s reaction, he said: "Honestly, my dad wanted to disown me.
There is a true story behind the hoax article
"My mom basically said she’d never talk to me. Their morals are that if I lie about it and don’t own up to it then they can no longer trust me… They knew it was false and they basically wanted to kill me and I haven’t spoken to them since… I am incredibly sorry for any misjudgment and any hurt I caused."
The additional information in the series that Vivian’s boss, Paul, was the one who allowed the article to be published without fact-checking it, and ignoring her concerns that something didn’t feel right about the story, are not on public record, and are likely to be fictionalised for dramatic effect in the show.
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