Inventing Anna: The story of the real journalist who inspired Vivian Kent

Yes, she really did have a scandal that could have ended her career


Inventing Anna on Netflix is a dramatised version of the very much true story of Anna Sorokin, or Anna Delvey, who tricked the New York elite out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The drama tells the story from the prospective of Vivian Kent, a journalist who is desperate to crack the story, bag an interview with Anna and get the big scoop which could save he career – inventing not just Anna, but hopefully herself too.

In real life, the story of this journalist is very much part of the actual events that happened. The real reporter is Jessica Pressler, who wrote an article for New York Magazine about Anna Delvey. Here’s everything we know about the real life journalist who Vivian Kent in Inventing Anna is based on.

Jessica Pressler is the real life journalist whose true story inspired Vivian Kent in Inventing Anna on Netflix

via Netflix

In Inventing Anna, the journalist Vivian Kent is based on real life reporter Jessica Pressler

In Inventing Anna, Vivian Kent is played by Anna Chlumsky, works for Manhattan Magazine and is investigating the Anna Delvey case for a story. In real life, Jessica Pressler worked for New York Magazine and was pregnant at the time of the story, as is shown in the series. “She really was, like, nine months pregnant and gave birth seconds after writing the article, which I thought was amazing,” creator Shona Rhimes told the Hollywood Reporter.

One of the big things alluded to in the show is a scandal that happened before the Anna Delvey story, which has Vivian feeling as though she needs to rebuild her career and reputation as a journalist. This was the case in real life. In 2014, Jessica Pressler ran a story for New York Magazine about a high school student named Mohammad Islam. He claimed to have made $72million trading stocks, but it was all a lie. He gave an interview to the New York Observer saying he had made the entire story up, and he had falsified the bank statements sent to the New York Magazine.

New York Magazine issued an apology for the error. The original article now has an editor’s note header containing an apology to readers. “As part of the research process, the magazine sent a fact-checker to Stuyvesant, where Islam produced a document that appeared to be a Chase bank statement attesting to an eight-figure bank account,” the apology reads. “After the story’s publication, people questioned the $72million figure in the headline, which was written by editors based on the rumoured figure. The headline was amended. But in an interview with the New York Observer last night, Islam now says his entire story was made up. A source close to the Islam family told the Washington Post that the statements were falsified. 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.”

Jessica Pressler is the real life journalist whose true story inspired Vivian Kent in Inventing Anna on Netflix

Jessica (right) via Instagram @presslerj

In the show, it then says Vivian Kent had a job offer from Bloomberg taken back after the scandal, which also did happen to Jessica Pressler in real life. However, it wasn’t all a loss. Pressler stayed at New York Magazine and went on to have even more success. In 2015 she published a story called “The Hustlers at Scores”, which was nominated for a National Magazine Award, and was later made into a feature film called Hustlers in 2019. At the time of her Bloomberg offer being rescinded, the editor of New York Magazine said: “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.”

Now, Pressler still works at New York Magazine – as contributing editor. She published her exposé on Anna Delvey in 2018. Also during her career, Pressler has worked for Vulture – where she used to write recaps of Gossip Girl. She even once had a cameo appearance in the show! She has also worked for GQ, Elle and Esquire. She also worked as a producer for Inventing Anna with Netflix.

Inventing Anna is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

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