What's actually fact and what's fiction in Inventing Anna?
Inventing Anna is Netflix's latest big hit, based on the real events surrounding fake heiress and convicted fraudster, Anna Delvey (real name: Anna Sorokin).
The series openly presents itself as a combination of fact and fiction, beginning each episode with the disclaimer: "This whole story is completely true. Except for all the parts that are totally made up," - which seems to be a reference to both Anna Delvey's string of lies, and the addition of fictional elements in the show.
While many of the events in the series are almost exactly true to life, it's hard to tell where reality and artistic license blur. So, which parts of Inventing Anna are fact, and which are fiction?
Fact: Anna's sentencing
Like Inventing Anna shows, the real Anna Delvey/Sorokin was really sentenced to four to 12 years in prison, and she was really found guilty of grand larceny and theft of services. As the show clarifies at the end, Anna was released from prison on 11th February 2021.
Semi-fact: Vivian Kent
While Vivian Kent (Anna Chlumsky) is a made-up name, the character is based on journalist Jessica Pressler. Real-life writer Pressler was responsible for first breaking Anna Delvey's story in an article for New York Magazine website The Cut, titled 'How Anna Delvey tricked New York's party people'.
Like the real Jessica Pressler, Inventing Anna shows Vivian Kent chasing Anna's story, while she works at the (very similarly-named) Manhattan Magazine.
Aside from the names, much of the details in Vivian's story are the same as Pressler's. Like Vivian, Pressler was pregnant while working on Anna's article, and she also visited Anna in jail at Rikers Island. What's more, Vivian's mission to redeem a career mistake in the series appears to be based on Pressler's own experience, after one of articles turned out to be a hoax and she lost a job offer from Bloomberg News.
Speaking about her character being in Inventing Anna, Pressler told Vulture, "It was not a thing I wanted, but I understand the impulse of why they wanted to do it." She also added that her real bosses at New York magazine are "quite the opposite" to Vivian's bosses in the show.
Semi-fact: Chase Sikorski
Much of Inventing Anna sees the titular conwoman navigating her relationship with boyfriend Chase Sikorski (played by Saamer Usmani). However, both Chase and his app Wake appear to be fictionalised, though the character does seem to be based on Anna's real boyfriend.
Jessica Pressler's original Anna Delvey/Sorokin article mentions a "boyfriend [Sorokin] was running around with for a while," though he is left unnamed. The article also calls Anna's boyfriend a "futurist on the TED-Talks circuit who’d been profiled in The New Yorker," with Vivian also agreeing to call Chase "the futurist" in her article in Inventing Anna.
Fact: Rachel DeLoache Williams
Anna's friend Rachel DeLoache Williams is real, and she really claims to have been left paying a $62,000 bill after the pair took their fateful trip to Morocco together (which really happened). However, like in the TV show, Anna was ultimately found not guilty of stealing from Williams.
We see Rachel writing her book about Anna in the series, with the real Williams telling her story in Vantiy Fair in 2018, later publishing her book My Friend Anna.
The real Rachel Williams has since come out to criticise the Netflix show, calling it a "dangerous distortion" of events.
"This show is playing a fine line – peddling it as a true story, but also [in the title sequence disclaimer] saying, 'except all the parts that aren't,'" Williams told the Vanity Fair newsletter, adding, "At what point is the half-truth more dangerous than the lie?"
Rachel Williams' involvement in the FBI's sting operation to arrest Anna is also true, while snippets of her court testimony in Inventing Anna are thought to be taken from the real-life trial.
Other facts and real characters from Inventing Anna
Much of Inventing Anna follows events that really happened: Anna really worked on starting the Anna Delvey Foundation, and she really wanted to house it at the Church Missions House shown in the series, according to the original New York Magazine article.
Even more scandalous, the series shows Anna stealing a private jet to take her to Warren Buffet's conference in Omaha. The New York Magazine article states that Anna did attend the conference, and that she flew via a jet arranged by company Blade (the same company named in Inventing Anna) - with the article mentioning a forged confirmation for a wire transfer, not shown in the series.
Other characters from Inventing Anna are also real, or based on real people. Celebrity trainer Kacy Duke was really friends with Anna and accompanied her to Morocco, while lawyer Todd Spodek really represented Anna in court. Meanwhile, Anna's finance lawyer Alan Reed is thought to be based on her real-life lawyer, Andy Lance.
Fictional events and characters from Inventing Anna
There are some elements of Inventing Anna which don't appear to be mentioned in Jessica Pressler's original New York Magazine article.
During the group's trip to Morocco, trainer Kacy Duke flies home after falling ill (which really happened), before Anna claims to have been mugged and asks Kacy to pay for her flight home. However, the mugging doesn't appear to mentioned in the original story.
The series also sees Vivian going to Germany to find Anna's parents, where she breaks into Anna's family home. The real Jessica Pressler says that she did go to Germany, however, she told Vulture that she "definitely did not try to break into anyone’s home".
Inventing Anna is on Netflix now.
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