Inventing Anna: Is Vivian Kent a real person?

Inventing Anna. Anna Chlumsky as Vivian Kent in episode 103 of Inventing Anna. Cr. David Giesbrecht/Netflix © 2021
Inventing Anna. Anna Chlumsky as Vivian Kent in episode 103 of Inventing Anna. Cr. David Giesbrecht/Netflix © 2021 /
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The best Netflix show of 2022 so far is almost out! Inventing Anna, created and produced by Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Bridgerton), hits the streamer on Friday, and viewers are in for a real treat with this one. The show tells the real-life story of con artist Anna Delvey (real name Anna Sorokin), a twentysomething who travels to New York City and convinces the elite that she’s a German heiress looking to start an exclusive foundation.

Anna is played by the wonderful Julia Garner (Ozark), who does a fantastic job bringing the infamous woman to life. And apart from Anna, there are several real-life people depicted in Inventing Anna, such as her friend-turned-foe Rachel Williams (Katie Lowes) and her lawyer Todd Spodek (Arian Moayed).

Though the show is very much about Anna, it’s from the point of view of journalist Vivian Kent. After an article she published was proved to be inaccurate, Vivian is shamed in the media world and is eager to find a big story that’ll earn her respect once again. When she learns about Anna’s case, she’s immediately drawn to her. Given a quick Google search for her name doesn’t lead to relevant results, many watching might be wondering if Vivian is a real-life person, too.

Who is Vivian based on in Inventing Anna?

Unlike most of the main characters, Vivian Kent isn’t actually a real person. However, she is based on someone real. The character is based on journalist Jessica Pressler, who, like Vivian, wrote the big story about Anna in 2018. The real-life article published on The Cut, which you can check out here, is titled “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People.” Soon after the article was published, Netflix and Shondaland acquired the rights to turn it into Inventing Anna.

Jessica Pressler
PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 03: Jessica Pressler attends the Talking Pictures Screening of “Hustlers” during the 31st Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival on January 03, 2020 in Palm Springs, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for Palm Springs International Film Festival ) /

And just like Vivian in Inventing Anna, Pressler did write an article in 2014 about a high schooler who claimed to have made $72 million by trading stocks, which was later revealed to be a lie. At the time, Bloomberg News had offered a job to Pressler, but they rescinded it amid the scandal.

Pressler is also well-known for writing the 2015 article the film Hustlers (2019) is based on, titled “The Hustlers at Scores.” The movie is directed by Lorene Scafaria and stars big names like Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Lizzo, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer and Cardi B.

Though Vivian Kent is a fictionalized version of Jessica Pressler, a lot of her story is very true.

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Inventing Anna comes out on Netflix this Friday, February 11 at 12:00 a.m. PT / 3:00 a.m. ET.