Is Inventing Anna a true story and who are the real people behind the cast's characters?

Inventing Anna is the new Netflix drama series that we are all a little bit obsessed with, but is it really a true story?

Is Inventing Anna a true story
(Image credit: Netflix)

Inventing Anna is the new Netflix original series that looks at the infamous real-life story of Anna Delvey, a fake heiress who tricked New York's elite, but how honest is this true story?

Anna Delvey is the name on everyone's lips at the moment as the Netflix series about the fake German heiress has hit the number one spot on the streaming site within days of its release.

But how true is this true story? And who are the characters really based on? Here is everything you need to know about Inventing Anna...

Inventing Anna

(Image credit: Netflix)

Is Inventing Anna a true story?

Yes, Inventing Anna is based on a true story that originated from a New York magazine article titled, How Anna Delvey Tricked New York's Party People, by Jessica Pressler.

Netflix says of the show, "This whole story is completely true. Except for the parts that are completely made up,” so it can be hard to separate the fact from the fiction.

In the same way that Netflix's Maid is based on a true story but creative liberties are taken with the script, fundamentally Inventing Anna is based on the real-life story of Anna Sorokin. 

However, Shonda Rhimes did use her creative license in order to make the show, so not all the characters are representative of their real-life counterparts, and not all the events are wholly accurate.

The real people behind the Inventing Anna cast

Vivian Kent

Inventing Anna

(Image credit: Netflix )

Played by Anna Chlumsky, Vivian Kent is a reimagining of the real-life journalist, Jessica Pressler, who unveiled Anna Sorokin's fake heiress schemes and penned the public exposé about her exploitative behavior.

In real life, Jessica Pressler was pregnant for most of the time that she was writing the story that would ultimately expose Anna. This was accurately portrayed in the series, which also showed the journalist visiting Anna in jail to interview her while she was awaiting trial at Rikers Island. 

Jessica spoke to Vulture about her portrayal in the Netflix show, "The show is fictionalized, and the character is a guide to this universe. When I met Anna Chlumsky, she was like, 'I’m not doing you,' and I was like, 'Great!' Vivian is like an all-caps angry email of me, but there are things that are very real mixed into it."

The series also references a real-life incident that took place in 2014 and cost Jessica a job for Bloomberg News' investigative unit. Jessica penned a story about a Stuyvesant High School senior who had allegedly made $72 million trading stocks. The student later confessed that he had 'made the whole thing up.' This then led Jessica to attempt to redeem herself and publish the shocking article about Anna Sorokin conning the New York elite.

This isn't the first time that one of Jessica's stories has been adapted for the screen. The 2019 film Hustlers starring Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu was based on Jessica's article for New York called 'The Hustlers at Scores'. Jessica was also portrayed in this series as a fictionalized version of herself named 'Elizabeth' who was portrayed by Julia Stiles.

Kacy Duke

Inventing Anna

(Image credit: Netflix)

Laverne Cox plays Kacy Duke in Inventing Anna. Kacy Duke is a real-life celebrity trainer who has worked with stars such as Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis, and Julianne Moore. 

Kacy and Anna became friends after Anna hired her to become her personal trainer and life coach. Kacy was one of the select few invited on Anna's infamous Morocco trip, but reportedly the fitness guru was 'sick in bed' for the majority of the trip so was unaware of the amount of money that Rachel Williams was paying on the trip.

Kacy reportedly tried to give Anna an intervention at one point about the money she owed and also allegedly let Anna sleep on her couch for a while after she lost her friends and money.

In real life, Kacy was very happy with her portrayal in the series and thought the show was fantastic. "Oh my god, I just saw the first two episodes of the new Shonda Rhimes series Inventing Anna." said the trainer, "Laverne Cox played me, she nailed it!

Chase Sikorski

Inventing Anna

(Image credit: Netflix)

In the film, Chase Sikorski is played by Succession's Saamer Usmani. Chase Sikorski is based loosely on Anna's real-life boyfriend, but the name Chase and the character are made up.

In Jessica's article, Anna's boyfriend is referred to, but not by name. Jessica said in her original article for New York magazine, that he was a "futurist on the TED-Talks circuit who'd been profiled in The New Yorker."

Rumors have circulated about who her real-life boyfriend was based on, but nothing has been confirmed. The New York Post speculated that this real-life person could have been Ray Kurzweil, a 74-year-old inventor, and futurist, David Shing, a 52-year-old Australian marketing executive who held numerous senior positions at AOL, or Hunter Lee Soik, a 40-year-old Korean-American futurist. 

Val

Inventing Anna

(Image credit: Netflix)

James Cusati-Moyer plays Val, the fashion designer whose shows were attended by Anna at the beginning of the series. 

Val does not have a clear counterpart in Pressler's original article, so it is most likely that his character is a fictitious invention that was created as a plot device for the show. However, the general idea of Val as a character appears to be similar to some of the real people that Anna originally spent time with when she first arrived in New York. 

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.


Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.