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Who Is Jessica Pressler, The Journalist Portrayed In 'Inventing Anna'?
This isn't the first time Pressler's journalistic work was adapted for the screen.
Jessica Pressler, the New York Magazine writer who chronicled the rise and fall of Anna Delvey, is portrayed in the upcoming Netflix series, ‘Inventing Anna.’
The acclaimed journalist, nominated for the National Magazine award in 2015, wrote a now infamous story called, “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People.” The article tells the story of Anna Delvey, whose real name is Anna Sorokin, and how she swindled and scammed her way into New York’s elite circles under the pretense of being an affluent German-born heiress. However, the real-life story revealed a fraudster in her 20s who would later be convicted of theft and fraud charges.
Netflix snapped up the rights to the article with Shonda Rhimes as creator and producer.
For the series, Pressler is described as a “journalist with a lot to prove” as she investigates the alleged crimes committed by Sorokin, according to the Netflix promotional material.
“Anna and the reporter form a dark, funny love-hate bond as Anna awaits trial, and our reporter fights the clock to answer the biggest question in NYC: who is Anna Delvey?”
According to her website, Jessica Pressler is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia and worked for Philadelphia magazine and Philadelphia Weekly. In 2005, she relocated to New York City and has since been featured in several editions of Columbia Journalism School’s anthologies of Best Business Writing.
But “Inventing Anna” isn’t the first onscreen adaptation based on her journalistic work.
In 2015, she wrote a piece for New York magazine called, “The Hustlers at Scores,” which chronicled the 2014 charges against four women accused of drugging men and making large purchases on their credit cards at NYC strip clubs. Her story laid the foundation for “Hustlers,” a 2019 film starring Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. Julia Stiles played a journalist based on Pressler.
This time, Netflix signed on Anna Chlumsky as Vivian Kent, who portrays the fictionalized version of Pressler in "Inventing Anna."
Netflix reported her Chlumsky's cast and said she would play “A reporter working to salvage her career with the just the right story, The Anna Delvey story is her golden ticket- she is willing to face any problem to get it. But as she works on the Anna story, there is one problem she never expected — Anna herself. The more Vivian pursues the truth about Anna, the more attached to Anna she becomes.”
While Pressler has promoted the upcoming series on her Twitter page, it appears the real-life Anna Sorokin won’t be part of the viewing audience. From an ICE detention center where she’s currently detained, Anna wrote an open letter denouncing the adaption, in which she is played by Julia Garner.
“While the world is pondering Julia Garner’s take on my accent in ‘Inventing Anna,’ a Netflix show about me, the real me sits in a cell in Orange County’s jail in upstate New York, in quarantine isolation,” she wrote. “For a long while, I was hoping that by the time ‘Inventing Anna’ came out, I would’ve moved on with my life. I imagined the show to be a conclusion of sorts summing up and closing of a long chapter that had come to an end.”
Sorokin added that there was “nothing about seeing a fictionalized version of myself in this criminal-insane-asylum setting” that appealed to her.
Jessica Pressler works as a staff writer for New York Magazine and lives in Queens. More of Pressler’s works can also be found in Elle, GQ, and Vanity Fair.
“Inventing Anna” is streaming now on Netflix.