Netflix’s ‘Inventing Anna’ follows the remarkable story of Anna Sorokin, aka Anna Delvey, a young New York City socialite who, it is discovered, is not the wealthy German heiress she claims to be. In fact, there is no sign of the $60 million trust fund she supposedly has, and the young socialite’s web of lies slowly begins to fall apart.
Even when Anna’s antics get her arrested, she remains relatively unknown until a dogged journalist from Manhattan magazine decides to chase down the story and uncover the truth. Against all odds, the journalist finally pieces together Anna’s bizarre tale, and the resulting article is one of the publication’s most widely read. The remarkable story of Anna Sorokin is heavily based on real-life events. So how about the magazine that first publishes the story? Is the Manhattan magazine from ‘Inventing Anna’ real? Let’s see!
Is Manhattan a Real News Magazine?
No, Manhattan magazine, as seen on ‘Inventing Anna,’ is a fictional publication. Though there are other real-life magazines named Manhattan, the one depicted on the Netflix miniseries is fictional. That said, the Manhattan Magazine seen on the show is loosely based on the very real biweekly publication New York Magazine, which covers culture, politics, style, and life. It was in New York Magazine that a detailed exposé of Anna Delvey was published in May 2018 and was soon after acquired by Netflix and showrunner Shonda Rhimes in order to bring the story to screen.
In fact, the journalist character of Vivian Kent (essayed by Anna Chlumsky) on the show is loosely based on the real journalist, Jessica Pressler, who wrote the article (titled ‘How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People‘) that the series is based on. Pressler wrote the article for the New York Magazine. Interestingly, another one of her articles, titled ‘The Hustlers at Scores,’ was also the basis of the 2019 movie ‘Hustlers.’ At the magazine, Pressler seemingly writes extensively on “the culture of wealth and money,” covering a wide gamut of subjects from Wall Street CEOs to intriguing characters like Anna Delvey.
Much as how Manhattan magazine is depicted in the series, its real-life inspiration, the New York Magazine, is a prestigious publication known for its memorable reporting. It was founded in 1968 by Milton Glaser and Clay Felker and slowly began covering issues of national and cultural importance. Of course, there is a particular emphasis on New York City in the magazine’s coverage.
Thus, the Manhattan magazine, as well as the journalist Vivian Kent who writes for the publication and brings in the Anna Delvey story, are loosely based on the New York Magazine and the real-life journalist Jessica Pressler, from whose article the series is inspired. The connection between the fictional and real publications is also subtly hinted at by the former (“Manhattan”) clearly a play on the latter (“New York”). If you look closely, you will also notice that on the series, the font used to depict the Manhattan magazine signage is very similar to the one used in New York’s corresponding signage.