Throughout the series, fans learn about Vivian’s obsession with Anna’s story. The pregnant Vivian (played by Anna Chlumsky) is literally obsessed with pursuing Anna’s story, writing the article until her breaks.
Her obsession isn’t entirely because Anna’s story is riveting, it’s also because she’s trying to save her career after publishing a story about a kid named Donovan Lamb, which went viral for all the wrong reasons that you can imagine.
But who is the Real Donovan Lamb?
Turns out, just like Vivian’s character is based on the journalist who wrote about Sorokin, Jessica Pressler, the Donovan Lamb arc also illustrates Pressler’s real life.
While Vivian was working on an article about reasons to love New York City, she included Donovan Lamb’s story, making millions as a high school senior.
However, after the story came out, Donovan retracted his account. He told the media that Vivian forced him to lie and that she’s a bad journalist. This resulted in her losing her Bloomberg job, and Paul, her former editor and dear friend, accused her for the fact-checking error and washed his hands clean of it.
Later in the series, Vivian’s past comes back to haunt her when Donovan gives an interview for a show on bad journalism.
Donovan Lamb – The real story behind the Inventing Anna Character
In Netflix’s Inventing Anna series, the exploits of the fake German heiress turned con artist, Anna Delvey (Anna Sorokin), fact and fiction have a way of blending together.
Every episode of the series begins with a coy disclaimer: “This whole story is completely true. Except for all the parts that are totally made up.”
And, not gonna lie, some elements of the show did seem invented and straight up exaggerated. Be it the realities of Scriberia or the VIP treatment at Rikers.
Much of the series Inventing Anna is true to Sorokin’s story. In reality, she was Russian-born, German-raised, and swindled banks, hotels, and other acquaintances to live a jet-setting lifestyle. However, this only continued for so long before she was arrested in 2017.
The journalist Jessica Pressler’s original 2018 story for New York magazine, “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People,” mentioned many of these real-life figures by name.
Others, however, were not named, an arrangement that is explained in Inventing Anna as a way of Pressler. Thus, bartering for additional access and sourcing assistance.
Some of these figures are portrayed in Inventing Anna. Others appear on-screen for the first time, with the series focusing on Chlumsky’s Kent.
Donovan Lamb, the high school student who duped Kent
How it goes down in Inventing Anna:
In the series Inventing Anna, we learn that a high school student named Donovan Lamb tricked Kent into publishing a piece about nonexistent millions in the stock market.
Kent says that she’s had a feeling something was off with Donovan’s account, and so, she asked her editor to check it out.
The editor didn’t fact-check and published the story as it is and then later blamed it all on Kent.
How it really happened:
In December 2014, Pressler wrote a dicey story in New York about the blockbuster stock market success of Mohammed Islam, a senior at Stuyvesant High School and a member of the school’s investment club.
Over a $400 snack of apple juice and caviar, Pressler reported:
“Mo got into trading oil and gold, and his bank account grew. Though he is shy about the $72 million number, he confirmed his net worth is in the “high eight figures.”
More than enough to rent an apartment in Manhattan—though his parents won’t let him live in it until he turns 18—and acquire a BMW, which he can’t drive because he doesn’t yet have a license.
Thus, it falls to his father to drive him past Tudor Jones’s Greenwich house for inspiration. “It’s because he is who he is that made me who I am today,” Mo said.
New York issued an apology: “We were duped,” it read in part.
Shortly thereafter, Bloomberg News rescinded a job offer to Pressler to join its investigative unit.
A LinkedIn page under Islam’s name that lists attendance at Stuyvesant High from 2011 to 2015 and involvement in the Stuyvesant Investment Club says, “Islam currently works at Saphka LLC, an Albany-registered corporation with little other publicly discernible information.”