SIX-TIME EMMY-NOMINATED ACTRESS ANNA CHLUMSKY TAKES ON HER DREAM ROLE AS A JOURNALIST IN THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED NETFLIX LIMITED SERIES INVENTING ANNA, WHICH CENTERS ON THE TRUE STORY OF A SOCIALITE CON ARTIST.
Anna Chlumsky PHOTO BY RAMONA ROSALES/NETFLIX
What drew you to playing Vivian, a character based loosely on journalist Jessica Pressler, who wrote the shocking New York Magazine story “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People”? I’ve always wanted to play a journalist because I find that the unapologetic curiosity that journalists have and [that] journalists are committed to is so admirable to me. When I [first] read the script, I was really into the journey of [Vivian] as a human and not just as a storytelling device, because I think reporters can be used so often as ways to [tell] the story.
Did you draw from your past experience as a fact-checker for the role? Anytime I get to play somebody with an office or some kind of a desk—because I did plenty of desk jobs the first few years out of college (fact-checker being one of them and editorial assistant being another)—I definitely remember that world of how much your desk is your home, and it always matters to me how we direct that area. We definitely have the classic montage or two of poor Vivian making cold calls all freaking day and just hitting a dead end, and yes, it really brought me back to embodying that cold-calling experience.
Social media played a big role in the story behind Inventing Anna. What’s your take on it? I’m actually not on Instagram. It’s like a whole other planet that I’ve never visited, that everybody else lives on. I’m not going to say that it’s forever, but I so far do better when I’m not on a one-way communication platform like [Instagram]. I also feel like the more I put myself out there, the more obstacles I put between an audience member and my characters. [That’s also] what I’m always really trying to protect—this vocation of mine. If other people don’t feel that way, that’s totally great for them, I’m just super protective.
Have you ever been catfished or conned in your personal life? There are small cons and big cons—thank God I’ve never had a big con. I know some people who have and that’s awful. But yes, definitely small cons. ... I think everyone’s gone through it, unfortunately.
What do you think about the concept of socialites? I’m an old-fashioned broad. I don’t know much about the very glitzy socialite, social media concept of New York. It always made me sort of laugh—and sometimes it does in the show, too, when I watch it—when people talk about restaurants that I’ve gone to [during] my whole experience in New York just to have lunch by myself and read a book, and they’ll talk about it as if it’s the scene-iest scene in the whole wide world. So, it’s all perspective, right?
Inventing Anna will be released on Netflix Feb. 11.