Should We Apologize To Al Franken? Did We Over React?

Francie and Al Franken

Today I start working with David and Norman Chesky, founders of Chesky Records and HDtracks, promoting “The Mice War,” an animated children’s movie which explains the absurdity of war and the futility of violence. The movie will teach children, at an early age, not to make the same mistakes as those who came before them.

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End of the month dinner for the February artists (Bony Ramirez, Nate Lewis and Patricia Ayres) in the residency program at Fountainhead Arts. Congratulations to all. We loved being included.

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This was our month to co-sponsor artists-in-residence Bony Ramirez, Nate Lewis and Patricia Ayres at Fountainhead Arts. We shared the month with Leslie and Michael Weissman. Our theme was “Becoming an Artist is Not a Linear Path.”

We were delighted that Bony sold his “Where Are The Avocados” piece to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, also known as ICA Miami. Many of us gathered there today to celebrate Bony’s success.

Other local museums also bought art. Quite a successful month.

Bony Ramirez
Patricia Ayres
Nate Lewis

Lois Whitman-Hess Miami Life Editor The Three Tomatoes

Photo by Eliot Hess

Can you spot me in this photo by Eliot Hess? (View more ). What would Monica and Hillary say to each other if they met? There’s a play about that. I’m thrilled that the Miami Film Festival is back! There’s a new museumon Lincoln Road. Time Out Market is back too and it’s a unique dining experience. And I hope you’ll join me in NYC for the Three Tomatoes Renewal Summit on May 13.

Photo by Eliot Hess
Photo by Eliot Hess
Photo by Eliot Hess

March 3-27. When Monica Met Hillary

“When Monica Met Hillary,” a play about Monica Lewinsky meeting up with Hillary Clinton three decades later, has tongues wagging all over Miami. As far as we know, Monica and Hillary have never met. What if they did meet? What would they say to each other? I’m going to find out on March 12th when a group of us, are going to see the production at the Colony Theater on Lincoln Road.

March 4-13. Miami Film Festival

Miami really knows how to create a film festival. The 39th edition of the festival showcases the work of the world’s best emerging and established filmmakers. I just found out that the cash awards can total more than $100,000 in competition categories. I’m keeping my finger crossed that nothing stops the Miami Film Festival from happening this year.

Museum of Illusions

Lincoln Road, a walkable 10 block stretch of great shopping and dining in the heart of South Beach, is now home to a museum. Don’t worry. It’s not a stuffy historical one, but rather a fun entertainment center. It’s actuality a Museum of Illusions. My husband and I went there to check it out and I must say we found ourselves in the world of fantasy and imagination. 

Get Ready Again for a Unique Dining Experience

The famous Time Out Market is back after the Covid shutdown and offers folks every type of meal they could ever want under one roof. It’s like visiting a major food convention. What’s even more interesting is that the food establishment is going to feature a wide variety of special events. This is just perfect for people who want to go solo, or with a group. Everyone fits in.

Too Much Marijuana Can Make You Unpleasantly, Dangerously Sick

photo of lifestyle marijuana woman

My friend David Bloom posted this on Facebook. His husband, Damian McNamara, authored this piece in WebMD. David, thank you for sharing. Good to know.

Too Much Marijuana Can Make You Unpleasantly, Dangerously Sick

By Damian McNamara, MA

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/news/20220211/marijuana-use-disorder-may-make-you-sick?fbclid=IwAR1dX9bfG3yqcplQZkxE7D2Y99omlVXCL_bk0jEgFGK6oic6AYZ4uuYC1PI

Feb. 11, 2022 — At the center of the emerging science on the unintended consequences of daily long-term use of marijuana lies a paradox.

For years, medical marijuana has been used to ease nausea from cancer chemotherapy and GI conditions. Now, with greater legalization comes growing awareness that chronic use of marijuana — also known as cannabis — can trigger a condition where, ironically, a person has hard-to-control vomiting and nausea.

Some people with the disorder, known as “cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome,” also report crippling belly pain.

Linda can relate. The 33-year-old Oregon resident, who asked to remain anonymous to protect her privacy, refers to a medieval spiky metal ball on a chain when describing the pain.

“Picture a mace inside your stomach, pushing up inside your chest and, at the same time, exploding out,” she says.

To seek relief, she gets down on her knees, adopts a child’s yoga pose, and runs hot water in the bathroom for hours on end, a trick many with the disorder says has provided relief. She also occasionally goes outside and tries walking it off.

“I would just wander around my neighborhood, a lot of times at like 4 or 5 in the morning,” she says.

“The fresh air helps a little bit. I just keep walking down the street, take about 10 steps, stop, vomit — walk a little bit more, stop, vomit.”

Her first experience with the disorder began in the middle of one night in 2017 while she was at a conference in Las Vegas.

“We went out to eat the night before, and I woke up about 4 in the morning with just the most intense pain I’ve ever had,” she says.

“I found myself in a really hot shower in between throwing up everything and trying to say get some water down,” she says. “I was sharing an Airbnb with my colleagues, so it was less than ideal.”

Many people with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome find relief from hot baths or showers. Researchers believe that hot water helps because temperature sensors in the skin send signals to the brain that can help ease the symptoms, at least for a while.

The problem is that people with this syndrome “can’t live in the water,” says emergency doctor and medical cannabis expert Leigh Vinocur, MD.

Fast-forward 6 months to another event in Boulder, CO. Again, Linda woke up and could not stop vomiting.

“I was not feeling any better. Showering wasn’t helping. I ended up in the hospital,” she says.

She received opioids for her pain. But neither she nor the emergency room staff were quite sure what was happening. Her discharge paperwork read “cannabis allergy.”

Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome “shatters that image of cannabis only being a good thing. It’s a bold statement, but, you know, once you start to think about it, it’s like a little too much of anything isn’t good,” Linda says.

Experts suggest greater awareness is needed to identify this syndrome earlier, by both cannabinoid users and doctors. The bouts of vomiting, in particular, can get so severe that people can end up hospitalized with dehydration, electrolyte disorders, and weight loss.

The severe electrolyte imbalances “can really be life-threatening,” says David Johnson, MD, a professor of medicine and chief of gastroenterology at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk.

“By the time they come into emergency care, they’re in bad shape,” Vinocur agrees. “Many try to ignore it, but they continue to vomit.”

Genetic Risk Factors?

One mystery is why some regular marijuana users get this syndrome while others do not.

“I can say that not everybody gets this, thank goodness,” says Ethan Russo, MD. “But there has to be a reason that certain people are susceptible and others are not.”

Interestingly, a new study from Russo and colleagues suggests that genes play a role. They identified five genetic changes that could make a chronic marijuana user more likely to have cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome in a study published July 2021 in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

They compared 28 people with the disorder to 12 other high-frequency marijuana users without these symptoms.

The results are not final but could help guide future research, Russo says.

“What we’ve discovered — and it was far more than we expected — is that there’s a lot more to this than a hypersensitivity to cannabis,” says Russo, a neurologist and founder/CEO of CReDO Science, a firm that promotes cannabis research and develops commercial products.

Also, he says, those affected by cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome could be at higher risk for other conditions, such as addiction to alcohol or other substances, dementia, diabetes, and heart disease.

“Most people with CHS are going to be younger,” he says. “What we’ve demonstrated is there is a risk for more serious problems for decades to come. So someone who has these symptoms really deserves a look at this genetic screening.”

Battling Disbelief

Getting back to the paradox, many users don’t believe marijuana can trigger serious vomiting and nausea because of its reputation for doing the opposite.

“Folks that have this are just uniquely resistant to the concept that cannabis is actually the problem and not the solution,” Russo says.

“It’s kind of counterintuitive because people think, ‘Oh, cannabis helps with nausea,’ so they use more of it,” says Vinocur, who is also a spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians and runs a medical cannabis practice.

Most kinds of marijuana act in this way — doing opposite things at different doses. Once a certain threshold is passed, people with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome are “just uniquely susceptible and really can’t tolerate any significant amount of THC,” Russo says, referring to tetrahydrocannabinol, the substance that gets marijuana users high.

This type of scenario happens quite frequently w/ abdominal pain & vomiting. But patients often haven’t disclosed marijuana use. We try to diagnose something else and treat pain/nausea, often do a CT and they don’t improve. Only then do I suggest cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome.— Emily Porter, M.D.

Once diagnosed, quitting is the most effective strategy. But it can be tough to persuade someone to stop using marijuana.

“You do have to try and convince them … to try abstinence and to watch and see what happens,” Vinocur says.

People should “realize the root cause of this is its cannabinoid ingestion, and the treatment is really best directed at absolute avoidance,” Johnson says.

Unfortunately, evidence also shows that once a person stops using marijuana and gets relief, going back to marijuana or other forms of cannabinoids can cause the syndrome to start all over again.

“We’ve had people that quit for a month, a year, 2 years and upon resumption, almost invariably, they’re back into bouts of the hyperemesis along with all the other [symptoms],” Russo says.

Marijuana and cannabinoids can cause digestive problems, Johnson says, which may cause more problems.

What Recent Research Reveals

Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome is a relatively young disorder — first described in 2004 — and early reports and case studies are giving way now to studies looking into potential treatments.

So far, the strongest evidence suggests a role for an over-the-counter cream called capsaicin to help manage symptoms, but more studies are needed.

Similar to hot showers, this ingredient from chili pepperscan warm the skin and trigger the temperature-sensitive skin sensors to lessen the symptoms, Johnson says.

An October 2021 study in Spain looked at 54 emergency department visits among 29 people with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. For the 75% treated with capsaicin, vomiting stopped after an average of 18 minutes.

Lead author Guillermo Burillo-Putze, MD, PhD, says he is most surprised by the growing number of new cases of the disorder.

“This should be of concern given the increase in cannabis use due to its legalization and permissiveness,” says Burillo-Putze, an emergency doctor at Hospital Universitario de Canarias in Spain.

Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome appears not to discriminate across racial and ethic groups. Although most studies to date include white participants, a July 2021 study of 29 people, 90% of whom were Black, found repeat visits to the emergency room were common.

The study found that 16 people returned 42 times to the emergency room and accounted for 10 hospital admissions, for example.

Cannabis Conspiracy Theories

“Unfortunately, this condition has become the subject of great speculation hinging on conspiracy theories as its true cause,” Russo notes in a September 2021 letter to the editor in TheAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine.

Some “myth busting” is in order, he says.

For example, cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome does not happen because of exposure to products from a tree called neem or from pesticides applied to marijuana plants during cultivation, Russo says. It can also occur with high-dose synthetic cannabinoids, he says.

The State of Recreational and Medical Marijuana

Recreational marijuana is legal in 18 states, Washington, DC, and Guam as of January 2022, according to a report in US News. More states permit medical marijuana use — 37 in total, plus Washington, DC, according to Britannica ProCon.

One of the states where only medicinal use is legal is Maryland, which is where Vinocur practices.

“We are seeing increasing numbers of cases” of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, she says.

In addition to chronic use or higher doses, it’s likely that the higher potency levels of THC in the legal marijuana industry trigger the syndrome in some people as well.

Linda estimates she ended up in emergency rooms at least a half-dozen times in the last 5 years. In April 2021, she had a “pretty serious event.” She blames it on traveling a lot for work, not eating right, and not getting enough sleep. She broke her 2-year abstinence with alcohol.

“I basically didn’t listen to my body and paid a pretty significant price for it,” she says.

Linda did not stop altogether but says she “drastically changed the types and form of the cannabis I was using.”

“I can tell you on the record that I would be a hundred percent dead without this plant,” she says.

“The prospect of living without it was more detrimental to me than all of those things I just described to you, because addiction runs in my family and I had opiate problems myself that I overcame with cannabis.”

L

Thank you Dawn McCall and Gail Williams

Thai dinner last night at the award winning Chef Dawn McCall’s kitchen. Beyond delicious and healthy. And we went home with enough food and home made desserts for days. (Gail’s ice cream and Dawn’s apple and pear Galette pie) Thank you Dawn and Gail for a very special evening. We are still mesmerized about how easy you make it look. Served with total grace and finesse. Thank you, thank you.

Seeing Broadway Joe In That Superbowl Commercial Reminded Me He Told Me Something He Never Told Anyone Else

You are a Seenager. I am a Seenager. We are all Seenagers. Get ready to roar. My friend Debbie Nigro, and her partner, Charlie Ponger, started a new hysterical podcast talking about you and me, and all of our contemporaries.

Radio veterans Debbie Nigro and Charlie Ponger are the ringleaders uniting the 50+ generation on the one thing they all have in common. The desire to have as much fun as possible, while they still can…without hurting themselves.

 

 

New York, NY — “Tell me you didn’t crack up seeing Joe Namath having fun rockin’ his signature fur coat during the Super Bowl Draft King commercials?” said Debbie Nigro, Co-creator and Co-host of the trending comedy improve podcast ‘The Official Seenagers’ Can’t Make This Up.

 

Joe Namath just showed everyone a great example of the kind of fun antics we at ‘The Official Seenagers’ podcast applaud! Having fun making fun of himself. Love him.

 

What is a “Seenager”? “Senior Teenager’. A person in midlife or beyond who experiences or exhibits a renaissance of freedom, creativity, and social engagement like those usually present in a person’s teenage years. Most ‘Seenagers’ typically appear to be mature adults, parents and grandparents.

 

Broadway Joe’ Namath is obviously one of us. He’s very fun and very real as you’ll hear in the most recent episode of ‘The Official Seenagers’. He thoughtfully shares why he thinks people are still drawn to him, tells the story of his famous white shoes, gives up his grandpa name, and shares who he watches football games at home with and more. He even tells Debbie something he never told anyone before.

 

That Draft Kings Goddess of Fortune has nothing on me when it comes to Joe Namath,” said Debbie. “I’m The Goddess of Truth Serum. LOL

 

“Joe Namath’s outlook, spirit, and humor are a perfect example of what we and our show are all about.” said, Charlie Ponger, Co-Creator and Co-Host of The Official Seenagers. We’re all about the upside and often the hilarious reality of the 50+ generation. The younger generations also find us funny and way cool.

 

“Humor is in critical demand right now, says Debbie. It’s good for your immune system. Luckily the only thing anyone listening to us could possibly catch is a belly laugh”

Click below for podcast.

TheOfficialSeenagers.com

 

Eco-Friendly Floating Condos

Looking For An Alternative Life? Want To Run Away From It All? Tired Of Being Shut-In After The Pandemic? Here’s A Solution!

These Eco-Friendly Floating Condos Will Let You Live in Luxury Wherever There’s Water

We Have Two Alternatives For You, The Anthénea Floating Condo, Or The Arkup.

Anthenea Floating Condo

The Anthénea, a French company, plans to debut its dome-shaped apartments early next year.

Arkup, located in Miami, introduced their luxury floating home a few years ago. In fact, it’s located next to Star Island right outside my window. $5.5 million.

The Anthénea, created by French naval architect Jean-Michel Duacancelle, was inspired by the 1977 James Bond flick The Spy Who Loved Me. The Anthénea has a diameter of 31 feet and accommodates two adults or a family of four. It features a lounge, bar and kitchenette. The rooftop features a bar-slash-solarium for 12 guests.

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Anthenea Floating Condo

You and your friends can dock near each other and form your own floating condo colony.

The Anthénea does not disturb the underwater ecosystem. It is fitted with solar panels and powered by 100 percent clean energy. It’s also equipped with an innovative anchoring system and sand screw which does minimal damage to the ocean floor.

Other green tech features a saltwater filtration system and a US Coast Guard-approved waste treatment system. The pod is 100 percent recyclable.

Anthenea Floating Condo

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Anthénea says the pods can be used as exclusive oceanic condos, though the company is also looking to partner with resorts around the world.

Anthenea Floating Condo

Anthénea starts at $365,000. The floating spa model is $730,000.

Our Visit To The Bal Harbour Luxury Shopping Mall Yesterday.

We had lunch at the Bal Harbour Mall yesterday with good friend Neil Plakcy who is an award -winning author of 50 books to date. They’re all on sale at Amazon. You can imagine what our conversations were like considering he writes mysteries. We learn so much. His husband Marc couldn’t make it to lunch, He was greatly missed.

Most women who shop at Bal Harbour are thin and fashionable. I never got the memo.

So What Do You Think? Many Of My Friends Can’t Stop Debating This.

BY 15, 2022

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY VANITY FAIR, PHOTOS FROM GETTY IMAGES, NETFLIX.

Rachel Williams, the former Vanity Fair staffer who was conned out of $62,000 by Anna Sorokin, known as Anna Delvey, never wanted to discuss her former friend again. She purged her recollections of the traumatic friendship in an essay for Vanity Fair and, later, a book, My Friend Anna. But when Netflix reportedly paid Sorokin $320,000 for her life rights—allowing the convicted felon to profit from her crimes after she was forced to use part of the sum to pay restitution and fines—Williams was irked. And when the adaptation of those rights and Jessica Pressler’s New York magazine feature made its way to TV screens on Friday, in Inventing Anna, Williams was shocked to see the degree to which the series sympathized with Sorokin (Julia Garner).

“I think promoting this whole narrative and celebrating a sociopathic, narcissistic, proven criminal is wrong,” Williams told Vanity Fair in her first interview about the series. “Having had a front-row seat to [the Anna circus] for far too long, I’ve studied the way a con works more than anybody needs to. You watch the spectacle, but you’re not paying attention to what’s being marketed.”

The way Williams sees it, Netflix and Shonda Rhimes were conned into believing that Sorokin was a special and even inspiring person—just like Williams was. They didn’t see her as a felon who was convicted on eight charges, including second-degree grand larceny, theft of services, and first-degree attempted grand larceny. (Sorokin was acquitted of attempted grand larceny in the first degree in regard to a $22 million loan she tried to obtain, and of stealing $62,000 from Williams. American Express later protected Williams from the Morocco hotel charges.) Sorokin was released from prison in February 2021. After overstaying her visa, Sorokin is currently in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement where she is fighting deportation and offering the occasional interview to press.

Even more dangerously, Williams contends, the series recklessly blurs fact with fiction—opening each episode with a cheeky title card: “This story is completely true, except for all the parts that aren’t.” To Williams, the show could convince viewers that Sorokin is some trailblazing renegade worthy of further fascination and financial payouts in spite of her crimes. (A Netflix spokesperson would not confirm the figure to The New York Times, but did clarify that “payments were made to an escrow account monitored by New York State’s Office of Victim Services.”)

Ahead, Williams reacts to the series and its unflattering depiction of her, and shares her own truth.

Vanity Fair: I just reread Jessica Pressler’s original article about Anna for The Cut, on which Inventing Anna is partially based. In the story, you’re depicted straightforwardly. Did you have any sense that the show would portray you as an opportunistic hanger-on?

Rachel Williams: I was caught off guard when Netflix announced its description of the character Rachel. [Editor’s note: Netflix described Rachel as “a natural-born follower whose blind worship of Anna almost destroys her job, her credit, and her life. But while her relationship with Anna is her greatest regret, the woman she becomes because of Anna may be Anna’s greatest creation.”]

To say a woman is someone else’s creation is counter to a feminist narrative. I looked at it and I was like, Really? That’s where you’re going to go with this? So I had some unease, but nobody thinks that someone is going to be reckless with facts, especially when the character is given my name. To me, it’s not making a statement but convoluting truth in a way that’s dangerous.

How much of the show have you seen, and what was your viewing experience like?

I haven’t watched the whole thing yet—I’ve been skimming. I started and was like, I’m not sure I have the stomach for this. I’ve seen enough of it to know my objections. Part of the reason I didn’t want to speak up [initially] was because I think people will want to couch my statements within the Rachel-vs.-Anna narrative. And I mean, yes, I am concerned about some very obvious, refutable factual inaccuracies.

But I’m more interested in this kind of true-crime entertainment. Some people online think this is a fact-checked series. Books are fact-checked. This show is playing with a fine line—peddling it as a true story, but also [in the opening disclaimer] saying, “except for all the parts that aren’t.” I think it’s worth exploring at what point a half-truth is more dangerous than a lie. That disclaimer gives the show enough credibility so that people can believe [the fictional elements] more easily. I think that’s really dangerous territory. Plus, it affected real-time criminal-justice proceedings.

Is there any particular story point that you want to go on record to correct?

I don’t want to get lost in the weeds of what is right versus what isn’t right. But I obviously was not laid off at Vanity Fair for this. I was not complicit [in] helping my friend defraud my employer. But the second I sit down to defend myself—especially because there’s now this false narrative about me and about the broader story—then I’m just feeding into this picking-sides-ism, when this isn’t something that is actually two-sided.

One person’s a criminal. The story profits her. This is a narrative designed to create empathy for a character who lacks it. The whole thing is very problematic. If I start saying “fact” or “fiction,” I feel like my voice will be lost and also more of a distraction.

The show dramatizes Jessica Pressler reaching out to you when she was working on her New York magazine article, and you declining to participate because you wanted to tell your own story. But in terms of the TV show, did Shonda Rhimes or the series reach out to you at any point?

They reached out to get my option, but at that point HBO already had it. [Editor’s note: Williams’s book was optioned by Lena Dunham, but it is no longer in development. The story rights were returned to Williams.]

At that point they already had optioned Jessica’s story?

Yes.

Do you have any theory why you’re characterized this way?

Who knows. Julia Garner’s a terrific actress. But I think that whatever elusive charismatic powers Anna has come through less in the way the story is presented, [and more in] the way the whole story was created. Everyone talks about Anna’s star power—they were so clearly taken with this subject that they began to empathize with her. If you think about it, what do con artists do? They tell stories. Stories have so much power when it comes to creating belief. So everybody has bought into this fantastical narrative that has become so devoid of fact but still has the illusion of truth. The facts are boring, I guess, but they’re important.

How did you feel once you started watching the show? Did the Anna debacle harden you to the point where you aren’t surprised by anything anymore related to her?

I think there is a false narrative with regard to me not having been a strong person before this entire thing. I have learned a lot, of course.

In a lot of ways, though, reality has gotten stranger than I ever imagined. So yes, the next gross bag of tricks probably shocks me less than it would other people. But I think my resolve is strengthened. Certainly not because of Anna. But you learn at some point that kindness is not mutually exclusive from strength. I think I was trying too hard to emphasize kindness for too long with Anna, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t strong.

Sometimes we hesitate to draw a firm line with someone who tests our limits because we think that leniency is kind. But at a certain point, it’s actually the opposite for both people.

I just would like to raise questions that I hope other people would see the value in exploring.

Like the fact that Netflix paid Anna over $300,000 for her life rights.

Yes, and to say she doesn’t profit because there isn’t much money left over after she pays lawyers…it’s like, at what point does $75,000 worth of attorney fees factor into not being her profit? The fact that she financed a private criminal defense attorney, and chose to spend the money that way, doesn’t mean it wasn’t money.

In your character’s scene on the witness stand, Anna’s lawyer accuses you, too, of profiting off of Anna because you sold a book—even though you sold a book, in part, to help recoup your losses from Anna. But there were other immeasurable negative effects of your relationship with Anna, I imagine.

I don’t want to dwell too much on the impact because it’s been however many years, but it certainly took a huge toll on me. As I’ve said one too many times, this is the hardest thing I’ve gone through—the betrayal as much as the money. Having been betrayed by someone I trusted—and to have been betrayed in a huge way. Her entire identity had been a complete sham. That really sends you into a ricochet of memories, looking back trying to look for all the signs you missed. That’s why I wrote a book—I was drowning in rumination and trying to process what had happened. 

So it was like this giant purge of all these cached memories that I strung together so I could step back, look at them, and figure out what had happened, what to make of it, and hopefully leave it behind me.

Image may contain Human Person Clothing Apparel Katie Lowes Jacket Coat Wheel Machine and Overcoat
Katie Lowes portrays Williams in Netflix’s Inventing Anna. BY NICOLE RIVELLI/NETFLIX. 

Katie Lowes, who plays you on the show, said she wanted to use the real you as a jumping-off point, and actually based the character on someone else she knew. Did she ever reach out to you?

No, I never heard from her. From what I’ve seen of the series so far: Lowes’s concern for accuracy, when it comes to portraying me as I am, seems limited to the spelling of my full name. This sort of half-truth is more insidious than a total lie because it causes uninformed viewers to mistake fiction for fact based on mere fragments of reality—like my place of work, for instance, and even a photo of the real me within the end credits.

Have you heard from Anna or Kacy, played by Laverne Cox on Inventing Annasince the trial?

No. I mean, it speaks to my objections about the way truth is [dealt with on the series], but there’s this constructed world within the show—which I guess is the necessity of television—where it creates this illusion that I was close friends with Neff (Alexis Floyd) and Kacy. I like them. I’m not going to speak negatively about them. But they were not my close friends.

In one of the final episodes, Kacy criticizes your character for participating in the sting operation that led to Anna’s arrest, and seems to point a finger at you for being a bad friend, despite everything Anna did to lead you to that point. Do you want to respond to that?

I don’t want to litigate every [plot point]. But are we forgetting the fact that this person is a convicted felon and chronic hustler? How come every other character [in Anna’s circle] is completely enamored with Anna, and yet my character’s liking of Anna is the only one that people think must have been for reasons that are objectionable? Could it not have been that I, too, thought she was interesting and smart and funny?

What bothers you most about the series?

The show’s trying to straddle the divide between fact and fiction. I think that’s a particularly dangerous space, more than the true-crime medium, because people sometimes believe what they see in entertainment more readily than what they see on the news. It’s the emotional connections to a narrative that form our beliefs. Also hunger for this type of entertainment urges media companies to create more of it, incentivizing people like Anna and making [crime] seem like a viable career path. [Editor’s note: In an interview with the BBC last year, Sorokin was asked if crime paid. She responded, “In a way, it did.”]

In the show, the character based on Jessica Pressler defends Anna as a product of our culture, and that’s seemingly how she rationalizes her sympathy for her. Do you have anything to say about that?

I think it’s the same with Netflix. It’s the same with Shonda. It’s a really convenient narrative people are projecting. But when you do that, you have to recognize you’re not looking for truth. You’re looking for your own version of the truth, and that’s not necessarily related to the reality of the people and the events [involved]. This is Shonda Rhimes’s first foray into a nonfiction story…And I think that they came into it thinking they were going to make a statement about what it’s like being a young woman in a man’s world, or the materialism of the fashion and art world. Obviously, there are a lot of things about those subjects that we all would agree with. 

I just think that there is a risk when you try to project a fictional narrative onto a real [crime story]. You may have shaped [a show] in a way that’s convenient for your story, but it’s a disservice to the people whose stories you’re telling.

I’m curious what will happen to Anna because of the show and the attention on her. For some people, attention is a more powerful commodity than money.

I agree. Attention is a form of currency, and if history is any indication, it’s what Anna will continue to seek. It’s what she needs in order to convince people to keep buying into her stories.

Joan Didion was right—we tell ourselves stories in order to live. For a fake heiress like Anna, the statement rings especially true.

Julie Miller is a senior feature writer at Vanity Fair