Inventing Anna: Netflix’s Portrayal of Anna Delvey

If you’ve been paying attention to headlines and your Netflix account this month, you’ve probably heard the name Anna Delvey. Netflix’s Inventing Anna tells the story of the fake heiress through a mini-series consisting of nine episodes.

We recently finished the series and have a lot of thoughts!

Who is Anna?

Anna Sorokin was born in January 1991 in a suburb of Moscow, Russia. She came from a modest upbringing: her dad was a truck driver and eventually started an HVAC business. At age 16, Anna, her parents and younger brother moved to Germany for a better life.

After graduating high school, Anna lived in London, Paris and Berlin before eventually calling Manhattan home in 2013. While living in Paris, Anna claimed her last name was Delvey. Everyone who met Anna in NYC thought she was an heiress, with a trust fund back in Europe valued at 60 million Euros. Obviously, this turned out to be false.

Inventing Anna begins in 2017 with Anna being sent to Riker’s Island by a judge while waiting for her trial. This story inspired journalist Vivian Kent to learn everything she could about Anna, sharing the truth with the world, while making the girl famous in the process.

Now, Vivian Kent is based on Jessica Pressler, a writer at New York magazine. Her article How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People for The Cut inspired Netflix’s adaption of the story.

Questions We Had Before Watching

  1. How did Anna get so much money to live this lavish lifestyle?
  2. How much of Netflix’s adaption is true?
  3. Was Anna really flat broke?
  4. Did Anna really want to start a business empire or just swindle people?
  5. How could so many people fall for the lies of someone people claimed wasn’t nice or charming?

Answers to Our Questions

From reading the real article and watching the series, we quickly answered question one. When Anna was still in Europe, her parents covered her rent while Anna made a modest salary at Purple magazine. After arriving in Manhattan, she found many ways to live like a socialite: stay with “friends”, pay for things with fake wire transfers/bad checks, use the line of credit a bank gave her and knowingly convince other people to pay for her, without any intention on paying her back.

For question number two, it sounds like a lot of what we learned turned out to be true. While some names and certain small details were changed, most of what was portrayed actually happened. From Anna’s nameless tech boyfriend to her friend group and to all the people she successfully conned, including a senior partner at the prestigious Gibson Dunn law firm.

This bring us to question three, which we learned the answer to be yes, Anna had no money. For example, she committed bank fraud, her trust was fake and she conned her friend Rachael DeLoache Williams into using her credit card in Morocco, charging $60K dollars in the process. However, we need to point out that Anna was found not guilty on the charge against her regarding Rachel.

The next portion we questioned was the Anna Delvey Foundation (ADF), which was designed to be a more-exclusive SoHo House. From our analysis, Anna believed in her business vision and that’s why she started this scam. To her, all a means to an end.

Lastly, the big question on everyone’s mind: how did Anna manage to swindle so many people? Some of them very rich, successful and powerful people. Others, just friends who were making meager wages for living in an expensive city. She conned both the upper and the working class, so contrary to some beliefs, Anna is not a Robin Hood figure.

One aspect that made her con so surprising came from the fact that people described her as being rude, demanding and impatient. She didn’t charm people or flirt with them, but they still seemed to be drawn to her confidence, social status and ambition. Honestly, we might never know exactly why people chose to help her. However, we’re not blaming any of them. These people trusted Anna and trust is very powerful, especially when exploited. The biggest commonality was a lot of people who tried to see the best in the Anna Delvey they knew. Besides, they didn’t see a reason for her to lie because Anna acted like she grew up wealthy and as part of the social elite.

Thoughts on the Show

We have to say that we’re utterly fascinated by Anna “Delvey” Sorokin. She’s clearly a sociopath and feels no remorse for her actions. This show had us hooked from the first few minutes and we can’t recommend it enough.

From episode one where we get background information, to episode nine where they show the trial, we couldn’t stop watching this juicy crime tale.

However, we’ve been paying attention to headlines and one inconsistency grabbed our attention: Rachel DeLoache Williams. Rachel wrote the book My Friend Anna. Rachel criticizes Netflix for her own portrayal and making Anna look like a hero.

Now, we can’t speak on Rachel since we don’t know much about her and haven’t read her point of view yet, but we don’t think Anna was characterized as a victim. While Vivian Kent may have become obsessed and gave Anna too much benefit of the doubt, we could tell how guilty Anna was of all of her crimes.

Where is Anna Now?

Anna served two years in prison after a four-to-twelve-year sentence. She enjoyed some freedom in 2021, before being taken into custody by ICE. It’s unclear what her future will be since she faces deportation back to Germany.

Conclusion

We recommend everyone watch this series and let us know your thoughts. Do you think Anna was portrayed accurately? Also, was she treated too harshly or not harshly enough?

We’re interested in knowing more about this story and plan on reading My Friend Anna soon. Stay tuned for our review of the book and comparing what Netflix said vs what Rachel said.

30 thoughts on “Inventing Anna: Netflix’s Portrayal of Anna Delvey

  1. I was randomly looking for something to watch the other day when I came across this and it quickly turned into an obsessive binge. I couldn’t stop watching! Not only that, when I wasn’t watching, I was googling, reading, learning… the whole concept of it all intrigued me. I love crime documentaries largely because I love trying to understand the mindset behind the choices that people make, but her story was so unique from anything else I had learned about.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I saw that the series was on Netflix, but I haven’t watched it. It’s good to know that it does stick to the true events that happened & it’s just crazy that Anna was able to con so many people by pretending to be an heiress.
    It’ll be interesting to see how Rachel’s book is different from the series.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That makes sense! After reading your review, I ended up watching Inventing Anna & it was really interesting. I definitely don’t think Anna was potrayed as a hero. At first, Vivian Kent doubted that Anna was this big bad person, but then it became very clear to her & everyone else that Anna did many terrible things – not paying for hotel stays, the private plane, the trip to Morocco, etc. & she also never had a trust fund but she tried to trick 2 banks into giving her a loan for the foundation

        Liked by 1 person

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