Inventing Anna – Is the Show Legit?

Inventing Anna. The show that broke records by gaining 196 million hours of viewing time in just one week. One week. Acknowledging the fictitious sections demeaned by critics and audiences, the popularity of this show has spread like wildfire through word of mouth across the nation. It topped the charts, standing at #1 for an extensive period. Essentially, exceedingly famed shows like You, The Witcher and Cobra Kai were effortlessly surpassed by the story infamous Anna Delvey, also known as Anna Sorokin, or the mysterious German Heiress [1]
This show distinctly portrays the version of the American Dream in the 21st century. And that includes the flaws as well. It is quite similar to the story of Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, just excluding the desire for the love of a partner.
Primarily, some background into the connection between these two stories lies in the paragraph below.
54% of public schools and 49% of independent schools in the United States read the Great Gatsby [2]. One might ask why. The answer lies in the fact that this book beautifully destroys the souls of every reader, exposing the adversities that lie in the American Dream. It depicts how the strife for idealism ruins the journeys of every character. “What would a 21st century rendition of the Great Gatsby look like?” The answer is “Anna Sorokin”.
Netflix produced a television series to retell her life and released it on February 11 of 2022. In real life, Anna Delvey was a con woman or an imposter, as some might say, who conned banks such as City National Bank and Fortress, hotels, and acquaintances such as Rachel Williams, for a total of 275,000 dollars. She was arrested for attempted grand larceny, larceny in the second degree and theft of services in 2019. Netflix offered a sum of $320,000 to Sorokin to acquire rights to her life’s story. But according to the Son of Sam’s Law, prisoners are mandated not to reap profits based on the publication of their criminal activity. Thus, the state of New York froze the money and instead used it to pay off her large debts as restitution to various banks and people. With the small amount of 22,000 left for herself, she decided to spend the rest on paying her victims back [3].
Unfortunately, although very attractive and compelling, the Netflix show did not portray a variety of events accurately. Each episode did indeed begin with a “This whole story is completely true. Except for all the parts that are totally made up.” This article’s goal is to break down the vast differences and minor similarities between the real life journey of Anna Delvey and what was revealed on the record breaking show [4].
First and foremost, one of the minor similarities is that the original reporter that investigated Anna Sorokin’s story and published a successful article was not named Vivian Kent, as shown in the television show. Her name was Jessica Pressler, who worked for the New York Magazine. She was also a producer of the show. The original name of the article was “How Anna Delvey tricked New York’s Party People.” Pressler did contact Anna’s former friends and relationships to uncover the truth and further delved deeper into the life of Sorokin through extensive interviews at Rikers Island. The Hustlers, another film released in 2019, is also based solely on an article written by Pressler [5].
Next, Anna Sorokin did, in fact, “steal” a plane from a company owned by a man she met at a Soho House. The ride was worth 35,000 dollars and was used to get to Warren Buffet’s exclusive investing conference.
Subsequently, during her con with the well-reputed banks, she tricked the investors into believing she had an assistant, “Peter Hennecke,” who would transfer all her expenditure through a wire. Actually, it was just Anna with a voice distorter app that allowed her to pretend that she was Peter Hennecke and grab hold of all the loans. The money never was repaid until the Netflix show [5].
Secondly, the show deviates most significantly with Rachel DeLoache Williams, the earlier “best” friend of Sorokin. Williams was a photojournalist at Vanity Fair at the time of the infamous holiday. She lived in West Village, New York. Episode six consists of the unfortunate holiday spent in Marrakech, Morocco with Anna’s personal trainer and Sorokin herself. Expectedly, yet again, Anna did not have any of the money she claimed to own and yet, took a vacation at the luxurious hotel of La Mamounia in Marrakech. When Sorokin confessed that she was having trouble with the “wire transfer” from her bank to the hotel, Williams was pressured to pay for all trip’s expenses. She had to turn in her work card for a hold but the costs added up to 62,000 dollars which she transferred to her personal card. This resulted from Sorokin’s money never coming in. Regrettably, Sorokin only ever paid $5000 of the sum back [5]. Williams expressed great disappointment with Netflix as “Because of Netflix, Anna emerged from behind bars financially net positive, with legions of followers and a level of notoriety from which she’ll presumably continue to profit” [6]. In the coming years after the traumatizing incident, she would go on to write a heavily fact checked book “My Friend Anna” about her authentic experiences and a first-hand account of the incidents. This book helped her escape the crippling debt she had acquired because of Anna. Conversely, the show villainizes Williams by depicting her as someone who exploited the benefits she received as a result of being Anna’s friend. According to Vogue’s article, the show gets the victim and villain confused. It proposes the question of what all of us, humans just like Rachel, would have done in the same position [7].
In regards to her trial, much like Vivian Kent ran of the courtroom to purchase clothes for Delvey, Jessica Pressler, the original journalist, lent Anna one of her own dresses and bought her a snake print and white outfit from H&M. However, Pressler extended this generosity because Anna Sorokin did not have her clothes delivered on time, unlike the show where Anna refused to attend trial unless her clothes were delivered.
Lastly, Chase Sikorski, Anna’s boyfriend, does not have a real-life equivalent. But, Anna at some point did have a boyfriend that was known for Ted Talks. Chase did not in fact play a large role in the story as he wasn’t real [5].
All in all, this show is an incredible way to immerse yourself in the slightly falsified story of an infamous, deceiving but smart and eye-opening criminal. It is a story that will forever be buried in the depths of our minds. According to Natalie Ramirez ’24, the show was “AMAZING. Highly recommend it. Interesting. Watched it like in a week, not even”.
This whole article is completely true except for the parts that are not all made up.

Citations: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]