Inventing Anna is a limited series on Netflix created by Shonda Rhimes. Jessica Pressler’s article for the New York magazine, "How Anna Delvey Tricked New York's Party People" inspired the series. The miniseries follows Anna Delvey, played by Ozark’s Julia Garner, a fake German heiress who fooled New York’s high-society into paying for her lavish lifestyle. Aside from Garner, the show also stars Anna Chlumsky, Arian Moayed, Laverne Cox, Katie Lowes, and Alexis Floyd in pivotal roles.
The miniseries debuted on Netflix on February 11, 2022, and since then, it went on to become one of the most streamed shows on the platform.
What is the crime show Inventing Anna about?
Inventing Anna follows Viviant Kent, played by Anna Chlumsky, as she investigates Anna Delvey, a supposed German heiress, trying to piece together her story. Delvey, whose actual name is Anna Sorokin, is using the assumed name to scam New York’s elite out of cash, goods, and services.
Believing her farce as an heiress with access to a fortune, socialites including Rachel Williams, played by Katie Lowes, lose their hard-earned money. Told through Kent’s eyes, the show pieces together the fall of Sorokin, as she is exposed through a magazine article.
Inventing Anna is based on a real story
Inventing Anna is a true-crime series, and thus, it is based on a true story, however wild it may sound. Anna Sorokin is a Russian born who grew up in Germany. She completed her degree in fashion in Paris, during which time she took up the name Anna Delvey. In 2013, she visited New York for the Fashion Week and decided to stay back.
During her time in NYC, she pretended to be a German heiress and infiltrated the inner circles of the city’s socialites. She created an illusion of wealth through fake bank statements and regularly gave fake credit cards instead of paying the bills. Later, she created a foundation in her name, a private club, and an art foundation to further establish her identity as an heiress and to attract wealthy donors. People she conned include Rachel Williams (former friend), several banks, and hoteliers.
In 2017, she was arrested following a sting operation during her stay at one of Los Angeles County’s addiction treatment facilities. During her prosecution, she was charged with grand larceny and theft of services, for which she was found guilty in 2019. She got a sentence of four years and a fine of $24,000. She was also ordered to pay restitution of $199,000.
Read this open letter written by Anna “Delvey” Sorokin herself to find out where she is now.
Cast of Inventing Anna
Inventing Anna has an ensemble cast, most of which were main cast members and others were either recurring or guest cast. Among the cast, Julia Garner received much love from the viewers for her portrayal of Anna Sorokin and for getting the unique accent of the original Anna right, something that took her three weeks to perfect.
- Julia Garner as Anna "Delvey" Sorokin
- Anna Chlumsky as Vivian Kent (Jessica Pressler in real life)
- Arian Moayed as Todd Spodek
- Katie Lowes as Rachel Williams
- Alexis Floyd as Neff Davis
- Anders Holm as Jack
- Anna Deavere Smith as Maud
- Jeff Perry as Lou
- Terry Kinney as Barry
- Laverne Cox as Kacy Duke
- Rebecca Henderson as ADA Catherine McCaw
- Kate Burton as Nora
- Tim Guinee as Paul
- Armand Schultz as Landon Bloom
- Anthony Edwards as Alan Reed
- Caitlin FitzGerald as Mags
- James Cusati-Moyer as Val
- Saamer Usmani as Chase Sikorski
- Marika Domińczyk as Talia Mallay
- Joshua Malina as Henrick Knight
- Ben Rappaport as Billy McFarland
- Christopher Lowell as Noah
- Kieron J. Anthony as Dr. Millikan
What changes has the show made in the real story?
For a true-crime series, Inventing Anna episodes each started with the disclaimer that explicitly mention the use of fiction elements. As such, Rhimes did make significant changes to the story when adapting it into a miniseries. Here are all the changes:
Vivian Kent, her behavior, and her office
Vivian Kent is the fictional version of Jessica Pressler, a New York magazine writer. In the show, Kent works for a fictional Manhattan Magazine, with its pink office. Aside from these changes, the show also portrayed the journalist as more desperate than in real life. For instance, Pressler never attempted to break into Delvey’s parent’s house in Germany or have a conspiracy mapping in her child’s nursing room.
More concealed identities
Aside from Kent, more identities of people involved in the Delvey case was concealed in the show. For instance, Delvey’s lawyer Andrew Lance became Alan Reed in the show. Similarly, her mentor Nora Redford is also a fictional version of a person.
In real life, we don’t have confirmed news about Anna Delvey’s boyfriend at the time of the con but we feel Hunter Lee Soik could be the rumored boyfriend. However, in the show, we have a boyfriend, Chase Sikorski, who is the founder of an app, Wake. Inventing Anna shows Delvey coming up with the idea of Anna Delvey Foundation during the relationship. Real Anna says she got the idea after the relationship ended.
Stealing a jet and more
Anna has done some unbelievable things in real life but some of these were highly dramatized (and a few completely made up) in the show. For instance, Delvey claims she never over extended her stay in a friend’s yacht or ran up a bill of $400,000 at Bergdorf Goodman.
What is true, however, is the scene where she steals a private jet. What the show didn’t mention was that she conned the company as well.
The Rikers interview
In Inventing Anna, Vivian Kent sets up a VIP interview with Anna at Rikers, complete with ceramic mugs and tea. However, real Anna says there is only machine coffee in the jail and certainly no ceramic mugs. The “VIP” treatment wasn’t exactly VIP.
The fake German(s)
The show has one German accountant, Peter Hennecke, whom Anna creates to prove the validity of her trust fund. Anna uses a voice changing app to fool Alan Reed and others that the accountant was indeed talking to them when it was her. In real life, there was one more such accountant, Bettina Wagner.
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What are the thoughts of the real Anna on the show?
Anna Delvey Sorokin wasn’t a huge fan of the show. In fact, before the show debuted on Netflix, she swore it off, citing that she felt unseen during the process. However, she did complement Julia Garner for the accent and approach during the jail visit. Garner, too, was amiable and didn’t mind Delvey not watching the show.
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Anna, however, is not done sharing her story. In an interview, she had shared that she is working on multiple projects to get her story out there. Later, news arose about her collaboration with Bunim Murray Productions, the studio behind Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
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