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"Inventing Anna" Now On Netflix, The Story Of The Fake Heiress And Hustler Icon Anna Delvey, Is Mandatory TV Viewing

The true story of Anna Delvey is one of my favorites of all time, because Anna Delvey and I exist on the same timeline. Anna (actual surname Sorokin) moved from Russia/Germany/Paris (her past is complicated) to New York City in 2014 (the same year as I did), under her new alias. She's presently 31. She traveled with the story of being a German heiress, and immediately became friends with the right people to perpetuate her story. At the time, I worked for a website with the primary focus was documenting "cool" events around New York with photography to be featured on their website. I learned about all of these high profile people who aren't necessarily in the forefront of TMZ-style reporting - hoteliers, powerful investment firms and the people of prominence within them, people heavily involved in the art world and their respective galleries/membership spaces. Powerful people, the people that actually "make moves" in New York's social scene. The exact kind of people that Anna was able to convince of her fake background. The only reason I'm saying all this, is to reiterate the fact that these were the kind of people who would absolutely drop dead with embarrassment over someone like Anna outsmarting them. 

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This blog will be mostly background on Anna, but I have to first mention that Julia Garner played this role flawlessly. Her general emptiness, the strange misplaced accent, the attitude, the "plain" look that somehow convinced handfuls of people that her appearance just meant she came from "old money." She really nailed it. I think they spent WAYYYY too much time on the journalist's part of the story (played by Anna Chlumsky, who I do love, but the storyline was lame. Her character Vivian Kent was based on the actual journalist who wrote about Anna, Jessica Pressler, and a lot of it was bullshit. The show took a lot of liberties to give this fictional journalist a WILD time of reporting on Anna. Although, it is a Shonda Rhimes production, so a little over the top drama is to be expected.) Overall though, because of the story itself, I loved the show. Real Anna also received a nice chunk of change from Netflix, $320,000 in the bank that she says has already gone to restitution and legal fees. 

Alright, onto Anna's story:

- She moved to New York, became friends with rich, influential people, all while living in hotels. She would arrive, throwing around all kinds of cash to dispel any rumors that she may not have money, and when it would come time to pay up, frequently feigned ignorance to the US/International banking systems and blame delays on "international wire transfer issues." She would rack up bills like $30,000 at 11 Howard (dubbed 12 Georges in the series) before moving onto the next hotel, to pull the same shit. Eventually, the hotels became wise.

- She dated a prominent tech guy for a while, who also fell for her lies, and honestly this storyline was pretty boring to me. The tech guy sounded like a douche and I'm sure the real life version of events makes it more obvious that Anna was involved for the networking. She was too cool for him. 

- After a disastrous trip to Marrakech, one of Anna's new "friends" claimed to be swindled into paying the full 60,000 bill for their trip. After more "international wire issues," Anna wasn't able to pay up. Not having 60k lying around, the friend "had to" use her company card. The company in question, was Vanity Fair.  This part of the story is the most insane to me - we all know what it's like to be scrambling to decide who's going to front the biggest part of the bill by the end of a trip, trying to figure out who can hold the brunt of a big debt while we all slowly pay everyone back. The richest friend usually gets this task, but what happens when your richest friend suddenly has no money, and you're being intimidated into not being able to leave a foreign country? I'll tell you what I WOULND'T do - use my company card, and then not tell my company about it for 3 months while I waited for my friend to pay me back. The friend in question, Rachel (who is real) went on to get in trouble for the expense, but then wrote this article exposing Anna. Vanity Fair ended up paying her to write the article, then she wrote a book about it. An excerpt from the article:

I can’t remember which arrived first: the expectant bucket of ice and stack of glasses, or “Anna Delvey”—but I knew that she had appeared and with her came bottle service. She was a stranger to me, and yet not unknown. I’d seen her on Instagram, smiling at events, drinking at parties, oftentimes alongside my own friends and acquaintances. I’d seen that @annadelvey (since changed to @annadlvv) had 40K followers.

My opinion on Rachel is that she was a social climber and a generally lame as fuck. Sure, the situation she got herself into sucked, but she ended up fine. Even Amex dismissed the large bill "because everything was so crazy." I never knew her, but I know 100 bitches just like her, and I can't believe she didn't get fired from Conde Nast. 

- Anna Delvey reiterates over and over in real life, and in the series, that she was "building something." That something, was the Anna Delvey Foundation, ADF. A new exclusive, members only art space at iconic 281 Park Avenue, and she had the backing to do it. She worked her dick off to convince people like André Balazs and Gabriel Calatrava that she was the real deal, and they should be involved. They were all in on the product, she just needed the funds. It was being talked about as newer and better than those pre-existing "clubs," making places like Soho House, Neuehouse and The Wing pale in comparison.

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- This is where things get tricky. Anna now uses her business acumen and general "why does she have this hold on me" charm, to infiltrate several investment firms. Homegirl was on the hook for 40 million in loans, approved and pushed through, without anyone having a single substantial conversation with her "bank" overseas. They had a bid put down on 281 Park, the wheels were in motion for the Anna Delvey Foundation, and they all just trusted that this 26 (a the time) year old girl just had it like that. She was certainly at her most dishonest during this time, but after being chased around Manhattan over outstanding hotel bills, she was arrested and sent to Rikers. Apart from a lot of drama, they money was never actually spent. 

- My personal favorite part of the whole story/series, is that Anna was VERY SERIOUS about her outfits in court. She wanted to be in the news for this case, and she knew she had to look cute. The real life court photos are incredible. Designer shit, the right poses for the paps, all over instagram at the time - she was marketing herself even at her lowest point. (These are real pics of Anna:)

Richard Drew. Shutterstock Images.
Richard Drew. Shutterstock Images.
Richard Drew. Shutterstock Images.

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Richard Drew. Shutterstock Images.

Absolutely incredible. Anna was eventually, on May 9, 2019, sentenced to four to 12 years in prison, fined $24,000, and ordered to pay restitution to her victims. She was released from prison on good behavior on February 11, 2021, but six weeks later, she was taken back into custody by ICE for overstaying her visa, and remains in ICE custody in upstate New York. Anna tells the NYT:

ICE came to see me three times, starting in December 2020, and the final time they just let me know: We’re not interested in you. So I was in shock when I was arrested. I knew it was a possibility, but nothing had changed in my circumstances from six weeks before. So it’s flabbergasting. Why not arrest me straight out of prison? It’s not like I fell through the cracks.

The thing about all of these stories that I love so much, is the fact that everyone who was "swindled" by Anna is so furious that they got got. Yea, Anna got you. You believed her, you threw money at her, you trusted too deeply and you got burned. That sucks, but that's YOUR problem. To be clear - I understand that Anna was dishonest about her life and her background, but despite the fact that she was sentenced to jail, I don't think she's a really a criminal. I think all of the people who blindly believed her background story, let her bully them around into thinking she was rich and expediting paperwork to approve 40 million dollar loans, and then went on to stomp their feet over feeling embarrassed that a 20-something year old woman was able to present a salient business plan to potentially make everyone millions and millions of dollars? Why does it matter if she didn't have the funds to back it up, if everyone's dicks were so hard over the ideas to begin with? 

Anna's current, real thoughts on jail by way of the New York Times:

I don’t think this is such a controversial or radical thought: that prison is really a waste of time and it’s not efficient. Between my arrest and my release, the first officials who asked me any questions about my crime were the parole board.

There are programs for people with drug addiction and people who are sexual offenders and programs for violent inmates. But there’s absolutely nothing for financial crimes. I took a program for culinary arts. That has to say something about this system.

Anna, I hope you see this blog one day, and we can laugh and laugh at all of the simple minded money hungry morons who don't appreciate a woman who knows, and eventually gets, what she wants.