“Inventing Anna” on Netflix is everyone’s delicious binge watch obsession this winter. Starring Julia Garner as Anna “Delvey” Sorokin, the 9-episode series tells the story of the fake German (really Russian) heiress named Anna, who swooped into Manhattan in 2014 and set about establishing herself as an ‘It’ girl with big business plans and a huge trust fund. The trust fund did not exist, month long stays at various swanky hotels were never paid, and somehow, the check — or in this case, the German wire transfer — was always in the mail.
In reality, she was a Russian-born girl named Anna Sorokin, who moved to Germany as a teen. As a young woman, she decamped to Paris, started using the last name Delvey, made her way to New York and a grifter legend was born, with an Instagram account that depicted a glamorous, jet-setting life.
If you find yourself desperate for more Anna content after finishing the series, look no further than “My Friend Anna: The True Story of the Fake Heiress Who Conned Me and Half of New York City” (Gallery Books) by Rachel DeLoache Williams. (Bizarrely, Williams is depicted unsympathetically in the series, while Anna is, at times, presented as some sort of feminist antihero rather than a lying thief.
Published in 2019, the book is the account of Williams’ friendship with Delvey — who invited Williams on a trip to Morocco, where they stayed at a $7,500-per-night private villa at five-star La Mamounia hotel. But complications arose — as they always did with Anna — and it turned out her credit cards did not work. Faced with the possible involvement of the Moroccan police over nonpayment, Williams produced her own credit cards and was assured by Anna that she would pay her back as soon as they returned to the US.
This was a lie, and Williams was left with a bill of $62,000, much of it on her corporate credit card. Williams would eventually contact the NY district attorney and assist in setting up a sting operation that caught Delvey.
“This show is playing a fine line — peddling it as a true story, but also [in the title sequence disclaimer] saying, ‘except all the parts that aren’t,’” Williams recently told the Vanity Fair newsletter. “At what point is the half-truth more dangerous than the lie?”