Historical Accuracy (Q&A):Where was Anna Delvey born?
The Inventing Anna true story reveals that Anna Delvey, whose real name is Anna Sorokin, was born on January 23, 1991 in the working-class city of Domodedovo located southeast of Moscow in the densely populated Moscow Oblast region of Russia. Her school friends remembered her as being "strong in character" and a person who "could easily offend" others with subtle mockery. They recalled her favorite film as being Mean Girls because she found similarities between her group of friends and the teens in the movie. They also said that she gave the impression that she was a happy, positive person, but in reality, she lied often, including to her parents. They said that Anna dreamed of becoming a fashion journalist. -spb.kp.ru
In 2007, when Anna was 16, she relocated to Germany with her younger brother and parents and attended one of Germany's most advanced secondary schools, the gymnasium in Eschweiler, a small town near Cologne. After graduating in 2011, she headed to London to attend fashion school at Central Saint Martins college. She dropped out and went back to Berlin for an internship in the fashion department of a public relations firm. This was prior to her relocating to Paris to work as an intern for the French fashion magazine Purple. While working at Purple, she began calling herself Anna Delvey, a surname that her parents say is unfamiliar to them (despite Anna trying to claim it was her mother's maiden name).
Did Anna Delvey pretend to be a German heiress?Yes. In 2019, Delvey (born Anna Sorokin) told The New York Times that she came to New York City for Fashion Week in 2013 and decided to move there permanently because she had found more friends there than in Paris. Initially, she transferred to Purple magazine's New York office and worked there for a short time. She established her identity as Anna Delvey and began to claim she was a German heiress with 60 million in euro wealth overseas. The only part of this fake identity that had a shred of truth is that although she was born in Russia, Anna had lived in Germany during her high school years and is a German citizen. As for the heiress part, her father had worked as a truck driver when she was growing up in Russia and her mother had owned a small convenience store prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom after her younger brother was born. They were far from wealthy elites.
Anna Delvey (left) as pictured in the pitch booklet for her foundation. Actress Julia Garner is pictured on the right in the Netflix mini-series.
Her ruse became more convincing after she used her fake identity to infiltrate celebrity circles. Anna Delvey's celebrity friends included Macaulay Culkin, with whom she was acquainted. Culkin even attended a dinner she hosted (New York magazine). She told people she hoped to open a private art club for the wealthy called the Anna Delvey Foundation. She lived full-time in hotels, underwent pricey beauty treatments (including $400 eyelash extensions), and wore expensive designer clothing, including Gucci sandals and her trademark Celine glasses. She pulled out crisp $100 bills as if they were in unlimited supply.How long did Anna Delvey operate as a con artist?
Anna Delvey, con artist and phony German heiress, implemented her fake-it-til-you-make-it strategy and scams between 2015 and 2017, the year she was arrested.
Did Anna Delvey con a man into paying for her to go to an art exhibition in Venice with him?
Anna Delvey (left) started her criminal scams around 2015. Julia Garner (right) portrays her in the Inventing Anna
Yes. After Anna met University of Pennsylvania student Michael Xufu Huang at a dinner party in 2015, the two realized they had a love of art in common. Michael hoped to open a private art museum and Anna had come up with a plan to start an art foundation and private club for the wealthy called the Anna Delvey Foundation. An Inventing Anna fact-check confirms that upon discovering that Michael was planning to go to the Venice Biennale art exhibition, Anna asked if she could tag along. He paid for her flight and hotel room with the understanding that she would pay him back.Did Anna Delvey really con a friend into paying for a trip to Morocco?Yes. The Inventing Anna true story confirms that Delvey had invited her close friend Rachel DeLoache Williams on an "all-expenses-paid" trip to Marrakesh, Morocco in May 2017, at least that's what she told Williams. Delvey intended the trip to be part of a documentary on the creation of her foundation and framed it as a business expense. She also brought her $300-an-hour personal trainer, Kacy Duke, and a videographer along on the trip.
After returning to New York, Anna never reimbursed him. Initially, he assumed she'd forgot, but then he attended her January 2016 birthday party at SoHo's Sadelle's restaurant. After the party, he was contacted by the restaurant and asked if he had Anna's contact information. She had given the restaurant a bogus credit card number and contact details. It was then that Michael began to suspect that Anna Delvey was a con artist. He insisted that she pay him and she eventually did, but the money came from a Venmo account with a name he didn't recognize.
A day and a half into the trip, Rachel DeLoache Williams became concerned when Anna Delvey's credit card wouldn't work in a marketplace. Delvey asked her if she could foot the bill for $1,300 worth of dresses, stating that she would pay her back. By that point, Delvey already owed Wiliams "a little bit of money" from expenses on the trip over. "So I began sort of in for a penny in for a pound fronting costs outside of the hotel," says Williams, including paying for shopping items and a trip to Morocco's Majorelle Garden. "As the week goes on, it becomes obvious there's tension between Anna and the hotel managers," Williams adds.
Rachel DeLoache Williams and Anna Delvey in real life. Right:
Actresses Julia Garner and Katie Lowes as Anna and Rachel in the mini-series. Photo: Rachel DeLoache Williams/Netflix
After spending several days in the country, the $7,000-a-night hotel where they were staying was unable to charge Anna Delvey's credit cards and told Delvey they needed a functioning card on file. Delvey pressured Williams into putting her card on file, telling her it would only be temporary. The hotel told them that the bill would need to be settled when they checked out. Rachel DeLoache Williams checked out earlier than the others. It was only later that she realized the entire bill for their stay went onto her card. The charges for the trip totaled over $62,000, more than Williams earned in a year. Despite Delvey repeatedly assuring Williams she'd be reimbursed for the expenses, the wire transfer never happened. -Doctor Oz
Pictured below are text messages between Delvey and Williams in which Williams says that she's become sick with worry over not having received the reimbursement from Delvey.
Rachel DeLoache Williams would go on to write a book about Anna Delvey and how she helped bring her former friend to justice, titled My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress.
Did Anna Delvey attempt to con a bank into giving her a $22 million loan to start a private arts club?Yes. Anna attempted to get a loan from banks after private investors turned her down. In researching how true is Inventing Anna, we learned that she sought a $22 million loan to start the Anna Delvey Foundation, an arts foundation and private club for the rich. Like in the Netflix mini-series, she had even found a location, six floors in a building on Park Avenue in New York City (pictured below). In November 2016, she approached City National Bank for the loan and produced fake bank documents that showed she had access to approximately €60 million held in Swiss bank accounts. They refused to give her the money when she was unable to produce bank statements to verify the amount in the Swiss accounts.
Anna Delvey hoped to house her foundation in this building on Park Avenue in New York City.
She then went to Fortress Investment Group with the loan application. They told her they would review the application if she paid $100,000 to cover the legal fees associated with the application and the review process. She went back to City National Bank and persuaded an employee to allow her to take a temporary overdraft in the amount of $100,000 to cover the fees, promising she would pay it back swiftly.
One of Fortress Investment Group's managing directors noticed some irregularities with Anna's loan application, including her claim that she was of German heritage despite her passport indicating that she was born in Russia. The director intended to set up a meeting with Anna's Swiss bankers to verify her accounts. It was then that she withdrew the application to stop her con from being exposed. Fortress gave her back $55,000, the part of her payment that wasn't used in the halted application process. She used the money on hotel stays and luxury clothing. -The New York TimesDid Anna Delvey con luxury New York hotels into letting her stay?
Yes. In February 2017, Delvey began staying at the 11 Howard hotel in Lower Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood. In a short time, she developed a reputation with the staff as a generous cash tipper, often handing them a $100 bill for elementary tasks. After living at the $400/night boutique hotel for several months and racking up a bill of $30,000, the hotel discovered she didn't have a credit card on file. In an attempt to persuade the staff to allow her to prolong her stay, she sent a bottle of Dom Pérignon champagne vintage 1975 to the concierge desk. Her plan backfired since hotel policy prevented the staff from accepting gifts.Is Anna Delvey's boyfriend in the series, Chase Sikorski, based on a real person?Yes. In researching Inventing Anna's accuracy, we discovered that Anna's boyfriend in the mini-series, Chase Sikorski (Saamer Usmani), was loosely inspired by an unnamed boyfriend of Anna's mentioned in Jessica Pressler's New York magazine article. In the series, Chase is looking for seed money for his app Wake, which supposedly captures and crowdsources data related to dreams. The app itself isn't real and was included in the series to pose the question, why is Anna's ploy a crime and not Chase's, meaning why are some schemes criminal and not others?
Desperate to remain in the 11 Howard, Delvey deposited $160,000 in bogus checks into an account at Citibank in April 2017 and had access to $70,000 before the checks bounced. She wired the 11 Howard enough to pay her outstanding bill. However, the hotel still evicted her since she couldn't provide them with a credit card to keep on file.
After she returned from a trip to Morocco that she conned her friend Rachel DeLoache Williams into paying for, she began staying at the Beekman Hotel in May 2017. Again, she was allowed to book without providing a credit card. Roughly three weeks later, management at the Beekman had enough of her promises and demanded that she pay her $11,518 bill. They kicked her out when she refused to provide payment.
In exploring the Inventing Anna fact vs. fiction, we learned that she next went to the W New York Union Square hotel in Manhattan. She tried getting away with not providing a credit card, but they kicked her out after only two days. Both the Beekman Hotel and W Hotels went after Delvey for theft of services.
Jessica Pressler's article describes Anna Delvey's boyfriend as "a futurist on the TED-Talks circuit who'd been profiled in The New Yorker." They were together in some form "for about two years" and were frequently seen amongst the "itinerant wealthy." Anna's boyfriend did have an app, but it never materialized. He ended up moving to the Emirates.
Is Anna Delvey's best friend Neff in the series based on a real person?
Anna Delvey's boyfriend in the mini-series, Chase Sikorski, was inspired by an unnamed boyfriend in Jessica Pressler's New York
Yes. As indicated in the side-by-side photos at the top, Neff is a real person. Her full name is Neffatari Davis. Neff met Anna Delvey while working as a concierge at the 11 Howard hotel in New York City's SoHo district. Their friendship began when Anna slipped Neff a $100 bill. Anna dished out such lavish tips in an effort to persuade the hotel staff to overlook the fact that she hadn't been paying and didn't have a working credit card on file.Did Anna Delvey have her own fitness trainer?
Yes. In Jessica Pressler's New York magazine article, Kacy Duke is described as a "personal trainer–slash–life coach" who Anna Delvey had found online. The "svelte, ageless Oprah-esque figure" had worked with celebrities like Dakota Johnson. According to the Inventing Anna true story, Delvey had purchased a package of training sessions for $4,500 that equated to roughly $300 per session. She paid in cash. The biggest difference between Kacy in the mini-series and real life is that actress Laverne Cox, who portrays Kacy Duke in the series, is a transgender woman. The real Kacy Duke is not transgender.Did Anna Delvey fly on a private jet?Yes. In May 2017, Delvey convinced the aviation startup company Blade to charter her a private plane to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting in an attempt to meet billionaire Warren Buffett, the company's CEO. To improve her chances of meeting Buffett, she brought along a hedge fund executive who was a friend of his. She sent Blade a forged confirmation that she had made a wire transfer from a Deutsche Bank. She also had in her possession the business card of Blade's CEO, who she had encountered at Soho House. He would later state that he didn't actually know her, only in passing. She never paid the bill for the $35,400 flight. -Daily Mail
"Kacy's definitely not trans," said actress Laverne Cox. "The real-life Kacy Duke, who's still alive, said 'yes' and that's wonderful, and Shonda [Rimes] said 'yes, Laverne is the person to do this.'" -attitude
How much money did Anna Delvey con friends, banks, and New York hotels out of?
Anna conned the private aviation company Blade into flying her to Nebraska. Photo: Instagram/Netflix
It is estimated that in total, con artist Anna Delvey (born Anna Sorokin) swindled banks, New York hotels, an aviation company, and her high-society friends out of approximately $275,000. -Daily MailDid a reporter really expose Anna Delvey's fraudulent luxurious lifestyle?
Yes. In determining how true is Inventing Anna, we learned that journalist Jessica Pressler outed Anna Delvey's fraudulent lifestyle in her May 28, 2018 New York magazine article "How Anna Delvey Tricked New York's Party People," which became the basis for the Inventing Anna Netflix mini-series. Pressler is fictionalized and renamed Vivian Kent in the series. The character works for a fictional magazine called Manhattan and is portrayed by actress Anna Chlumsky (My Girl).
Jessica Pressler previously wrote the 2015 article "The Hustlers at Scores," which was turned into the 2019 film Hustlers starring Jennifer Lopez.
What was Anna Delvey's punishment?Born Anna Sorokin, she was found guilty of eight charges in April 2019. They included multiple counts of attempted grand larceny, larceny in the second degree, and theft of services. Sentenced to between four and 12 years in state prison in 2019, Anna was granted time served for the two years she was in prison awaiting her trial and was released seven months early on February 11, 2021 as a result of both good behavior and the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, she spent over three years in prison. Anna Delvey's punishment also included a fine of $24,000 and she was ordered to pay restitution of approximately $199,000. Her fans announced her freedom by stating things like, "The Queen is free!" and "The Queen is back in NYC." -Daily Mail
Journalist Jessica Pressler (left) and actress Anna Chlumsky (right) in the Netflix mini-series.
Did Anna Delvey hire a celebrity stylist for her court appearances?
Anna Delvey was sentenced to between four and 12 years for her crimes.
Yes. Anna Delvey hired celebrity stylist Anastasia Walker to pick out her court attire. Delvey was connected to Walker through their mutual friend, Neff Davis, portrayed by Alexis Floyd in the Netflix mini-series. Walker talked to Delvey on the phone about potential outfits and what themes she wanted them to convey. The tabloids ended up focusing more on Anna Delvey's court looks than the case. Their is even an Instagram account dedicated to Anna Delvey's court looks. -ElleWhere did Anna Delvey serve time in prison?
Convicted under her real name, Anna Sorokin, the con artist was held for 19 months in Rikers Island jail (pictured below). After her sentencing, she served time at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, the largest women's prison in the state of New York. She was eventually transferred to Albion Correctional Facility, a medium-security women's prison where she spent 21 months.
What is Anna Delvey's Instagram account?In conducting our Inventing Anna fact-check, we discovered that she still goes by her alias on social media. Anna Delvey's Instagram account is theannadelvey and her new Twitter account is @theannadelvey. At the height of her fame as a fake German heiress and New York socialite, she had over 40,000 Instagram followers. Today, that number has risen to over 150,000, with many more to come after the release of the Netflix series. Anna says that her old Twitter account, @AnnaDelvey, which she started in January 2017, was locked down by Twitter. In some of her first posts on her new Twitter account, she trolled Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, the man responsible for locking her up. She also asked her followers for money. She later removed those Tweets. -Daily Mail
Anna Delvey spent 19 months in the notorious Rikers Island jail in New York City.
How much did Netflix pay Anna Delvey?
Anna Delvey says that her old Twitter account was locked down after her arrest. She started a new Twitter account @theannadelvey after her release from prison.
Real name Anna Sorokin, she had been paid an advance of $140,000 by Netflix in 2019 in anticipation of the television series the streaming giant was planning to create. However, the New York Attorney General's office sued Sorokin, citing New York's "Son of Sam" law, which states that an individual convicted of a crime cannot profit off the subsequent publicity they receive as a result, including book, movie and TV deals. The law was put in place in 1977 when it was discovered that serial killer David Berkowitz, nicknamed the "Son of Sam," had been offered money for a tell-all book about his crimes.Did actress Julia Garner meet Anna Delvey to prepare for the role?Yes. While investigating the Inventing Anna true story, we learned that Ozark actress Julia Garner met with the then-29-year-old Anna Delvey when the con artist was incarcerated at Rikers Island. Of the fake heiress and conwoman, Garner stated that Delvey is "really funny," "super soft-spoken and gentle." Garner emphasized that she tried to go into the meeting without prejudging her subject. "Going into any part, you can't have too many negative thoughts because you don't want to [go into] a character judging them. You can't dislike the person you're going to play for eight, nine months." She added that she tried to see things from Delvey's point of view. -Wall Street Journal
Anna Sorokin's payment was frozen by the state's Office of Victim Services (OVS). City National Bank and Citibank, who had both been defrauded by Sorokin, were given $100,000 and $40,000 of the money, respectively. Future payments were to go into an escrow account set up by Anna Sorokin's lawyer, Todd Spodek. The account is also being monitored by the OVS. As of February 15, 2021, she had been paid at least $320,000 from Netflix and has paid back $200,000 in restitution (NY Post).
This is opposite to the approach Lady Gaga took when it came to her House of Gucci subject, Patrizia Reggiani. She openly expressed a dislike for her and opted not to meet her. Granted in that case, Gaga's subject had paid to have her ex-husband murdered, but it would be difficult to argue that an in-person meeting wouldn't have helped her to better embody the character.
Was Anna Delvey deported?
Anna Delvey (left) is pictured in 2021 and on the right is actress Julia Garner as Delvey in the mini-series.
Anna's followers noticed an abrupt stop in her social media posts in March 2021. This is because she was taken into custody by ICE on March 25, 2021 for overstaying her visa. She was held in Orange County jail in Goshen, New York and was in ICE custody through October 2021. Her lawyer had appealed her deportation and applied for her to be granted asylum. It appears Anna was still being detained more than three months later in early February 2022, around the time of the mini-series' release on Netflix. -Business InsiderHas Anna Delvey displayed remorse for the crimes she committed and friends she defrauded?
"The thing is, I'm not sorry," Delvey said the day after she was sentenced. "I'd be lying to you and to everyone else and to myself if I said I was sorry for anything. I regret the way I went about certain things." -The New York Times
Months later at a parole board hearing in October 2019, she offered her first apology for her crimes. "I just want to say that I'm really ashamed and I'm really sorry for what I did," she stated at the hearing. "I completely understand that a lot of people suffered when I thought I was not doing anything wrong." To many people, the aptly-timed apology seemed more like another manipulation, this time to convince the parole board to let her out of prison. -New York Post
Her former friend Rachel DeLoache Williams told Doctor Oz that she thinks Anna Delvey will never stop trying to con people. "I don't think Anna will ever stop manipulating people around her to her own advantage."