Who is Anna Delvey? The Fake Socialite and Star of Netflix’s New True Crime Series
In 2018, The Cut published an article that caught the attention of the world: A tale about a girl named Anna Delvey—a 20-something-year-old with big ambitions who lived in hip hotels in New York City, a socialite who’s friends with everyone who’s anyone, even befriending Chinese art collector and M Woods Museum co-founder, Michael Xufu Huang back in 2015 when he was still a student at the University of Pennsylvania.
Always dressed in designer brands, and generously giving out US$100 dollar bills to any service staff who comes her way, this was a tale about a seemingly ultra-rich young woman whose life came crashing down after suspicious friends, declined credit cards, and large, unpaid bills got the best of her.
In October 2018, Delvey was arrested in a sting operation, and half a year later, she was found guilty of eight charges including grand larceny in the second degree, attempted grand larceny and theft of services. Fined US$24,000 and ordered to pay US$199,000 in restitution, she was sentenced 4 to 12 years in state prison before being released on February 11, 2021 (and unabashedly celebrating her return by flaunting her Louboutins on Instagram). Just a month after, however, she was taken back into custody for overstaying her visa and is still awaiting deportation to Germany as of today.
Who is Anna, really?
Delvey, whose birth name is actually Anna Sorokin, a 30-year-old Russian-born German woman who pretended to be a German heiress between 2013 and 2017 in New York City. Her real life is far from the glitz and glam fairy tale that she had told wealthy friends and acquaintances. In reality, Delvey was one of the two children in a working-class family: her father was not an oil-industry titan, nor was he the solar panel businessman that she had claimed him to be. Instead, he worked as a truck driver before opening a business specialising in energy-efficient devices.
All about Netflix’s show on Anna Delvey
There’s so much mystery, drama, lies, and a general feeling of shock and disbelief from the public—how was it possible that one girl was able to get away with so much? Now, with Netflix’s upcoming show, Inventing Anna, we’ll learn just that.
Set to premiere in 2022, the series is produced by Netflix and Shondaland. Created by Bridgerton producer, Shonda Rhimes, the cast includes Julia Garner as Delvey, swapping out her gold locks for Delvey’s brown ones. Anna Chlumsky will be playing Vivian, a character based loosely on Jessica Pressler, the journalist who wrote the viral The Cut article. Katie Lowes and Laverne Cox will be taking on the role of Rachel and Neff respectively, two of Delvey’s former friends.
Julia Garner as Anna Delvey (Photo: Courtesy of Netflix)
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix
Michael Xufu Huang, who was one of the first to become suspicious of Delvey does not seem to have a character on the show. In 2015, Huang fronted a US$3,000 bill to cover Delvey’s flights and hotel room for their trip to the Venice Biennale and had to press on the subject in order to be repaid.
Delvey was paid US$320,000 by Netflix for her story, however, due to a law that prevents criminals from profiting from their crime, her bank account is currently frozen. Her victims are also able to make claims to the money first and it’s said that over US$170,000 have been used to pay back banks.
While there hasn’t been a set date or trailer for the show’s release yet, Netflix shared first glimpses of the drama this past week, captioning “This story is completely true...except for all of the parts that aren't”, ramping up plenty of excitement from die-hard followers of this bizarre tale.
Here’s to looking forward to 2022.