At long last, Shonda Rhimes’ Anna Delvey series is finally here. When the “Grey’s Anatomy” creator signed a deal to make new shows for Netflix, one of her first projects was a limited series based on the true story of the “fake heiress” Anna Delvey. While the Rhimes-produced “Bridgerton” (which she does not showrun) was the first show out of the gate from Rhimes’ banner, “Inventing Anna” is finally here and it is created and showrun by Rhimes herself.
Emmy-winning “Ozark” star Julia Garner plays Anna Delvey (real name Anna Sorokin) in the nine-episode series, while Anna Chlumsky fills the role of the reporter trying to find the truth of the story after Delvey goes to prison. The extra-long finale ties up a number of loose ends, but is the “Inventing Anna” finale what happened in real life? Let’s dig into the fact and fiction below.
Did Anna Delvey Really Hire a Stylist for Her Courtroom Appearances?
Yes, she did. After the press began noticing Anna’s stylish courtroom looks, Sorokin’s lawyer Todd Spodek confirmed he had hired a stylist to assist her. “It is imperative that Anna dress appropriately for the trial,” Spodek said in an email obtained by GQ at the time. “Anna’s style was a driving force in her business, and life, and it is a part of who she is. I want the jury to see that side of her and enlisted a stylist to assist in slecting [sic] the appropriate outfits for trial. However the logistics of dropping off trial outfits at Rikers Island doest [sic] not work in our favor. Thanks.”
The stylist hired was Anastasia Walker, and yes, there was an instance where Anna refused to appear before she was dressed appropriately and the judge got upset.
How True Are the Courtroom Scenes?
Pretty true. “Fake it until you make it. Anna had to live by it,” Spodek said in his opening statements, and actor Arian Moayed, who plays Spodek in the series, told TheWrap in a recent interview that the dialogue was lifted directly from the transcripts. “The courtroom stuff was shot pre-pandemic,” Moayed explained, noting that he couldn’t remember how much of the closing arguments were taken from the transcripts. “But I do remember that the opening statements that he gives are definitely taken from what Todd had to say. He brought up Frank Sinatra, he brought up ‘you’ve gotta fake it until you make it’, and I found that a really brilliant way of getting into the jurors’ minds that anyone can be in this situation because we’re all a fake thing on Instagram or whatever.”
What Was Anna Sorokin Convicted Of?
Just as in the show, the real Anna Sorokin was convicted of eight charges including grand larceny in the second degree, attempted grand larceny and theft of services.
The show is also true to real life in that Sorokin was found not guilty of an attempted grand larceny in the first degree charge and a count of larceny in the second degree – the latter relating to the $62,000 she allegedly stole from Rachel Williams during their trip to Marrakesh.
“She was interested in the designer clothes, the champagne, the private jets, the boutique hotel experience and the exotic travel that went along with it — everything that big money could buy,” Justice Kiesel said. “But she didn’t have big money. All she had was a big scam.”
On May 9, 2019, Sorokin was sentenced to 4 to 12 years in state prison, fined $24,000 and was ordered to pay restitution for her debts in the amount of about $199,000.
Where Is Anna Sorokin Now?
Sorokin was released from prison on Feb. 11, 2021 – under four years after she was first arrested.
However, in March 2021 Sorokin was taken into custody by ICE for overstaying her visa. As a German national she faces deportation, but as of February 2022, she is still in ICE custody.
Did Anna Sorokin Get Paid for the Netflix Series?
Yes, Insider reported that Sorokin was paid $320,000 for the rights to make a show about her. Although Shonda Rhimes never met Sorokin, she did dispatch Jessica Pressler – the real-life journalist on whom Anna Chlumsky’s character Vivian is based – to conduct interviews with Sorokin while she was in prison. Development of the Netflix series began before Sorokin stood trial.
What Does Anna Sorokin Think About “Inventing Anna?”
Well, she hasn’t seen it yet. Sorokin released an open letter a week before the show’s debut, bemoaning her ICE isolation. “While the world is pondering Julia Garner’s take on my accent in ‘Inventing Anna,’ a Netflix show about me, the real me sits in a cell in Orange County’s jail in upstate New York, in quarantine isolation,” the letter begins. Sorokin went on to add that even if she could watch the show, she probably wouldn’t: “Even if I were to pull some strings and make it happen, nothing about seeing a fictionalized version of myself in this criminal-insane-asylum setting sounds appealing to me.”