Inventing Anna: What You Don't Know About The Real Anna Delvey

"This whole story is completely true, except for all the parts that are totally made up." So begins each episode of Netflix's "Inventing Anna." The story of Anna Delvey has officially captivated us all. The "fake German heiress" became an infamous pop culture icon after a viral essay in The Cut detailed the various scams and lies that led to her almost swindling a major New York City bank out of hundreds of millions of dollars for an art-focused social club called the Anna Delvey Foundation.

And the fascination with Delvey doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. In 2022, Shondaland's nine-part series "Inventing Anna" brought Delvey back into the spotlight. Starring Julia Garner as Delvey and Anna Chlumsky as a fictionalized version of the journalist from The Cut, the show follows Delvey in the months prior to her arrest as she scams her way across the city. With a documentary and another Delvey-inspired show on the way, it's clear our appetite for the "fake heiress" is far from sated.

If you've seen "Inventing Anna" and want to know more about what's "completely true" and what's "totally made up," we've got you covered. Read on for what you don't know about the real Anna Delvey.

Anna Delvey grew up as Anna Sorokin in a working-class Russian family

In "Inventing Anna," we learn that Anna Delvey's real name is Anna Sorokin and that she was born and raised in Russia — even though she claims to be German. This backstory is totally true. Delvey, or Sorokin, as she was originally known, was born in Moscow. According to the Express, Delvey's father, Vadim Sorokin, ran a heating and cooling business, while, according to the Daily Mail, he was, in fact, a "penniless truck driver." The family moved to Eschweiler, Germany, in 2007.

As Delvey's father told the Daily Mail, he pretty much lost touch with her during her years in New York. "I do not have any influence on her life and what she does," he said. He went on to say, "She has a selfish personality, we can't do anything about it. We raised her well." According to an old school friend of Delvey's, she was always smart and obsessed with glamour. "She always loved fashion and bought glossy magazines from the age of 13," her friend recalled.

She changed her name to Anna Delvey while interning at a fashion magazine

According to the Express, Anna Delvey didn't much like life in Germany. In fact, she was eager to "get out." Her first move, as described briefly in "Inventing Anna," was to London's Central Saint Martins. She drops out and moves to Berlin, before leaving for Paris in 2013, where she becomes an intern at the French fashion magazine Purple. According to ArtNet, it was here that she began to make connections with artists and others in the art world, who would eventually feature in her plans for the Anna Delvey Foundation.

While in Paris, Anna Sorokin officially became Anna Delvey. According to the Independent, Delvey's parents have no idea where this name came from. Soon enough, she'd talked her way into getting transferred to the fashion magazine's office in New York — which is where her heiress persona finally came to be (via

The real Anna Delvey created a new identity as a German heiress by scamming others

So, how did Anna Delvey, a relatively poor girl from Russia, manage to convince all of New York City she was a wealthy heiress from Germany? In "Inventing Anna," we see Delvey frequently forgetting to pay for things, claiming to make wire transfers, or blaming her father for temporarily cutting her off financially. With all of these excuses, she manages to trick friends into paying for her flights, clothes, and hotel rooms. It turns out, this story is very much like her real life while living in New York.

As L'Officiel pointed out, New York City's "high volume of trust fund kids" meant that nobody dug too deeply into her story. Delvey established herself as one of New York's elite by befriending other wealthy people in town. She often pretended to forget to pay, and, for the most part, her friends assumed she would eventually pay them back.

She really does have a strange hybrid accent

One of the first things you'll notice in "Inventing Anna" is Julia Garner's truly bizarre accent in the role of Anna Delvey. Her voice is high-pitched and shrill, and she sounds to have a part Russian, part British accent, with some other European countries mixed in. It's a roller coaster of an accent — as the Independent put it, "Every stress and sound comes as a mild surprise."

While the accent is undeniably strange, it turns out, it's not actually Delvey's real speaking voice. After all, Delvey is a Russian trying to sound German. As Garner told Town & Country, she worked tirelessly with a dialect coach to perfect the unique accent — it was, as she put it, "the hardest accent I'll ever do."

As far as the real Delvey is concerned, Garner's attempt isn't too far off, but it's not perfect. "Some of it she gets right — but not everything," the real Delvey told Insider. She also had some thoughts about the docuseries — and why she's not watching. It's hard to believe that any real person could have that strange accent — but, if anyone could, it's Anna Delvey!

The real Anna Delvey may have had a boyfriend like Chase in Inventing Anna

The first three episodes of "Inventing Anna" center around Anna Delvey's relationship with a young tech entrepreneur named Chase Sikorski. On the show, she and her boyfriend are both trying to start their own respective businesses. Chase even finds out about Delvey's real origins and agrees to keep helping her. So, did the real Delvey have a boyfriend-slash-business accomplice?

As Men's Health pointed out, there is no real Chase Sikorski. However, there are a few good real-life contenders who could have served as inspiration for the character. In the viral essay about Delvey in The Cut, Delvey is described as dating someone "on the TED-Talks circuit who'd been profiled in The New Yorker." Apparently, this guy really did move to the Emirates, so this certainly narrows it down. According to the New York Post, it could have been Shingy or Ray Kurzweil, who both did their own TED Talks and were each profiled by The New Yorker. Hunter Lee Soik is another contender — he was working on an app "dream database" before moving to Dubai. It sounds like Delvey really did have a tech boyfriend IRL who was a lot like Chase!

The real Anna Delvey likely did have at least one mentor, as seen in Inventing Anna

In "Inventing Anna," Kate Burton plays Nora Radford, a wealthy older woman who briefly becomes a business mentor to Anna Delvey, introducing her to various elite members of New York City's art world. Delvey also uses Radford's credit card to buy herself a whole wardrobe of pricey designer items, ultimately swindling her out of $40,000.

So, was Radford based on a real person from Delvey's life? Well, according to actress Julia Garner, the character was based on a real person. So, while Nora isn't the name of the real person, she could be based on an anonymous person or an amalgamation of people from Delvey's life in New York. It's hard to say for sure. But, there is no mention of a mentor in the famous essay in The Cut, so she could be completely made up.

Anna Delvey was actually profiled by a real journalist similar to Vivian Kent

While Anna Delvey is a big part of "Inventing Anna," the show also places much of its focus on the journalist who brings her story to light. On the show, she's known as Vivian Kent — in real life, her name is Jessica Pressler.

Even though Kent is a fictionalized version of Pressler, a lot of what you see on the show is true. Just like Kent, Pressler was desperate to write a great story about Delvey after she wrote a story about someone who lied to her in an interview and jeopardized her career. Just like Kent, Pressler interviewed Delvey in prison and spoke to many of her friends and victims to piece together her story. She was even pregnant in real life, too (via the Independent). As Pressler told Vulture, she didn't initially want to be featured in the show. "​​It was not a thing I wanted, but I understand the impulse of why they wanted to do it," she said.

Even though Pressler is the real-life Kent, one thing about her portrayal on the show is a little exaggerated. As Pressler told InStyle, she didn't really go into labor moments after finishing her piece on Delvey!

The private jet incident in Inventing Anna is based on truth

In "Inventing Anna," Anna Delvey does a lot of crazy stuff. One of her most insane stunts is booking and flying in a private jet — without ever paying. On the show, Delvey manages to trick Blade, the private jet company, into letting her on board by befriending the CEO, forging a wire transfer, and then blaming the staff for being incompetent when they ask for payment.

Apparently, a lot of this actually happened in real life, too. The real CEO of Blade, Rob Wiesenthal, was an acquaintance of Delvey's. As Kathleen McCormack, the company's chief financial officer, said in her official court testimony, Wiesenthal "had briefly socially run into her, and him knowing her through those circles, we felt she was good for payment, so we booked her for the flight." By the sounds of things, Delvey's situation didn't even seem that strange at the time. "We've let people slide in the past, quite frankly, and they've paid," McCormack said (via Rolling Stone).

Anna Delvey really did swindle her friend out of $62,000

In "Inventing Anna," things really start to crumble around Anna Delvey when she's on vacation in Morocco with two friends. While she's waiting for her loan to come through, her funds are becoming dangerously low. She tells her friends that she's having trouble with her bank, and her friend, Rachel, offers to use her card as a hold until Delvey's bank problems are resolved. In the end, Delvey charges everything to Rachel's card — the total comes to over $60,000.

All of this is pretty much true — Rachel DeLoache Williams was a friend of Anna Delvey's who was scammed out of $62,000 on a trip to Morocco. And, she did write a Vanity Fair piece about her experience.

But, even though the basic facts of Rachel's story are true, the real life Rachel wasn't happy with how she was portrayed on the show. "From what I've seen of the series so far: [actress Katie] Lowes's concern for accuracy, when it comes to portraying me as I am, seems limited to the spelling of my full name," she told Vanity Fair. As far as she is concerned, "The story profits [Anna]. This is a narrative designed to create empathy for a character who lacks it."

The fake heiress did scam multiple hotels, where she lived without paying

One of the most impressive cons in "Inventing Anna" is when she manages to live in a boutique New York City hotel rent-free for months on end. Because she tips the staff with $100 bills, she is able to convince them that she has the means to pay her bills. On the show, one concierge staff member, Neff, even becomes friendly with Delvey.

It seems that all of this really did happen. Neff is based on Neffatari Davis, who worked at 11 Howard in real life. "She told me her name was Anna Delvey and tipped me a hundred bucks just for telling her where the best places to eat were," Davis told The Sun. And, just as the show portrays, the hotel staff eventually did realize they never had a credit card for Delvey on file, even though she'd racked up a bill of over $30,000. According to the newspaper, Delvey did eventually pay her bill by "cheque kiting," a process that involves opening two accounts at different banks, writing a check from one to the other, then withdrawing the money before the first bank catches on.

Anna Delvey did actually come close to swindling New York banks out of millions

In "Inventing Anna," Anna Delvey tries to swindle several large banks out of millions of dollars, as she wants a loan to pay for her business, the Anna Delvey Foundation. On the show, Delvey comes very close to securing her loan. But did she come this close in real life?

According to Insider, most of what you see on the show is true. Delvey did meet with bankers who took her loan application seriously. As Rolling Stone reported, she was under consideration for a $22 million loan from Fortress Bank so she could lease 281 Park Avenue South to house her fictitious foundation. To convince the lawyers and bankers she was a wealthy heiress who could afford such a loan, she concocted fraudulent documents that claimed she had a trust fund of $60 million euros. She even used a voice-disguising app to impersonate a made-up German banker in her efforts to get the loan (via the Independent).

She was obsessed with dressing well — even in court

In "Inventing Anna," we get to see Anna Delvey's trial. One of Delvey's main concerns going into the trial is what she will wear. It turns out, Delvey really was obsessed with dressing in designer clothes throughout her trial in real life, too.

For her court appearances, Delvey worked with Anastasia Walker, a stylist and friend of Neffatari Davis. Apparently, Walker reached out to Delvey's team because she thought Delvey should wear designer clothes rather than the H&M outfit her legal team had purchased. "Anna and I talked on the phone about what she was interested in wearing," Walker told Elle. Walker explained that she chose "some timeless pieces" for her to wear, adding that the famous black choker was "all Anna's idea."

Delvey's outfits during the trial became infamous — there's even an Instagram account dedicated to her looks that has over 19,000 followers, as of this writing.

Anna Delvey really did go to prison

After her many scams, it should come as no surprise to learn that the real Anna Delvey was eventually sent to prison. In May 2019, Delvey was charged on eight counts and sentenced to a term of four to 12 years in prison. She was also fined $24,000 and charged almost $200,000 in restitution to her victims. Even after her conviction, Delvey told The New York Times, "I'm not sorry." After serving nearly four years, she was released early in February 2021 because of good behavior (via ABC).

Shortly after her release, however, Delvey was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement because she had reportedly overstayed her visa in the U.S., according to Insider. As Delvey wrote in an essay for Insider, she was arrested while trying to renew her visa. As of February 2022, Delvey is still in custody awaiting deportation to Germany. As she put it, "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."

Netflix paid her $320,000 to produce Inventing Anna

What's next for Anna Delvey? Well, even though she's still being held in custody by ICE, she has profited from all of the fascination with her story. For one thing, Netflix paid her $320,000 for the rights to tell her story. According to Delvey, she used this money pretty quickly. "I paid $198,000-something for restitution, which I have paid off in its entirety and right away, and the rest of it to my legal fees," she told The New York Times (via the Independent).

But, she may still benefit from the show in other ways. As Delvey explained to the Daily Mail, she's currently working on a memoir that will be even "more sensational" than the TV show. "That's the only good thing I've been able to achieve while I'm in [prison] — I definitely have a lot of time to write. I'm in talks with different publishers," she said. And, as she told ABC, she "would like to show the world that I'm not this dumb, greedy person." Like it or not, it sounds like this show isn't the last we'll hear of Anna Delvey.