What Netflix's 'Inventing Anna' Got Wrong (According To The Real Anna)
Inventing Anna dramatizes the real story of Anna Sorokin/Anna Delvey, a young woman who pretended to be a German heiress and scammed many people (rich and not so rich) into parting with their money so she could either start her own extremely elite business or just go on a Moroccan holiday for two months. It’s what fake heiresses do.
While the Shonda Rhimes show naturally dramatizes (and sometimes, overdramatizes) some of the real story’s elements, there are certain things that were, well, a bit of a stretch, and others that straight-up didn’t happen. This, according to actual people involved in the case as well as con-artist Anna herself.
There Were No VIP Treatments At Rikers Jail
While the pilot episode makes a big deal about Anna insisting journalist Vivian Kent (based on real life journalist Jessica Pressler from New York magazine) opts for the VIP treatment usually given to the media at Rikers, it’s just not true. A journalist for The New York Times (who also interviewed Anna in jail multiple times), elaborated:
“Those authorized media visits — what the Netflix Anna refers to as the “V.I.P.” visits — are from a Dream Rikers, based on my own experience. Sure, reporters get to skip a few buses when they schedule ahead, but that can take a month to finagle and there’s nothing that feels very V.I.P. at the jail itself.”
They also don’t serve inmates tea in porcelain cups, but we kind of figured that. Anna told the NYT journalist they don’t even have tea.
The Court Outfit Thing Was Misconstrued
The courtroom where Anna’s case was heard looked way shabbier than the one we see in the show, but that’s simply a case of film aesthetics and no big a deal. Anna’s obsession with her court outfits, however, was rooted in the truth but manipulated for entertainment. That’s just “True Crime” for you.
Yes, she did have her own personal stylist for the court, but all those Instagram looks ran out over the course of her trial. Her lawyer and Pressler had to step in, resulting in days where she rejected whatever it was they thought appropriate for her to wear. (It has been pointed out, even in the show, that the rule specifically banning Rikers jumpsuits from being worn in court for fear of jury bias definitely contributed to the problem and could’ve been the easy solution here.)
The Journalist Never Tried To Break Into Anna’s Parents’ German Home
Vivian Kent assisted Anna’s defense with the case; Jessica Pressler didn’t. Kent tried to peep inside Anna’s folks ’home in Germany; Pressler says nah ah, not her. Kent had quite a lot of help from her merry band of co-workers when it came to researching Anna’s case; Pressler did not.
In fact, Pressler — who was portrayed by Julia Stiles in 2019’s Hustlers, a story also based on one of her articles — wasn’t even all too keen on her piece being adapted for Netflix’s limited series.
“It was not a thing I wanted, but I understand the impulse of why they wanted to do it.”
Zanandi is on Twitter.
Top Image: Netflix