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On February 18th, 2017 Anna Delvey checked into 11 Howard, a boutique hotel in SoHo. But there was no Anna Delvey. Instead there was Anna Sorokin, a young Russian woman with a string of maxed out credit cards and forged wire transfer receipts. Rachel Williams, a Vanity fair writer, recounts this in her book “Inventing Anna”. Anna infiltrated the city throughout the mid 2000s, seemingly knowing everyone who was anyone worth knowing. She was at all the best parties and nicest dinners (which she often charged to her room at 11 Howard). But when the hotel finally realized no money was coming, Anna was left trying to stay on her personal trainer’s couch, or with her close friend, WIlliams, to whom Anna owed a cool $62,000. 

Anna met Rachel clubbing in New York in 2016. The two became fast friends, but Anna led the way. Expensive dinners, and private spa experiences, and eventually on a fateful trip to Morocco that ended in Williams footing almost the entire bill, on personal and Vanity Fair company credit cards. 

When Anna’s story began to fall apart and Williams realized that money wasn’t really on its way, she tried her luck with the NYPD. She kept working with detectives, but more interestingly she began to work with HBO and a publishing company. According to associate editor of Deadline, Valerie Complex, these deals landed her close to $300,000. Notably, in her book My friend, Anna she neglects to mention this other than admonishing the court for bringing it up. 

According to Vanity Fair editorial assistant, Savannah Walsh, While HBO bought the story from Williams, Netflix went to Sorokin. “Inventing Anna” premiered in February of 2022 to critical acclaim. But not from Williams, who is suing Netflix for the show’s depiction of her as defamation. Williams’s real name and likeness are used in the show, which is based in truth but not biographical. WIlliams claims the show portrays her as “greedy, snobbish, disloyal, dishonest, cowardly, manipulative, and opportunistic.”

My friend, Anna was published in July of 2019. This book is how Williams sees herself and explains her personal take on the situation. Yet, as a reader I still found myself rooting for Anna. Williams portrays herself as a clueless and naive victim, as if she didn’t hand over her cards in Morocco. Anna is obviously a criminal (she spent four years in prison), but it may be time for Williams to do some introspection, and it may be that Netflix is the thing to spur that. 

Only time will tell if Williams can win against the media giant, but for now the damage is done. Williams needs to reevaluate her strategy if she wants the public to think of Anna as anything other than “badass” and her as anything other than “kind of annoying.” 

Claudia is a freshman at Michigan State. She’s a journalism major with a passion for celebrity gossip, and post punk. You kind find her everywhere by googling “Claudia Braesch” and exploring her link tree
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