In the year 2018, journalist Jessica Pressler wrote a highly researched article about Anna Sorokin that would be an eye-opener for many in the world. It would show people how comfortably someone could commit larceny, but more importantly how easy it was to trick them if someone really put their mind to it.
Basically, that most of them were at the mercy of good intentions because, in the real world, it would be very tough for them to find out if someone was bluffing even though there was ample evidence to prove it. All of it because this bluff lied, like everyone, but better than everyone.
The story of Anna has recently been adapted into a new Netflix show Inventing Anna, and here’s who she really is and what she really did.
Born to Russian Parents, Anna Sorokin moved to Germany to complete her school education. Here, she had trouble fitting in, but she managed to get an internship at the Purple Magazine in Paris.
However, she was later transferred to the New York office of the magazine because she had some rift with her colleagues. On reaching New York, she changed her name to Anna Delvey.
Anna soon started working on the idea of opening an art gallery, which would be more like an experience for the richest names of New York.
Except, she did not have the money to do it. So, she started pretending to be a German heiress, with huge loads of cash in her Swiss bank account that she would talk about “wiring” often, but never actually did.
What Anna did do, was tip. Wherever she’d go, she’d tip in hundreds of dollars. To each person. In the original article about Anna Delvey, Jessica quotes her friend Neff as saying:
She gave to everyone. Uber drivers, $100 cash. Meals – listen. You know how you reach for your credit card? She wouldn’t let me.
Anna created a sort of persona where it would be tough for anyone to believe that she was not coming from money. She was mean on top of that. She played the part of a wealthy, ambitious, snooty brat – and people did not just buy her act, they wanted to be her friend.
The elite can often disengage from those who they do not consider to be elite enough. Anna disengaged with the elite, making them feel…inadequate? She played their game and came out on top.
Well, for a bit. Most people found out that she was a fraud, sooner or later. Michael Xufu Huang, an art collector, took Anna with him to an exclusive event. More like, Anna asked to accompany. Later, Huang found himself paying for her accommodation and food – basically everything. This was NOT a part of the deal.
She paid him back later, but the things seemed very shady to him. He failed to raise an alarm, though, and Anna went on with her business. She applied for loans for the “Anna Delvey Foundation” with the biggest banks, and her plans for the art gallery were not small. She wanted the best of everything. The best building, the best food, the best art.
Why would anyone dream so big if they can’t afford it? Trust me, it is a question the richest of us ask. because Anna secured meetings with people you could never imagine she would.
She sold the idea that she is rich with so much confidence, no one questioned her.
Around this time, though, she befriended Vanity Fair editor Rachel DeLoach Williams. This proved to be her undoing. The two went on a trip to Morocco, where expectedly (for us, now), Anna’s card declined. Not knowing how to come out of the situation, Rachel gave her cards which were charged for $62,000.
Anna did not pay her back and unlike, Huang, Rachel was having none of it. At this point, Anna was already being investigated for charges of bank fraud and it was a fake lunch with Rachel that got her behind the bars.
Anna would write false cheques to herself and in a lot of cases, get the cash, with which she’d pay at the hotels. This is also how she possibly gave a major chunk of those tips and got into these expensive hotels without submitting a credit card.
Her final bill would turn out to be enormously bigger than anything she had spent, and she’d be evicted.
Anyway, when Rachel said she’d meet her for a meal, Anna believed it. For someone who could always think 5 steps ahead of people, she failed miserably this time and that was that.
Though in jail, she thoroughly maintained that she did not do anything for money. She did it for her dream, apparently.
If I really wanted the money, I would have better and faster ways to get some. Resilience is hard to come by, but not capital.
With a person who has so many layers to their personality, and not to mention, is constantly bluffing, it’s tough to say if she meant it, or this too was a trick to fool the world.
And if you don’t know whether she was trying to fool people, you can’t know if she succeeded.
Looking back, the signs were everywhere. She always paid for everything…small. It’s like if you were to go to a supermarket, she’d pay for the chips, the wafers, the coke – even the water you could have if the shopping was tiring you out. You’d think she had money. So you’d plan to buy a new sofa you don’t really need from the furniture section with her. And she’d agree. But she won’t pay. Because she can’t.
You don’t know that, though, so you go ahead and spend 50,000. She pays 1.5. That was her whole deal and it’s easy to sound like I have got it all figured out, but this is me after 10 days of watching her life story. I keep wondering if I would have gone to the furniture section with her! We’ll never know.
Anna was consequently found guilty of 8 charges, and sentenced to a minimum of 12 years in jail. She was released in 2021.