How much of Inventing Anna really happened? (Fact vs fiction)

Inventing Anna. (L to R) Julia Garner as Anna Delvery, Saamer Usmani as Chase Sikorski in episode 102 of Inventing Anna. Cr. Aaron Epstein/Netflix © 2021
Inventing Anna. (L to R) Julia Garner as Anna Delvery, Saamer Usmani as Chase Sikorski in episode 102 of Inventing Anna. Cr. Aaron Epstein/Netflix © 2021 /

Inventing Anna has finally premiered on Netflix, and fans of creator Shonda Rhimes and star Julia Garner (Ozark) are in for a real wild story with this one. Based on the real-life Anna Delvey (real name Anna Sorokin) and her trial after swindling New York City’s elite, the series follows journalist Vivian Kent (Anna Chlumsky) as she investigates the truth (and all the lies) behind Anna’s life.

Each episode of Inventing Anna opens with the same line: “This whole story is completely true. Except for all the parts that are totally made up,” leaving many wondering what exactly did happen and what was fabricated for TV. Well, we know Anna is a real person, and she certainly did scam a lot of people. Some of the smallest details in the show, for example Anna being known as a big tipper at a hotel she lived at, are true, while others simply have no truth to them.

Below we break down some of the biggest moments in Inventing Anna and explain which parts really happened.

Spoilers ahead for Inventing Anna.

Did Anna Delvey really try to get loans from City National Bank and Fortress?

Yes! The real-life Anna was just as conniving as the character we see on our TV screens. Soon after moving to New York City in 2013, she came up with the idea of the Anna Delvey Foundation, which, of course, she’d need funding for. Anna didn’t come from money and certainly didn’t have a trust fund back home, just like the storyline we see on the show. Because of this, she did her best to trick City National Bank and Fortress Investment Group into giving her money, submitting loan applications to both companies.

Anna was also able to convince a City National Bank employee to grant her a $100,000 credit, promising she’d be able to pay them with a wire transfer from overseas.

Though Anna tried to secure a $22 million loan from City National and a $25 million loan from Fortress, both ultimately turned her down.

Was Anna Delvey really friends with Billy McFarland and Martin Shkreli?

From one scammer to the next, Inventing Anna depicts Anna being friends with big-time con artists Billy McFarland and Martin Shkreli. Many will remember McFarland as the co-founder of the failed Fyre Festival, scamming investors out of thousands of dollars and landing himself a six-year prison sentence in 2018. Shkreli is the controversial co-founder of various hedge funds, making headlines in 2017 for committing securities fraud and catching a seven-year prison sentence.

According to Oxygen, Anna did run in the same circles as the two fraudsters, and she even managed to scam McFarland out of paying rent. In 2018, Page Six reported that Anna, described as a “wannabe socialite swindler,” moved into McFarland’s Magnises headquarters back in 2013 and had no plans or leaving.

“Anna knew people on Billy’s team,” a source told Page Six. “She just asked to stay for a few days … then she wouldn’t leave.”

Reportedly, Anna stayed there rent-free for four months.

Did Anna Delvey really steal a plane?

This one, surprisingly enough, is basically true! In real life, Anna used the company Blade to secure a jet to fly from Morristown, New Jersey to Omaha, Nebraska, reportedly for a shareholders meeting at Berkshire Hathaway. As reported by Rolling Stone, the trip cost $35,390, but Anna never paid it. According to former Blade CFO Kathleen McCormack, customers were typically required to pay up front, but Anna was an exception to the rule because she was friendly with the CEO.

McCormack testified during Anna’s trial, explaining of the situation: “We’ve let people slide in the past, quite frankly, and they’ve paid.” She went to explain that while Anna hadn’t used their services before, their “CEO [Rob 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.”

So while Anna didn’t literally steal a jet without permission, she didn’t end up paying for it, either.

Did Anna Delvey really stay at La Mamounia in Marrakesh, Morocco?

One of the wildest parts of Inventing Anna is the fact that Anna books a trip to Marrakesh, Morocco to stay in one of their most luxurious and expensive hotels, La Mamounia. Given Anna really doesn’t have money of her own and is living off cons, it’s super risky for her to try and pull this off. But of course, she wants to impress her friends, and so she jets off with Rachel Williams (Katie Lowes) and Kacy Duke (Laverne Cox) for an unforgettable trip.

The real-life Anna actually pulled this off as well, and it definitely didn’t go as planned. Just like in the show, the hotel was unable to use Anna’s credit cards and demanded a legitimate form of payment. Rachel then put her card down and was charged $62,000 for their stay.

Did Anna Delvey really have a boyfriend named Chase Sikorski?

Though Anna has no shame about scamming people in Inventing Anna, we do get to see a soft and human side to her with her boyfriend, Chase Sikorski (Saamer Usmani). The character is an entrepreneur who invented a sleeping and dream app called Wake, and Anna is super supportive of the project. At least, in the beginning.

In real life, Anna did not date a man named Chase Sikorski, and we were unable to obtain any information leading us to believe she was in a relationship at all. The character was made up for the series.

Did Anna Delvey really never pay back Rachel Williams?

After Rachel was charged for their stay in Morocco, she, understandably, started to freak out. She didn’t have the means to pay a bill like that, and in Inventing Anna, Rachel even put it on her company credit card! Talk about a huge mistake. Anna promised Rachel she would pay her back with a wire transfer, but months passed and Rachel still didn’t receive the payment.

In real life, Anna never paid back the $62k. In Rachel’s Vanity Fair piece, she wrote of the bill she couldn’t pay, “The balance was more money than I net annually.”

“Seeking reimbursement from Anna became a full-time job, Rachel wrote. “Stress consumed my sleep and fueled my days. My co-workers saw me unravel. I came to the office looking pale and undone.”

Ultimately, Anna paid Rachel only $5,000, and Rachel decided to seek out legal counsel.

Did Anna Delvey really go to prison?

The real-life Anna did, in fact, serve time in prison. In 2019, she was sentenced to four to 12 years in prison, but was released early in Feb. 2021 for good behavior. Soon after becoming a free woman again, however, Anna was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for overstaying her visa. She’s currently waiting to see if she’ll be deported back to Germany.

Inventing Anna is a rollercoaster from start to finish, and it’s so fascinating to learn that so much of it is true. You can stream all nine episodes on Netflix right now!

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