“Inventing Anna” follows Anna Delvey who with a fake name and a fake identity, entered the New York socialite circle to build up her contacts so that she could fulfill her dream of creating a brand and establishing a social Soho-like art club named Anna Delvey Foundation (ADF). She told everyone that she was a German heiress and that her father had given her a trust fund of about 60 million dollars, which she couldn’t access until she had attained the age of 25. Hence, all her elite friends handled her expenses, whom Anna evidently scammed to climb up the hierarchy ladder.
But it wasn’t just Anna who was using these people as a ladder, but instead, these elite folks used her too, in their own ways. They wanted to associate with Anna because they saw passion, poshness, and vanity in her, which made them believe that Anna Delvey was indeed a very important person who would help them grow further. Hence, with the selfish pursuit on both sides, began a chain of affairs that built Anna Delvey’s world, which these characters became a part of.
Born to Russian parents, Anna was just 16 years old when she left Russia and settled in Eschweiler, Germany, with her parents. Anna always felt like an outsider in this small German town and thus managed to escape when she left for London for her higher education. Later, she became an intern at a fashion magazine, Purple, in Paris, and after leaving the job, Anna has never worked for anyone since then.
She came to New York City with a new alias, Anna Delvey, and utilized her impeccable fashion sense to get the attention of an elite fashion designer, Val, who later became Anna’s closest friend in “Inventing Anna.” Through Val, Anna met businesswoman Nora Radford, who introduced Anna to her billionaire women’s club, and Anna used the contacts to lay the foundation of an art club, The Anna Delvey Foundation (ADF), which, after her arrest, never saw the light of the day.
ADA Catherine McCaw exposed the con-artist and arrested her after which Anna was sent to Rikers Island Prison and faced a trial in court, where she was sentenced to 4 to 12 years in prison.
Vivian’s character was inspired by Jessica Pressler, the real-life New York Magazine journalist who broke Anna’s story and made her incredibly famous. Vivian worked as the features writer for Manhattan magazine and was on the verge of taking maternity leave, which she felt would end her career as there was already a stain on it due to a reckless mistake made by her editor-cum-friend, Paul.
Her editor-in-chief, Landon Bloom, permitted Vivian to cover Anna’s story only on the condition that she should get Anna’s interview in two weeks and while managing her frequent trips to the prison, Vivian handled her labor pains. Finally, she published Anna’s story, “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People,” on the day of her delivery. The entire hustle and endeavor make Vivian the most heroic and vibrant character in “Inventing Anna.”
Vivian and Todd Spodek were the only two characters in “Inventing Anna” who shared an emotional bond with Anna because of her under-god hustle.
He was Anna’s lawyer who represented her during her ongoing trials in New York State Supreme Court. In addition, Spodek was married to a wealthy woman, Margaret Vanderum-Porter, who worked for her father’s firm, and together they had two kids in their nine years of marriage.
Even though Spodek was financially stable, his career as a lawyer was in total ruin because of the suffocation he felt being around in his wife and their friends’ social circle. No one wanted him, and all the clients he used to get were either hippies or low-life criminals, which never added any depth to his professional career. Anna’s high-profile case brought a ray of hope to Spodek, who believed that he would finally be able to prove his talent through the case.
Spodek became obsessed with Anna Delvey and became an estranged husband and father, the effect of which was evidently visible in his personal life. However, after the end of the trial, Spodek became a successful lawyer and finally took a vacation with his family, prioritizing family life over the professional hustle.
He was a fashion designer whose fashion shows were attended by Anna. While Anna was in Eschweiler, she attended a local missionary school where she was bullied because of her accent and emigrant status. Thus, Anna found her existence in the pages of glossy fashion magazines, which gave her a distinguished fashion sense and attention to details that Val often noticed.
Val was infatuated by Anna’s sense of fashion, cold attitude, and bewitching charm, which made him worship Anna like a fashion goddess. He introduced Anna to his close friend and businesswoman, Nora Radford, under whose roof Anna and her boyfriend, Chase Sikorski, spent most of their days.
After an argument with Anna, Chase requested Val to look into Anna’s passport, which he did after a humiliating hotel incident, and found out that Anna’s real name is not Delvey but Sorokin. Chase lied to Anna about asking Val to check her bags, and the whole privacy attack infected Anna’s and Val’s relationship, after which they never talked to each other again.
He was Anna’s most serious relationship throughout “Inventing Anna,” and he took care of Anna’s luxurious lifestyle and expenses using the money that came through the investors of his dream-recording app, Wake. Like Anna, Chase was a fraudster too who lied about his immigration status to sell an emotional story to the investors, but in reality, he never had any definite plan or idea for the app because of which the application never saw the light of the day. While living in Nora Radford’s house, Chase charmed her to get more investors for the application, and when Anna understood Chase’s scam, she decided to use Nora to get money for her art club, ADF. Hence, after using Chase for two years, Anna cut off ties with Chase, who later fled from New York and started working for the Sheikh in Dubai.
She was a wealthy socialite born with a silver spoon who started her own clothing line and established a brand. Talia lived in the Hamptons, and Anna met her during an art exhibition where she charmed Talia with her great taste in art and stoic attitude. Anna soon became a part of Talia’s elite circle, about which Chase got to know as well.
At one point, Talia was partying in Ibiza on a private yacht that belonged to tech giant Henrick Knight. Chase wanted Henrick to invest in his venture and thus he requested Anna to text Talia to inform her that they were in Ibiza and if they could possibly meet for lunch. Anna helped Chase procure 100K dollars of investment from Henrick, however, soon after the party was over, Henrick, Talia, and all the other guests left the boat, but Anna and Chase stayed on. When Talia learned about it from the boat’s crew, she scolded Anna for spoiling her image as they were her guests, and that was the last time Talia spoke with Anna.
Val introduced Anna and Chase to Nora, after which they made Nora’s house their permanent abode. Nora liked Chase and thus helped him get investors for his app through her connections. However, when Anna understood Nora’s potential, she cunningly cut Chase from Nora’s good books and snitched on him.
Anna impressed Nora with her alluring artistic knowledge, soon after which Nora invited Anna to join her on her visit to Bergdorf Goodman’s department store to meet the affluent women of her women’s club. At Bergdorf’s, Anna met the following influential women:
- Donna Zaveri – Queen of Wall Street and one of the most influential women in the finance sector.
- Susan Alcott – A fashion editor who revolutionized the fashion industry.
- Patricia Conti – A Broadway star and television actress who acted in the famous series, Due Process.
- Jodie Kleinsmith – Glamor Queen and Founder of a large real estate firm.
Through these women, Anna learned about 281 Park Old Church Mission House, where she decided to lay the foundation of ADF. She also used Nora’s credit card to buy herself expensive clothes and accessories from Bergdorf Goodman, and scammed Nora of around 400,000 dollars. She used Nora’s connections to build a network of influential people to procure a lease and a loan for ADF. As soon as Nora found out about Anna’s scam, Anna disappeared from her house, but Nora never reported the case because the entire con would make her feel like a stupid woman, and for her, her brand image was much more worth than the stolen money.
Anna needed a loan of 40 million dollars to lay the foundation of ADF, and that’s where Alan Reed, a Wall Street lawyer, and sponsor, came in. Anna convinced Alan that her ADF would become a giant venture from which he would earn a hefty profit. Alan and his wife were struggling with their spoiled daughter, who constantly changed careers and had no real goal set in life, and in Anna, Alan found a girl like whom he always wished his daughter to be. Thus, Alan decided to help Anna get a loan from the Fortress and Citibank, but he needed to verify Anna’s trust fund and assets in Germany, about which she lied to everyone in town.
Anna talked to Alan, impersonating a man named Peter Hennecke, who persuaded Alan that he would send the necessary documents soon. In the meantime, Anna earned Alan’s trust, which influenced him to forward Anna’s loan application without verifying her assets.
As soon as Alan informed Anna that the Fortress had approved her loan but needed to verify the assets before releasing the funds physically, Anna pulled out her loan application, fearing a physical verification would expose her scam. In “Inventing Anna,” Vivian informed Alan that Peter never existed, and Anna used the alias to trick Alan. Alan faced backlash in his elite circle and was abandoned even by his close friends.
Neffatari “Neff” Davis
After Anna left Nora’s house, she stayed at the 12 George Hotel (real name: 11 Howard), where Neff, an aspiring film director, worked as a part-time receptionist. Through wire transfer fraud and Nora’s credit card, Anna obtained a large amount of loose bills, which she used to tip the hotel staff, mostly Neff, who helped Anna to get into the VIP guest list, which enabled her to build her network.
Throughout “Inventing Anna,” it was only Neff to whom Anna made full repayment, and Vivian pointed out that Anna stayed at the 12 George Hotel longer than expected because she really liked Neff. When Anna was arrested, it was Neff who visited her frequently and brought her clothes and cup noodles, which Anna traded with other cellmates to get extra call time. During the trial, Neff made an Instagram that focused on Anna’s wardrobe and brought attention to the entire case. In short, Neff was Anna’s only friend who stuck by her through thick and thin until the end, but after Anna was imprisoned, Neff decided to shift her focus away from Anna and toward her filmmaking career.
An ending montage points out that Neff left her job and moved to LA to work in the movie business.
Rachel DeLoache Williams
Anna became a youth icon, and her Instagram visually depicted her lavish lifestyle, which many millennials of her age yearned for. Through this attained stardom, she met her close friends, Rachel Williams, a Vanity Fair writer, and Kacy Duke, a high-profile fitness trainer.
Rachel knew Anna well before she personally met her and was fascinated by her social media presence. Whenever Rachel, Kacy, and Neff went out to party, Anna never let her girls pay for the bills and took care of each of them with the money she scammed from elite people and banks. However, after Anna argued with Neff, she left 12 George and needed a place to stay, so she planned a vacation to La Mamounia hotel in Marrakesh and promised his girls that she would take care of the expenses.
Anna speculated about the flow of funds from the Fortress, but in the absence of it, she persuaded Rachel to pay the bills that amounted to 60,000 dollars from her Vanity Fair work credit card. After they came back to New York City, Rachel begged Anna to return the money, but she never did and fled to LA. In reaction to it, Rachel dragged Anna to court and involved ADA Catherine, who arrested Anna in LA.
Rachel was a friend who stuck with Anna when she paid all her bills and gave her a lavish lifestyle, which she boasted about, to her friends and colleagues. However, as soon as Anna failed to favor those luxuries, Rachel backed off. Later, Rachel wrote a personal article on Anna about how she scammed her in Marrakesh. After Anna became a famous con artist, Rachel used the opportunity to write a book on her experiences with Anna, for which she was paid 300,000 dollars and an additional 300,000 dollars for a TV deal if the show got made (which it did).
So in the entire play, Rachel Williams benefitted the most, and yes, she even cried the most in “Inventing Anna.” Time Magazine’s article named Rachel’s memoir, “My friend Anna,” one of the best books of 2019.
Kacy went to Marrakesh with Anna and Rachel but left for New York City earlier because of food poisoning. Later, Rachel and her boyfriend, Noah, sneaked out too, leaving Anna all alone in Marrakesh with no money to even buy a return ticket to America. At this point, Anna sought help from Kacy, who not only bought a ticket for Anna but also permitted her to crash on her couch for a few days. However, soon after Kacy acknowledged the signs of the universe and understood Anna’s intentions to leech upon her, she requested that she leave immediately.
When Kacy threw Anna out, she had no place to reside. All the hotels where Anna went had already been blacklisted and asked for payment upfront in case she wanted to stay, but Anna had no money. Meanwhile, Kacy tried to persuade Anna to repay Rachel’s work credit card bill, but Anna ran off from the intervention and committed another wire transfer fraud to get 15,000 dollars to fly to LA. After that Kacy never spoke to Anna again and maintained her distance from the toxic con-artist.
The father of Anna Sorokin, Vadim, was a hard-working truck driver who left Russia, probably for political reasons, and came to Germany with his wife, daughter, and son. In Eschweiler, Vadim opened a trucking and a cooling business to give a decent life to his family and put bread on the table, but his daughter needed a lifestyle that Vadim couldn’t provide. Soon after Anna became an adult, she left for London for higher studies and hardly contacted her family again. In “Inventing Anna,” Anna’s mother told Vivian that Anna was always a stranger to the family, and after she left, they never missed her, but Vadim did, which was why he was in touch with Vivian and Spodek while the trials went on.
At first, Anna told the New York Elites that her father was a rich money guy who had created a trust fund for her of around 60 million dollars. Later, in LA, when Anna found out that her VISA was on the verge of expiation, she attempted a fake suicide to get to the hospital, where she narrated a story about her father in which she portrayed him as a Russian gangster, who had tortured a 16-year old Anna to smuggle money between the brothers. She also reported that she had a traumatic childhood where she grew up with an abusive and alcoholic father, which had probably left her with severe mental scars and was the reason for her depression. When Vadim got a report that informed him that his daughter had tried to hurt herself, he quickly wrote to Vivian, which made it clear that the sob story was nothing but Anna’s scam to get into rehab and stay in America for as long as she wanted.
Todd Spodek tried to contact Vadim during Anna’s trial in court, but after everything her daughter did and lied about, Vadim or anyone from the family didn’t want to have any connection with her.
At the end of “Inventing Anna,” it was only Todd Spodek, Neff, and Vivian Kent who literally cared about Anna and got attached to her both personally and emotionally. In the absence of her birth parents in NYC, Vivian and Todd cared for Anna like their daughter, but in the end, it all came down to Anna’s narcissism, which acted as a shield against all human emotions and made Anna Delvey a cold-hearted person who didn’t deserve to be loved, or maybe she didn’t want to.
For Anna, each and every person in her life was a stepping stone towards her goal, and I personally, as an artist, feel that what if she had achieved her goal? Will she, at that particular interval, have real people around her to celebrate that happiness? Or just the elites who wanted to stay for their own selfish reasons. It might be the most wealthy but lonely life a person would get, and if not today, then most likely at some other age, she would have felt the weight of all that baggage. Nevertheless, it’s still a lonely life for Anna, no matter how much she pampers herself with the narcissism of popularity and intellect.