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Anna Delvey says she won’t be tuning into Inventing Anna — the upcoming Netflix series about her life from creator Shonda Rhimes.
Delvey, born Anna Sorokin, was convicted in April 2019 of grand larceny, among other charges, and sentenced to four to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $200,000 in restitution. After serving less than four years of her sentence, the Russian-born German was released on good behavior in February 2021, but, after six weeks of freedom, found herself back in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody and is now facing deportation.
In an Insider essay published on Wednesday ahead of the show’s Feb. 11 release, Delvey writes that while the world may be busy talking about Inventing Anna star Julia Garner’s take on her accent, she is sitting in a jail cell in upstate New York, at the Orange County Correctional Facility, and is in quarantine isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.
“Did I mention I’m the only woman in ICE custody in this whole jail? Tell me I’m special without telling me I’m special,” she writes.
Delvey explains that, despite paying off the restitution from her criminal case (reportedly paid from the money she received from Netflix for her life rights, first paid out to victims under a New York law), she overstayed her visa while serving out her sentence. The immigration judge ruled, she writes, that, “even if released from detention and ordered to report regularly to ICE, the respondent would have the ability and inclination to continue to commit fraudulent and dishonest acts. She clearly possesses the knowledge to do so and has failed to demonstrate remorse.”
Delvey then segues to say, “So no — it doesn’t look like I’ll be watching Inventing Anna anytime soon. Even if I were to pull some strings and make it happen, nothing about seeing a fictionalized version of myself in this criminal-insane-asylum setting sounds appealing to me.”
In the essay, Delvey, who calls herself the “ultimate unreliable narrator,” describes her experience in ICE general population, and now medical isolation — “They take away your choices and give you the worst, so next time you’ll think twice before stabbing your neighbor — or overstaying your visa,” she says — and recalls the unpleasant experience of collectively watching ABC’s 20/20 episode about her life while in detention.
“For a long while, I was hoping that by the time Inventing Anna came out, I would’ve moved on with my life. I imagined for the show to be a conclusion of sorts summing up and closing of a long chapter that had come to an end,” she says of her participation in the nine-episode limited series, which included prison visits from both Garner and Rhimes. “Nearly four years in the making and hours of phone conversations and visits later, the show is based on my story and told from a journalist’s perspective. And while I’m curious to see how they interpreted all the research and materials provided, I can’t help but feel like an afterthought, the somber irony of being confined to a cell at yet another horrid correctional facility lost between the lines, the history repeating itself.”
Delvey’s story of posing as a German heiress with a $60 million trust fund and scamming New York’s socialite scene was made famous in a 2018 New York Magazine story “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People” by Jessica Pressler. Rhimes acquired the rights to the story, amid a bidding war, and Inventing Anna marks her first Netflix show after signing her massive overall deal (though Bridgerton premiered first).
The buzzy series recently topped The Hollywood Reporter’s list of 2022’s most anticipated scripted shows.
According to Netflix’s description of the series, “Anna revolves around a journalist (Anna Chlumsky) with a lot to prove who investigates the case of Anna Delvey (Garner), the Instagram-legendary German heiress who stole the hearts of New York’s social scene — and stole their money as well. But is Anna New York’s biggest con woman, or is she simply the new portrait of the American dream? Anna and the reporter form a dark, funny, love-hate bond as Anna awaits trial and our reporter fights the clock to answer the biggest question in NYC: Who is Anna Delvey? The cast includes Katie Lowes, Jeff Perry, Arian Moayed, Alexis Floyd, Anders Holm, Anna Deavere Smith, Terry Kinney and Laverne Cox.”
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