Netflix Paid Anna Sorokin a Small Fortune for the Rights to Her Story_freckle removal products

Evan Romano·3 min read
Netflix Paid Anna Sorokin a Small Fortune for the Rights to Her Story
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  • Anna SorokinAnna SorokinRussian-born fraudster

Netflix's newest limited series, Inventing Anna, follows in the footsteps of other shows about the mega-rich like Succession and Billions, with one key difference: it's not only satirizing real-life—it's based on an actual true story. Well, for the most part; as text at the beginning of every Inventing Anna episode says, "This whole story is completely true. Except for all of the parts that are totally made up."

That's probably the safest way to preface a story that was pieced together after-the-fact, with reporters, attorneys, and different people out of a whole lot of money all trying to figure out what exactly went down. Anna Sorokin, who claimed to be a German-born heiress with a trust fund named Anna Delvey, eventually used this (not true) status to defraud banks and acquaintances of large sums of money. She was first arrested in 2017, before sitting trial in 2019, when she was found guilty of defrauding hotels, restaurants, banks, and more out of more than $200,000. And now, she's been paid $320,000 by Netflix for the rights to tell her story in the form of the Shonda Rhimes-produced limited series Inventing Anna.

Sorokin was sentenced by Judge Diane Kiesel to four to 12 years in prison, counting the two years she spent at Rikers Island awaiting that 2019 trial. She was released early for good behavior in February 2021, though she was once again detained—this time by ICE—for "overstaying her visa" not long after that, where she currently remains.

Photo credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY - Getty Images
Photo credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY - Getty Images

But as you're watching Inventing Anna, you may naturally wonder if the character the show largely chooses to paint as an eccentric, enterprising anti-hero, is the same way in real life, and further, you may be wondering how Netflix payed their way into it.

Was Anna Delvey (or, well, Anna Sorokin) paid for Inventing Anna?

Yes. While Inventing Anna is based on a New York Magazinearticle by writer Jessica Pressler (characterized in the series as "Vivian Kent" and played by Anna Chlumsky), the streamer also doled out a reported $320,000 to Anna Sorokin (played in the series by Ozark star Julia Garner) for the rights to tell her story.

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