REVIEW: ‘Inventing Anna’: A guide to scamming New York City elite

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(Graphic by Marshall Sunner | Collegian Media Group)

The new hit Netflix limited series drama “Inventing Anna” follows the Ponzi scheme run by a 20-something in New York City.

The show is loosely based on the true story of a German girl named Anna Sorokin — better known as her alias Anna Delvey — and while it was entertaining, Netflix might have been better off sticking to the true story.

Delvey scammed friends, Wall Street investors and five-star hotels out of thousands of dollars by convincing them she was a German heiress.

For background on the story, it helps to know that in the series, Delvey made plans to open up an elite nightclub in New York City, and to do so, she had to appear wealthy.

She exploited people to network with important investors and contacts, and because she was so good at making people want to be her friend — as well as her convincing performance as a wealthy elite — tricked people into thinking she actually was.

It amazed me watching educated men, women, socialites and Wall Street financiers get scammed by a girl whose only proof of wealth came from a perfectly curated Instagram account, nice clothes and enough money held back to appear rich.

I initially really enjoyed seeing the story unfold and felt like it showed the true scope of the power and wealth imbalance that is so apparent in society today.

As the series progresses, though, I became increasingly frustrated as I witnessed people blaming her victims and twisting the story so it seemed like they were bad friends to Delvey, particularly Rachel DeLoache Williams.

Williams was just a “normal” person working as a writer at Vanity Fair when Delvey befriended her — and then stole over $60,000 from her.

As I watched Williams get laughed at by the police and eventually ridiculed by Delvey’s defense lawyer and her other friends for reporting Delvey, I felt her sense of hopelessness.

While it is impressive that they could make viewers feel that, this is not how it went down in real life and was added for the extra drama. In the end, it just made the show less enjoyable to watch.

Another character I didn’t love was the journalist who pursued Delvey’s story, Vivian Kent.

Her character is based on journalist Jessica Pressler, who wrote the original article “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People.”

Kent left a bad taste in my mouth, as she was aggressive, erratic and — to put it plainly — annoying.

As Kent uncovers more about Delvey, you see her start to feel bad for Delvey and get sucked into believing her like everyone else.

In the end, Kent realizes she was in fact scamming people, but still had a soft spot for her and assumed Delvey believed she would make it and be able to pay everyone back.

I understood this after seeing Delvey show true emotions and came to realize her cold, mean persona was all just an image meant to shield a girl just trying to make it for herself.

I was also left with some of the same questions Kent posed at the conclusion of the series, like how Delvey had enough money to go on fancy vacations, dress in designer clothing and fly around on private jets in the first place?

Overall, the series highlighted the sad reality that power and success often do not manifest through hard work but through image, status and knowing the right people.

While some of the characters annoyed me, and I wish they had followed the true story more closely, I can’t say I wasn’t entertained.

If you need a new show to watch or are looking for something even slightly entertaining, I would recommend “Inventing Anna.” However, I can’t say it is in my top 20 favorites.

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Hey! I’m Maddie Daniel and I am a junior in mass communications. This semester, I'm the assistant culture editor and have previously served as a staff writer. After I graduate, I plan to go to law school to pursue a career in Federal Indian Law. I love art, history and anything outdoors.