It’s a programming trend that nobody saw coming, but one that’s perfectly-suited to our hyper-paranoid times:
In recent weeks streaming services have been awash in fictionalized miniseries about the exploits of recent real-life con artists.
While the Elizabeth Holmes dramedy The Dropout might be the best-executed of the bunch, but there’s no question about which one provides the juiciest raw meat for gossip-hungry viewers:
No one working in television today knows how to give the people what they want quite like Shonda Rhimes, and with her Netflix limited series Inventing Anna, the mega-producer turns a seedy tabloid story into a high-gloss crowd-pleaser.
The show is based on the wheelings and dealings of “fake German heiress” Anna Delvey.
Delvey, as her victims learned too late was neither German nor an heiress.
Rather, she was a Russian grifter who swindled some of Manhattan’s best and brightest before being blown in by a friend and arrested at an LA rehab center.
It would be hard to make Delvey’s story boring, so it’s no surprise that the show has become a hit with Netflix subscribers.
But apparently, one person who didn’t enthusiastically devour Inventing Anna was Anna herself:
“I’ve watched like bits and pieces with a couple journalists but that’s about it,” the 31-year-old recently shared on the Forbidden Fruits podcast, her first interview since the series put her back in the headlines.
“It was tough to watch it, like some pieces I had to look away…It’s just so hard to see how people perceive you. So I’m like, is that how I come across?”
Anna became a known figure in the New York gossip world thanks in large part to her bold courtroom fashion statements.
But while she was a mere punchline in those days, Inventing Anna fleshes her out by exploring her backstory, especially her strained relationship with her Russian parents.
“I kind of left home when I was really young, when I was 19,” Delvey told her interviewers this week, according to E! News.
“They’re really used to me not being there.”
Asked how she feels about Julia Garner’s performance as Inventing Anna‘s titular character, Delvey revealed that she’s a fan — even if she didn’t always love Garner’s onscreen accent.
“She came to see me in Albion and she’s a very sweet girl,” Anna said.
“We had one meeting and I asked her to do my accent. And it’s just so weird because the way you hear yourself, it’s just completely different.”
Critics have argued that Inventing Anna is too sympathetic to its main character, but Delvey maintains that she was innocent all along.
In the end, I just overdrew my own bank accounts,” Anna said.
“Some people think I did not get enough time and I should probably get 20 years for that. So I guess they’re different opinions out there.”
One of the show’s most talked-about scenes finds Anna refusing to enter the courtroom until she has a sufficiently chic outfit for the occasion.
It’s a perfect encapsulation of Delvey’s priorities — one that she says was completely fabricated by the Rhimes and company.
“They would not give me clothes at Rikers,” she said.
“So they basically were saying somebody has to bring you the clothes when you are in jail.”
Other aspects of the show were apparently more accurate, including Anna’s strained relationship with former friend Rachel Williams, who had Delvey arrested after getting conned into putting vacation expenses on her company credit card.
“Every time I get on the phone with somebody, they would be like, ‘Oh we saw the rat-face Rachel on TV again.’ And I’m like wait a second,” Anna said.
“Then I opened The Post, it’s just annoying. It was just one article too many that day.”
As for other personal relationships that were portrayed on Inventing Anna, Delvey claims that the show’s writers took a good deal of dramatic license with regard to her friendships and love life.
Her app-creator boyfriend Chase, for example?
Apparently there’s no such person.
“I would say like Chase is just a composite of characters and half of it is fiction and half of it is based on real life,” Anna said. “There is nobody named Chase.”
As for the wealthy widow Nora whose credit cards paid for Anna’s first high-end shopping spree — it seems she was also a product of the writers’ imagination.
“I wish I did that!” Delvey remarked when asked about using her friend’s credit card to buy thousands of dollars’ worth of designer items from Bergdorf Goodman.
Yes, Delvey freely admits that she covets the finer things in life.
But she insists that despite what Netflix and Shonda Rhimes, she never committed any crimes to pay for them.
Maybe she’s telling the truth — but then again, that’s what her victims probably said.