Anna Delvey was charming and beautiful. A rich German heiress living an extravagant life and rubbing shoulders with New York society. She had hopes and dreams to launch an art foundation. That is, until she was unmasked as Anna Sorokin, a Russian-born scam artist who defrauded banks, investors and even friends out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now, Netflix’s Inventing Anna brings to life the twisted story of Sorokin’s scams and deceit, played by Julia Garner, alongside a host of real people brought to life on screen. But, are Val & Nora Radford based on real people?
The short answer is no. Manhattan socialite Nora Radford and high-end fashion designer Val, played by Shonda Rhimes regular Kate Burton (Scandal) and James Cusati-Moyer (Slave Play) are completely fictional. Although you could say they fit the mould of people Sorokin would have come across during her time in New York.
Nora Radford is described as an “old money Manhattan socialite” who takes Delvey under her wing when she arrives in New York. Soon she, too, falls victim and is defrauded by Delvey’s scams. Meanwhile, we’ll also see some of the story from Val’s perspective who is perhaps more “on Delvey’s level” when it comes to taking advantage of the rich.
But the completely fictionalised characters are there to enrich a story already littered with real-life threads. As well as Sorokin herself, journalist Jessica Pressler, who first broke the story in New York Magazine, is played by Anna Chlumsky (Veep) through the crafted character of Vivian Kent. Adrian Moayed (Succession) plays Todd Spodek, Anna’s attorney.
Rachel (Katie Lowes) is thought to be loosely based on Anna’s friend and former Vanity Fair picture editor Rachel DeLoache Williams, whilst Kacy Duke (Laverne Cox), is directly based on Anna’s celebrity fitness trainer. Finally, Neffatari Davis, who was a concierge at 11 Howard’s luxury hotel and later became Anna’s friend, is played by The Bold Type’s Alexis Floyd.
As Netflix put it, “this whole story is completely true, except for all the parts that are totally made up.” So, expect a healthy mix of fictional and fantastical during this nine-part series.
Inventing Anna is available to stream on Netflix