The “Soho Grifter” is the subject of a developing docuseries, building on the momentum of Netflix’s Inventing Anna.
Anna Delvey (real name Anna Sorokin) has been living rent-free in all of our minds since Jessica Pressler’s infamous exposé on the so-called “Soho grifter” came out in New York Magazine in 2018. Pressler’s instincts to investigate what could have gone unexamined as just another Manhattan fraud case that was quietly tried in drab government buildings gave us all a gift. Now we have Anna, the twenty-something “dumb socialite” who managed to con her way into New York’s exclusive art world and Wall Street’s elite financial realms. It’s a story so fascinating that Netflix turned it into a nine-part miniseries, Inventing Anna, created by powerhouse TV producer Shonda Rhimes. But if Inventing Anna felt like hours of foreplay with no finale, you can revel in the fact that a docuseries on the young, elusive scammer is in the works.
Deadline reports that Sorokin is working with Bunim/Murray Productions — known for producing MTV’s The Real World and Surviving R. Kelly — on a reality show about Anna’s life after prison. Sorokin is currently being detained by ICE for overstaying her visa after serving almost four years of a 12-year sentence for her crimes, which included second-degree grand larceny, theft of services, and one count of first-degree attempted grand larceny. Sorokin defrauded wealthy individuals, banks, and hotels for tens of millions of dollars.
Sorokin seems to have been driven by a deep-seated desire to forge an iconic, self-made path to riches and infamy. And though she’s been caught for the fraud that those impulses led her to commit, she’s instead attained those things by having her story told from behind bars. Sorokin reportedly made $320,000 as a consultant for Inventing Anna, and she’s sure to be profiting off of this upcoming documentary. If the fictionalized Netflix telling is correct, Anna wanted fame, and fame she is getting — it’s just not necessarily the path she intended.
Unfortunately, the docuseries doesn’t promise to investigate how Anna created the high-flying life she had before it all came crashing down. The questions on everyone’s minds are how she did it, and who could have pulled off such a feat — things that Inventing Anna doesn’t answer. As Mic’s Brandon Yu wrote, “Ironically, while the show wants to push up against the flat, sexist assumptions about Delvey as a shallow party girl, it unpersuasively focuses on how she treats people poorly and lies her way through channels of money. The result is a similarly one-dimensional portrait of what should have been a complex character.”
With its loud camera flash noises, dramatic editing cuts, familiar faces from Scandal, and overwrought soliloquies, Inventing Anna is a Shonda Rhimes show. That’s not a bad thing, since Rhimes is the queen of glossy pulp hits that are compulsively watchable. But Anna’s story deserves a more serious approach, and that’s what we’re all hoping Sorokin gets in this upcoming docuseries. While the series promises to bring Sorokin’s story into the present instead of rehashing her past, we will hopefully still get the insight we crave into just who Anna Sorokin is. Michael Driscoll, director of development at Bunim/Murray, told Deadline, “Anna’s story is very much alive and still unfolding as we speak ... She is a complicated and fascinating character, and we are looking forward to telling the next chapter of her ever-evolving tale.”