What happened between Rachel Williams and Anna Sorokin? Inside toxic friendship

Inventing Anna official trailer from Netflix

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Inventing Anna has proven a huge hit on Netflix and the series is a TV adaptation of fraudster Anna Sorokin’s rise and fall. The Russian swindler conned many organisations out of thousands of dollars, claiming to be a wealthy German heiress under the name Anna Delvey (played by Ozark’s Julia Garner). Rachel is played by Katie Lowes in the series, but what happened between the real Rachel and Anna?

What happened between Rachel Williams and Anna Sorokin?

Rachel Williams was conned out of $62,000 by Anna Sorokin whilst she worked at Vanity Fair.

She later became the author of My Friend Anna and has spoken out against her former friend in other publications.

Sorokin spent months winning Williams over with expensive dinners, nights out and designer shopping trips.

Their friendship came to a dramatic end after an extravagant trip to Marrakesh in May 2017.

Williams ended up with a $62,000 bill which she paid for across two credit cards.

Sorokin assured her friend she would repay the costs, but never did.

She was eventually convicted on eight charges, including second-degree grand larceny and theft of services.

Sorokin was released from prison in February 2021 but after overstaying her visa, she faces deportation and is in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Opening up to Vanity Fair about the Inventing Anna series, she said: “I think promoting this whole narrative and celebrating a sociopathic, narcissistic, proven criminal is wrong.”

Williams said she had been concerned about some “obvious, refutable factual inaccuracies”.

The Vanity Fair researcher met Sorokin through friends in February 2015.

They all fell for Anna’s alias when she assured them she was a German heiress.

She told Harper’s Bazaar: “Anna didn’t post on Instagram that regularly, but before I met her I saw that she had 40,000 something followers and that gave her a baseline of validity in my mind.

“That and the fact that she knew my friends.

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“It served as an instant background check – which isn’t reliable, obviously.

“It’s interesting to think about whether or not social media impacted Anna’s desire to simulate this lifestyle that perhaps she had seen online and on social media.”

Williams describes her old friend as intelligent, ambitious and fearless.

But her actions soon caught up with her as in 2017, she was arrested in a sting operation.

In May 2019, Sorokin was sentenced to between four and 12 years in state prison.

Williams said she believed the friendship she had with Sorokin had been genuine.

She added: “It wasn’t so much that I was swept up in her lifestyle – we mostly just stayed in her hotel – but mostly I just got swept up in a friendship that turned out to be toxic.”

Williams has been asked how she did not come to realise Sorokin was not who she said she was.

She recalled how in hindsight there were certain red flags she would have missed.

Williams used her book to recall the unbelievable events from her own perspective.

Inventing Anna is streaming on Netflix now.

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