The Real-Life Rachel Williams in ‘Inventing Anna’ Is Not OK With the ‘Shocking’ Netflix Series

Inventing Anna is a new Netflix series that was dropped to the streaming platform on Feb. 11, 2022. In the days since the show was released, fans have been raving about it, with many praising the unique blend of drama and true crime.

The show features a star-studded cast, including Julia Garner and Anna Chlumsky. However, not everyone loves Inventing Anna. Recently, the woman who inspired the character of Rachel Williams opened up about the show, revealing that she isn’t a fan of the way it portrays her actions and personality. 

‘Inventing Anna’ has made waves online

'Inventing Anna' cast member Katie Lowes portrays Rachel Williams standing in front of a police car.
Katie Lowes as Rachel in ‘Inventing Anna’ | Nicole Rivelli/Netflix

Inventing Anna tells the story of Anna Sorokin, a young woman living in New York City in 2013. Sorokin had ambitions of grandeur. And over the course of a few years, Sorokin pretended to be a wealthy German heir, defrauding individuals, financial institutions, and hotels under the name Anna Delvey. Sorokin even created the idea of the Anna Delvey Foundation, designed to lure rich people into investing money into her private “members only” club. The show details Sorokin’s schemes, as well as the way that some brilliant journalists managed to expose her machinations. 

Based on a true story, pop culture fans were introduced to the story of Sorokin in 2018, when the New Yorker magazine published an exclusive look at Sorokin’s schemes. Netflix then acquired the rights to produce a new miniseries based on Sorokin’s life and the eventual legal drama that she endured. 

‘Inventing Anna’ is partially based on real-life people

Not only is the character of Sorokin based on the real-life woman of the same name, but there are several other characters in the series who are directly inspired by real people. Chlumsky plays Vivian Kent in Inventing Anna, a journalist who was inspired by the writer Jessica Pressler, one of the first people to expose the story of Sorokin to readers. 

Additionally, Katie Lowes portrays Rachel Williams in the show. The real Williams was a good friend of Sorokin, who footed a bill for Sorokin to the tune of around $62,000. Williams went to court over the $62,000 but Sorokin was found not guilty of fraud. Williams went on to write a book about her experience with Sorokin, detailing how she helped to bring her former friend to justice. While many viewers might see the character of Rachel as a sympathetic presence, the real-life Williams is none too thrilled with the series. 

What has the real-life Rachel Williams said about the series?

According to Newsweek, Williams has spoken out about the way that she was portrayed in Inventing Anna. Not only does Williams take issue with the fact that Netflix allegedly paid Sorokin a lot of money for the rights to her story, with Williams claiming the payday means that Sorokin is “rewarded for her crimes,” but she points out the official character bio from Netflix as virtual character assassination.

Netflix secured the rights to Sorokin’s life story for $320,000. Deadline reports she was allowed to keep the money that was left after restitution, attorney fees, and state fines.

The bio itself describes Williams, according to Newsweek, as “a natural-born follower whose blind worship of Anna almost destroys her job, her credit, and her life.”

Williams spoke out, stating: “This Netflix description felt shocking. (It) stripped me of my agency, accomplishments, and truth. Were we meant to believe that the woman I had become was not on account of the parents who raised me, the love I shared with family and friends, my own efforts or personal growth, but because of Anna?”

Williams clarified that she was not involved with the Netflix series in any way and even slammed the streaming platform as “effectively running a con woman’s PR.”

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