Opinion

‘Fake heiress’ Anna Delvey is the perfect con for a COVID-weary age

Even in this era of fakery and shamelessness (hi, Hilaria!), no one beats Anna Delvey, the fake German heiress just sprung from prison.

Having served three years for swindling about $275,000 out of friends, acquaintances, hotels, banks and businesses, including an attempt to con $25 million from a hedge fund, Delvey (née Sorokin) is back on the scene — or, in COVID times, what remains of it.

And despite what she said at sentencing — “I apologize for the mistakes I made” — she has zero remorse. Never has, never will.

“The thing is, I’m not sorry,” she told a reporter the day after a judge sentenced her to 4 to twelve years. “I’m not a good person.” 

Days after release: “I think regret is just a useless feeling.” 

Well, at least the self-awareness is refreshing. Maybe it’s why we can’t look away. Anna Delvey, like all great performance artists, zigs when you think she’ll zag. A pretty young woman sent to Rikers, then Albion? Delvey doesn’t want your pity. She wants your admiration. She is the ne plus ultra of con artists, and prison was just another system to game. 

“It’s about who you know,” Delvey told Insider over Zoom about life in the slammer. Ever on brand, she wore a $720 Balenciaga hoodie while granting her exclusive. “It’s kind of like the scene in New York, but amplified. Because if you know the right officers, you’re going to get the right job. And so I had a job in a gym, because I just wanted to work out when no one else would go. And they gave it to me.” 

Not for Delvey is the American redemption arc in which the sinner prostrates before the media, begs for forgiveness and insists that they’ll change — or at least try their very best. She is a bona fide millennial social media star with no need for Oprah, Gayle, or confessional culture at large. 

Nope, Anna Delvey’s got a Netflix deal and a German camera crew following her every move and seemingly limitless money for an ex-con just days out of prison, cocooned in a $260 per night room at the NoMad, shopping at Sephora in a $1,000 Canada Goose jacket, getting her hair done at a salon — quarantine? What quarantine? — holding a bag from high-end boutique Kirna Zabete while posing under a neon sign that reads “IS IT OK FOR ME TO HAVE EVERYTHING I WANT.” 

Apparently, yes — except for a bank account, which the state of New York has not allowed her to open yet. 

Delvey is like New York City’s id, and what is New York City if not the ultimate place for hustle and reinvention? “Reinventing Anna” is her actual Twitter bio. 

And who among us, as the GameStop fiasco showed, really feels bad for hedge funds, short sellers, big banks — all the legitimate cons out there? 

Anna’s in on the joke. 

“The only job I’m willing to accept at this stage of my career is @GoldmanSachs creative director,” she tweeted on Monday. 

Yes, Anna Delvey is the anti-heroine of a corona-weary 2021, a young woman with all the wrong priorities, refusing to learn her lesson, bragging about Champagne and caviar on Instagram and Twitter, comparing herself to Sharon Stone in “Basic Instinct.” 

Her 85,000 Instagram followers can’t be wrong. 

While the rest of us are locked down, Anna lives it up, deportation no fear of hers. “Only agreeing to go back to Europe,” she tweeted last Sunday, “when they give Black people reparations.” 

After a brief spell in the clink, Anna Delvey now has a Netflix deal and a German camera crew following her every move.
After a brief spell in the clink, Anna Delvey now has a Netflix deal and a German camera crew following her every move.
Steven Hirsch

Don’t bother asking if she’s for real. That’s never been her point. 

“Going live on [Instagram] in 35 mins,” she tweeted at 8:36 p.m. on Valentine’s Day. “FULL Q&A IF YOU FOLLOW MY IG.” 

Would you believe the appointed time came and went? 

“Having tech problems,” she posted. “Five mins more. I’d never let you guys down.” 

True to form, Anna never showed. 

Is that letting fans down, or giving them what they want?




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