Culture

Anna Delvey And Rachel DeLoache Williams Are Feuding All Over The Internet, And It's Impossible To Look Away

By Meghan Dillon··  6 min read
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Netflix

Everyone is loving Netflix’s “Inventing Anna” and its hilarious portrayal of the rise and fall of scammer and fake German heiress Anna ‘Delvey’ Sorokin. Well, everyone except Sorokin’s friend and former “Vanity Fair” photo editor Rachel DeLoache Williams.

The show makes Rachel Williams look like a spoiled brat who used Anna Delvey for her money and then played the victim when Anna swindled her out of over $60,000. Rachel is speaking out against the false portrayal of her, and publications like Vogue have her back.

Was Rachel Williams Unfairly Represented in Inventing Anna? Vogue Thinks So

Recently, Hailey Maitland of Vogue criticized Inventing Anna’s portrayal of Rachel. In part, she wrote, “Inventing Anna does blur the lines between reality and fiction in a peculiar way – and this is where it gets into trouble, particularly when it comes to Rachel Deloache Williams, the real-life photo editor who joined Sorokin on her last-hoorah trip to Marrakech and ended up footing the nearly $70,000 bill.”

Maitland continued, “In contrast to New York’s Jessica Pressler, who’s reimagined as Vivian Kent of Manhattan magazine for the series, Williams is referred to by her actual name throughout. (Granted, no one with a WiFi connection is going to struggle to figure out who the “real” Vivian is, but the switch at least marginally distances Shondaland’s creation from Pressler in viewers’ minds.) Also featured prominently: Williams’s actual place of work (Vanity Fair), the location of her apartment (the West Village), and her alma mater (Kenyon College).”

The problem with showing these details under Rachel’s real name? It lends an air of credibility to Netflix’s artistic interpretation of the events. 

Maitland said, “All of which naturally leads viewers to believe that the majority of Rachel’s storyline falls under the ‘completely true’ bracket. And you would be forgiven for coming away from the melodrama pleased that this self-proclaimed ‘bad bitch’ is left high-and-dry after the trial. When Shonda Rhimes’ series first introduces Rachel, she’s refusing to visit Sorokin at Rikers Island, while wearing head-to-toe designer garb that Delvey gifted her.”

So was Rachel just another user who befriended a higher-level user?  

In the show, Anna’s loyal friend Neff tells Vivian, “Rachel was always there when stuff was fun…Kind of like, she was there for the Instagram moments, you know, as long as there was a good time…Rachel took and took and took, and never paid Anna back. Everything she wore was Anna’s; I think she was trying to be Anna.’”

Maitland goes on to accuse the show of mischaracterizing Rachel as a materialistic brat, claiming that in real life Rachel is hardworking, smart, and doesn’t watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians (weird flex, but okay). She also made it clear that Rachel didn’t put Vanity Fair in jeopardy when Anna put her in debt, as she transferred the debt from her work card to her personal card when she thought Anna was going to pay her back.

Rachel Williams Defends Herself All Over the Media

Rachel isn’t happy with her portrayal either and has been Inventing Anna’s harshest critic. She’s written articles about it for Time Magazine and Air Mail and discussed the show in an interview with Vanity Fair. She also went on Good Morning America to call the show a “dangerous distortion” of the truth.

In her piece for Time Magazine, she criticized Netflix for paying Anna $320,000 for the rights to her story. Rachel believes that this incentivizes Anna’s crimes, writing, “If your crimes are splashy enough, a media company could snatch up the rights to your story pre-trial so that you’re able to afford the attorney of your choice, one skilled enough to minimize your penalty. You could be paid so much money that even after your funds are frozen and victims are repaid, you have cash left over. And, not only that, but if fame is what you’re after, you’ll have built yourself a ‘brand,’ created a platform, and found an audience to leverage for future opportunities.”

Anna Delvey Claps Back about Rachel’s Claims

Though Anna is in ICE custody for overstaying her visa, she managed to find time to criticize Rachel for speaking out. Per The Tab, she wrote on her Instagram story, “I’ve been silent about this for years. However over the past two weeks watching Rachel stubbornly refuse to move from her contrived trauma, ever brazen and unchecked, while going on every show that will have her, I thought now – I have to. And if I have to, I will.”

She continued: “During her numerous public cries for attention claiming I ‘ruined’ her life, relentless Rachel DeLoache Williams conveniently forgets to mention the curious period of time during the summer of ’18 when herself along with her newly acquired literary agent were repeatedly harassing my lawyer Todd (both via email and phone) to get me to write a book TOGETHER with Rachel. And the best part is – this time around I got all the receipts.”

Anna continued, “I know – sounds incredible considering Rachel’s recent media crusade during which she accuses everyone who isn’t aligned with her vision of self as a wronged martyr starved for justice of ‘glorified crime’ and ‘giving platform to a con’. Can anyone please enlighten us whether she’s done anything over the past three years other than talking or writing about me, reading and dissecting my interviews, taking angry notes, looking for things to get outraged about? She even quotes posts I’ve deleted after 15 mins. Find yourself someone who’s dedicated to you the way Rachel is dedicated to my Twitter.”

Anna also accused Rachel of having “flexible moral standards” and called her a “Karen.” 

Closing Thoughts

Both women tell very different versions of the same story, which makes me wonder who’s telling the truth. I may be a little biased because I’ve been following Rachel for a few years now, specifically, after she went on the Betches true-crime podcast, Not Another True Crime Podcast, to tell her story and promote her memoir, My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress, in 2019. Even if I didn’t like Rachel, I’d be more inclined to believe her because though Anna Delvey is entertaining, she’s also a con artist. 

However, I do find it interesting that the writers of Inventing Anna didn’t change Rachel’s name. If this is a mainly fictional depiction of Rachel, it would’ve made more sense for her character to be fictionalized like how New York Magazine journalist Jessica Pressler was fictionalized as Manhattan journalist Vivian Kent. The showrunners keeping Rachel’s name makes me wonder if there’s a grain of truth to Anna’s side of the story, but I guess we’ll have to watch this story play out to find out.

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