- In her first post-prison interview, Anna Sorokin – AKA Anna Delvey – says being behind bars was “a huge waste of time.”
- She’s now working on “Anna Delvey TV” to take back control of her narrative, as well as a memoir about prison.
- She also isn’t dwelling on the past: “I’m just trying to fix things and move on.”
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
After nearly four years behind bars, Anna Sorokin was released from prison Thursday.
Sorokin â€” who also goes by Anna Delvey â€” became famous in 2018, following stories in Vanity Fair and New York magazine about her living a lavish lifestyle and grifting her way through Manhattan’s socialite scene while posing as a German heiress with a $US60 million trust fund. The New York magazine story is now turning into a Netflix limited series produced by Shonda Rhimes, with “Ozark” star Julia Garner playing Sorokin.
After using her false identity to attempt to obtain loans from financial institutions, Sorokin was arrested on larceny charges in 2017 and sent to Rikers Island to await trial. She was convicted on most of the charges in 2019 and sent to Albion Correctional Facility in upstate New York.
Now out on parole for good behaviour, she’s been keeping busy. Sorokin has created a new Twitter account, published an open letter to Harvey Weinstein, and has posted on Instagram about a new project called Anna Delvey TV, an attempt to wrest the public narrative about her life back under her control.
She is also appealing her case. Much of the funds Sorokin was convicted of stealing were intended for the Anna Delvey Foundation, a planned art and restaurant space, she said. Her attorney Audrey A. Thomas previously told Insider that while Sorokin may have owed money on a civil level, her actions didn’t rise to the level of criminal conduct. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Sorokin spoke to Insider over Zoom on Sunday night from a hotel room (she’s looking for an apartment in New York) and wearing a $US720 Balenciaga hoodie. She declined to get into the details of her trial or the actions that led to her conviction, citing the advice of her attorneys while her appeal is pending, or the risk of being deported back to Germany.
In her first published interview since her release from prison, Sorokin talked about the memoir she’s working on (“my take on the criminal justice system”), life in prison (“a huge waste of time”), and regret (“a useless feeling”).
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
You spent time at two different correctional facilities: 19 months in jail at Rikers Island, and 21 months in prison at Albion Correctional Facility. What were they like for you?
I made it work. I’m not coming from a place where it’s, “Oh, all right, whatever. Put me in jail. I don’t care.” I was upset about it. But it’s just not so bad as to act as a deterrent for any future crimes, you know? You’re just there. You can’t have any clothes or a phone. But whatever. If you focus on the stuff that you like and want to do it, you can make it work.
I took this “Phase Three” program to teach people how to transition back out of prison. They show you these videos. They still have VHS tapes. They’re basically telling you how to get a job, and telling you to look at classified ads, which is so crazy because this is not what the world is right now. It’s just pointless. It’s a huge waste of time.
And so many people, they come to prison and just start doing drugs. And I cannot blame them. If that was my thing, I would just be getting high all the time.
I was old enough to know who I am and what I want. But I see so many girls, they’re like 18, 19, they come to prison and they just don’t know what’s going on. They don’t have any family support or whatever. And they just start doing drugs in there. I never saw as many drugs in New York as I did in prison.
You were sent to Albion after your conviction in May 2019. What was a typical day like there?
There’s not a typical day. There’s always something going on. Females are crazy.
You either have a school or a job. The whole thing is a fraud. The job is supposed to like last three hours, or three hours and 30 minutes. But what you end up doing is 15 minutes of work or whatever, and they let you go.
It’s about who you know. It’s kind of like the scene in New York, but amplified. Because if you know the right officers, they’re going to get you 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 give it to me. It’s all about who you know and what people think of you.
Did you have a celebrity status in prison? Did the correctional officers know who you were?
Absolutely. All of them. Every single one of them knew who I was.
How did that affect your experience there?
Some of them, I guess, came from a place where they wanted to fuck with me. One of the sergeants, he was like, “Well, who would you think you are? I had Amy Fisher.” [laughs]. Alright. I’m not trying to compete with her or anything.
A lot of them were just very inappropriate, very unprofessional. Like, “Oh my gosh, I love your story. I’m following you on Instagram.”
The New York Times
quoted you two years ago, after your sentencing, as saying you’re “not sorry” for what you did
. You reportedly gave the parole board a different response. Could you clarify the record? How do you feel about your time as a “fake heiress”?
Well, the New York Times asked me, “Do you regret anything?” And I think regret is just a useless feeling because I clearly cannot go back in time and change anything. And this is what they made out of it.
And do you still feel that way? That regret is a useless feeling?
I have to deal with the consequences of my actions, yeah. But to just sit around and just think about everything I’ve done â€” it’s not going to have changed it. I don’t know. It would be a huge waste of my time.
I did what I did. And I was, I don’t know, 23, 24, 25. I’m just trying to fix things and move on.
I never really went, “Oh, let me go and defraud City National Bank, that will be the best thing to do ever.” Or, “Let me go take this random girl, Rachel, on vacation and make her pay.” Who thinks like this?
I feel like it’s an insult to my intelligence. Like the whole case that the prosecutors created against me. They presented me as being this thirsty and greedy. I just had this vision. And it didn’t work out.
You’re saying you want to look forward, and that you don’t want to feel regret because it isn’t useful. While you were at Albion, how were you reflecting on your time?
I know what I did and, and I know where I’m coming from. And I don’t even need any reflection on that. I don’t really have a problem with myself as a person, because I know I was never planning on defrauding anyone.
Whoever I would get the money from, I thought they would get it back. So I never needed the time to reflect on that.
What I did have the time to reflect on was the criminal justice system â€” how pointless it is.
And it’s kind of crazy that they just put everyone together. I was with the craziest people. I feel like I have no place. I made the best out of it, but not everyone would have the option to do so. I have this huge support system. I would have everything I wanted.
But I feel like it’s insane. To take people, to lock them up, take everything away from them, and just to expect them to reform. What is that supposed to do for you? You’re just deprived of everything. The same solution for everyone, no matter what you’ve done? When you’re a criminal, it’s such a different mindset, whether you kill someone, or if you sell drugs. The place where you’re coming from is not comparable. They have this universal solution for everyone, and that should not be the case.
Can you tell me what it was like to learn you’d be leaving prison? What was going through your head?
I was thinking, “I want my phone.”
I never got it. I guess they gave me an impression that I would give my old stuff back, but I never got it yet because my case is under appeal. Which is understandable. It’s all right. It makes sense.
Are you working on a book about your experience?
Yeah, I am. It’s going to be something similar to the previous three pieces I posted on my website. But I have literally 10 boxes full of paperwork where I’ve been writing down my words from Rikers and Albion. So I just need to get everything together.
It’s going to be my take on the criminal justice system and my jail experience. I feel like so much stuff that’s out there, it’s just focused on how cruel prisons are, or whatever. This was not my experience at all â€” maybe it’s because I’m female, I did not experience any abuse from the staff.
My point is basically going to be like the pointlessness of the whole thing. They just wasted everyone’s time and money.
What is Anna Delvey TV?
I’m just kind of filming everything I’m doing right now and I’m going to see what to do with it later. I just got out of prison, like two days ago. So it’s me like getting all this stuff from Sephora, me opening a bank account as soon as I get permission from my parole officer. I’m going to see my parole officer Tuesday for the first time. Things like that. It’s a way to control what I want to tell.
So many people, I see, are trying to tell my narrative. I just decided to do something on my own.
Why are you still using the name Anna Delvey?
Why shouldn’t I? I’m a movement by myself.
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