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Since the Inventing Anna trailer, there have been a lot of questions about Anna Delvey’s accent and what she sounds like in real-life compared to Julia Garner’s impression in Netflix’s Shonda Rhimes series.
Inventing Anna, which premiered on Netflix on February 11, 2022, is a true-crime miniseries based on New York Magazine’s 2018 article, “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People,” which profiled Anna Sorokin, a Russian woman who pretended to be a German heiress under the name Anna Delvey to defraud banks, hotels and wealthy friends under the name Anna Delvey. In 2017, Delvey was indicted on two counts of attempted grand larceny in the first degree, three counts of grand larceny in the second degree, one count of grand larceny in the third degree, and one count of misdemeanor theft of services after she allegedly submitted a fraudulent loan application to City National Bank and Fortress Investment Group. She also indicted for alleged incidences of check fraud and theft of services related to her failure to pay hotel and restaurant bills. In May 2019, Delvey was sentenced to four to 12 years in state prison, fined $24,000 and ordered to pay restitution of $199,000.
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She was released from prison in February 2021 before she was taken back into custody by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for overstaying her visa. As of writing this, Delvey is currently held at a jail in New Jersey as she awaits deportation to Germany. In an essay for Insider in 2022, which Delvey wrote in jail, she explained why she doesn’t plan to watch Inventing Anna, in which she’s played by Ozark actress Julia Garner.
“It’s hard to explain what I hate about it,” she wrote. “I just don’t want to be trapped with these people dissecting my character, even though no one ever says anything bad. If anything, everyone’s really encouraging, but in this cheap way and for all the wrong reasons. Like, they love all the clothes and boats and cash tips. I saw only the first couple minutes before I went back into my cell. I was definitely not going to sit there and watch it with everybody. And I don’t need any more jail friends, thank you very much.” She continued, “For a long while, I was hoping that by the time Inventing Anna came out, I would’ve moved on with my life. I imagined for the show to be a conclusion of sorts summing up and closing of a long chapter that had come to an end.” Delvey later explained, however, that the show wasn’t what she thought it would be. But what does she think of Garner’s impression of her? Read on for how Garner perfected Anna Delvey’s accent and what her real accent sounds like compared to the impression in Inventing Anna.
What does Anna Delvey’s accent sound like?
What does Anna Delvey’s accent sound like? During an interview with Town & Country in January 2022, Julia Garner revealed that she met Delvey while she was at the Albion Correctional Facility in Buffalo, New York, where she asked to hear her accent for Inventing Anna. “She’s like, ‘Please, let me hear it,’” Garner said. “It got very meta.” According to Town & Country, Delvey—who was born in Russia but raised in Germany—learned British English in school but mimicked American English from watching shows like Gossip Girl.
In the interview, Garner called Delvey’s voice the “hardest accent I’ll ever do.” She also explained how Delvey’s accent is different than her Ozark character, Ruth Langmore, who’s from Missouri. “My tongue on Ozark is completely different from my tongue for Delvey. Anna’s tongue is kind of flat. It almost feels heavy and fat. I completely had to change how I moved my tongue in three weeks,” Garner said. Garner also told Town & Country about what it was like to play both Anna and Ruth at the same time and how she had someone make sure she wouldn’t switch accents. “I really made sure that the script supervisor had an eye on my accent during that period of time,” she said. “Playing those two parts at the same time was probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life. Those are not easy women.” Shonda Rhimes, the creator of Inventing Anna, commended Garner on her accent. “Julia spent a lot of time perfecting it, and ultimately I think it was one of the biggest pieces in helping embody this character,” she said.
Garner also told host Jimmy Fallon in an episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in February 2022 about how she based Delvey’s accent on her complex European background. “This is a girl who is saying that she’s German but she’s really Russian, so she’s not gonna have a Russian accent,”Garner said. “First I had to do like a European, like a German accent, right, you know? But it’s very subtle, it’s like, you know, have a vocal fry at the end of it, whatever, right?” She continued, “And then you know I had to add like some little Russian for certain words, it was a very bad Russian accent… And then it gets Americanized, because you know how Americans kind of add a question at the end of everything, like, you know what I mean? Like, Europeans don’t do that, right?”
Though there aren’t a lot of recordings of Anna Delvey’s accent, she did do two major on-camera interviews with 60 Minutes in April 2021 and New York Post in October 2021 after she released from prison in February 2021. (She was later taken into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody as she awaits deportation.)
In an interview with Netflix, Garner explained that she saw Delvey’s accent as a core part of her character. “If I didn’t have the accent down, then I wouldn’t have a lot of the character down,” she said. To perfect her accent, Garner told Extra that she watched never-before-seen interviews that haven’t been released to the public. “I got, like, access to very personal interviews,” she said. She also called Anna asking her to re-create her accent “extremely intimidating.” She continued, “I started mirroring her… and she, you know, thought it was funny…It was definitely one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever encountered in my life.”
In an essay for Insider, Delvey revealed that she doesn’t plan to watch Inventing Anna because of how she was portrayed in the series. “So no — it doesn’t look like I’ll be watching Inventing Anna anytime soon. Even if I were to pull some strings and make it happen, nothing about seeing a fictionalized version of myself in this criminal-insane-asylum setting sounds appealing to me,” she said. She also explained that she doesn’t want to watch Inventing Anna because of how she was written in New York magazine’s 2018 article “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People” from writer Jessica Pressler’s perspective.
“Nearly four years in the making and hours of phone conversations and visits later, the show is based on my story and told from a journalist’s perspective,” she wrote. “And while I’m curious to see how they interpreted all the research and materials provided, I can’t help but feel like an afterthought, the somber irony of being confined to a cell at yet another horrid correctional facility lost between the lines, the history repeating itself.”
For more about Anna Delvey, read Rachel DeLoache Williams’ 2019 book My Friend Anna: The True Story of Anna Delvey, the Fake Heiress Who Conned Me and Half of New York City. In the book, which was one of Time’s 100 Best Books of 2019, Vanity Fair photo editor (and one of Anna’s ex-best friends) Rachel DeLoache wrote about how she was seduced by Anna and scammed out of more than $62,000. The tell-all also includes never-been-told details from Rachel’s trip to Marrakech with Anna and how the supposed all-expenses-paid vacation at a $7,500-per-night private village turned into a real-life nightmare. My Friend Anna is a “true story of money, power, greed and female friendship.”
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