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Anna Delvey Dives Into New York Fashion Week While Under House Arrest

“I’m not a fake heiress.”

That’s what Anna Sorokin, who is more widely known as “Anna Delvey,” said that most people don’t understand about her. The Russian-born Sorokin remains under house arrest in her East Village apartment, but that didn’t deter her from co-producing Monday night’s Shao runway show and hosting it on the rooftop of her apartment building.

Arrested in 2017 and found guilty of eight charges, including attempted grand larceny in the first degree and theft of services, she had posed as a well-connected affluent German and scammed more than $275,000 in white-chip indulgences like private jet services and luxury hotel stays. Still under house arrest for overstaying her visa, the 32-year-old is delving into New York Fashion Week through the pop-up firm Outlaw Agency with publicist Kelly Cutrone.

Hours before a few dozen media types trekked to the rainy rooftop of her East Village building, she spoke with WWD about what’s ahead. As for the “fake heiress” moniker, she said, “That was just a press release created by the district attorneys. Anybody who would bother to look into my case would understand that this is not the story. Ninety percent of publications insist on including ‘fake heiress’ in headlines. I would be able to deal with it, if that was the truth and this is my punishment. I’m just a person who is trying to figure out how to move on with my life. I made some mistakes and they just happened to be very public.”

Being in the media – and profiled in the Shonda Rhimes-directed Netflix series “Saving Anna” – people feel like you are public property, and they feel free to dole out their opinions, she contended. “I just have to deal with my mistakes on a different level than some other people, who get to make big mistakes in private,” Sorokin claimed, adding that it is as though she is “part of the public’s property.” (The drama series was based on Jessica Pressler’s New York magazine article about how Delvey snookered elite New York friends, banks and financial institutions under the ruse that she planned to open an art-centric member’s only club.)

Readying to launch Shao Yang’s first runway show, she said, “I’m just trying to do the best I can. I’m not thinking about what people will think of me. I can’t be thinking about that. It’s just very toxic. They will say bad things. Hopefully somebody will say some good things. I’m just trying to do what I think is right.”

In October 2022, Sorokin was released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody and placed under house arrest. Deportation is still a possibility. Sorokin first served three years and four months for her criminal conviction and then 18 months in ICE detention.

Co-producing Monday night’s show signals “a new chapter” for Sorokin, who has “learned so much.” She said, “I wouldn’t say I’m a different person. It’s just a new thing. I’m not looking at it as a revenge. Everything just came together and that’s just how it should be.”

Cutrone added that female empowerment is part of the equation, as is immigration. “And we have had fun, which is more than 90 percent of the people in the fashion business can say this week…Anna Delvey is a pop culture queen, visionary, sweet thing and a powerhouse,” Cutrone said.  

Sorokin spends most days working on her art and following up with her lawyers. Upon her release last fall, her team appealed the conditions. Sorokin claims to be the only person in the U.S. who is under house arrest due to I.C.E. but acknowledged that substantiating that is difficult due to the fact that not all immigration cases are public. “Nobody is writing about that. People are taking for granted that Anna, of course, is a criminal. They just act like they are some high authority who has everything figured out. Nobody questions why. People don’t have enough of an attention span to get into my case and my legal situation.

“I definitely feel that people just project whatever they see on Netflix and in headlines. You can’t blame them. Netflix was not a documentary. It was a dramatization of real-life events. They added a lot of things that never happened. They disclosed that at the beginning of the episodes but everybody just wants to believe the story.  And everybody wants to be entertained. I’m just trying to deal with it,” she said.

Although Sorokin said that she has never seen the entire Netflix series, she saw clips “that were unavoidable.” “Putting on some accent” is something “that she would never take the time to do,” Sorokin said. “It seems that they made me out to be this very earnest person, which I don’t think I am. If I said something like, ‘Oh, you look poor,’ it was ironic. Everybody, who was in the room, understood that. Yeah, I said it but context, the tone and intention absolutely matter here. It was totally a joke and meant as a parody. They made me out to be that I really meant those things, which is strange. I don’t think that’s me. But it’s up to others to judge.”

Sorokin was 18 or 19 and living with her parents at home in a small town in Germany when she first got a glimpse of Cutrone on the reality show “Kell on Earth.” “Always fascinated by fashion,” Sorokin said she was and remains obsessed with print magazines. Accepted to attend Central Saint Martins in Londonb, she said she opted to defer for a year and moved to Paris for a stint at Parsons School of Design’s outpost there. Sorokin also said that she once worked in fashion public relations at the Press Factory in Berlin. That was followed by an internship at Purple magazine, which shifted her focus from fashion to art.

Contrary to the designer-heavy portayal of her on Netflix, she said she is not consumed by the materialistic side of fashion. “Whatever I buy for myself tends to be high-end, simpler pieces. I would feel better just buying a pair of more inexpensive sweatpants that I would be wearing every other day than a dress I would only be wearing once.”

While under house arrest, she favors all-black styles with Rick Owens, The Row and other small labels being favorites. For shoots, Sorokin works with stylists. Being homebound, not surprisingly, is restrictive in every way – namely “having the chance to live a normal life,” she said. Projects that involve multiple people can prove tricky, since there is only so much room in her apartment, she said. “Everything cannot revolve around me – not everything can be done inside this building,” Sorokin said. “I cannot travel. I miss traveling. I used to travel all the time and now I don’t at all.”

As for whether she feels remorse, Sorokin said, “Yes, I’ve tried to learn from the experience. I can’t go back and change anything. I’ve made a lot of bad decisions, when I was younger. I served my time and paid my restitution. I’m not going to make the mistakes that I made in the past. I’m just trying to create something positive out of the situation.”

“Always having to be around people all the time” was one of the greatest challeges of incarceration. With a brother, who is nearly 13 years younger, she said she feels as though she grew up as an only child. Sorokin said, “I never really had to share anything. I’m good being by myself. I met so many people who hate to be in cells. I would do anything to be in a cell. Everybody has their own version of hell. I just can’t be around people 24/7. It just stresses me out.”
Despite those solitude tendencies, house arrest is not surprisingly limiting professionally.

But all those people in jail also “helps to take your mind off your own stuff because everybody in jail has drama going on,” she said.

While “a lot of people” associate jail with rape, Sorokin said bad things didn’t happen to her. Not having control or agenda for your life was the worst part, she said. Being locked in due to a fight between other prisoners or not being able to place an important phone call for days due to a broken phone that takes days to repair were irksome. “Having access to the worst food and hygiene products” also wrankled her.

Cutrone interjected, “There is a downside of entrepreneurialism that a lot of people don’t talk about but find themselves wrapped up in. Things can move really quickly, when you get in over your head really fast. People leave out the fact that she was in her 20s, from another country and in the thick of the game. She was running in that 0.01 percent.”

Going on to defend Sorokin, Cutrone contended that, “The thing that is interesting is that so many of those people do the same thing on a regular basis.

“I don’t know anybody who is alive who hasn’t broken the law,” she claimed, seemingly overlooking Sorokin’s serious crimes and conviction. “Most people find themselves in a situation where they have to deal with it. It’s part of life.”

Source : WWD