Rachel williams inventing anna netflix
Inventing Anna. Katie Lowes as Rachel in episode 107 of Inventing Anna. Cr. Nicole Rivelli/Netflix © 2021

Rachel DeLoache Williams, the former Vanity Fair photo editor whose ill-fated Moroccan vacation with Anna Sorokin (then known as Anna Delvey) is reenacted in the new based-on-real-life Netflix series Inventing Anna, is not happy about the way she’s portrayed in the Shonda Rhimes show.

Williams told her side of the story of what happened on that trip to Morocco — including her contention that Sorokin told her it would be all-expenses paid — in a 2018 personal essay for Vanity Fair. But when it came time to put a credit card down at the 5-star La Mamounia resort in Marrakesh, Williams says Sorokin “pressured” her to put down her American Express card — just as a way to hold the balance until Sorokin could sort out her bank situation.

After she returned home from the trip, Williams discovered that the full balance of $62,192.29 had been charged to her card. It was more than she made in a year.

In Inventing Anna, actress Katie Lowes plays a character named Rachel who matches Williams’ physical description and former occupation, and who embarks on a Moroccan vacation with Julia Garner’s Anna Delvey only to find out later that she’s been stuck with the bill. The character is described by Netflix as “a natural-born follower whose blind worship of Anna almost destroys her job, her credit and her life. But while her relationship with Anna is her greatest regret, the woman she becomes because of Anna may be Anna’s greatest creation.”

Understandably, Williams doesn’t love that description.

inventing anna rachel williams

(L to R) Katie Lowes as Rachel, Julia Garner as Anna Delvey, Laverne Cox as Kacy Duke and Alexis Floyd as Neff Davis in Inventing Anna. Photo Credit: Netflix

“This Netflix description felt shocking. The woman she becomes because of Anna. Seven little words that in one fell swoop stripped me of my agency, accomplishments, and truth,” Williams wrote in a personal essay for Time entitled “Why Inventing Anna Is a Damaging Show,” which is excerpted from her book, My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress. “Were we meant to believe that the woman I had become was not on account of the parents who raised me, the love I shared with family and friends, my own efforts or personal growth, but because of Anna?”

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Reps for Williams did not immediately respond to MovieMaker‘s request for comment on whether she’s watched Inventing Anna and what she thinks of Lowes’ portrayal of her.

Sorokin was convicted in May 2019 on one count of attempted grand larceny, three counts of grand larceny and four counts of theft services. But she was found not guilty of defrauding Williams.

Sorokin’s lawyer, Todd Spodek, told ABC News of the disputed hotel bill: “I don’t believe a criminal act occurred. … “She [Williams] made a voluntary choice to put this debt on her credit card, she didn’t have to, she wasn’t forced to do it, she chose to do it, and that was a mistake.”

In a Feb. 5 essay for Air Mail, Williams accused the Netflix series of “effectively running a con woman’s PR.”

“For Anna and Netflix alike, attention is stock-in-trade,” Williams said in the story. “Consider that whatever scruples audiences may have with Inventing Anna, whether they celebrate or scrutinize its dubious dramatization, any controversy that ensues is sure to attract an even wider audience.”

She echoed a similar sentiment in the Time story.

“It will be seen by more people than will ever meet Anna or do the work to understand her real nature or what really happened,” she said. “And that is a dangerous reality.”

Inventing Anna is now streaming on Netflix.

Main Image: Katie Lowes as Rachel in episode 107 of Inventing Anna. Photo Credit: Nicole Rivelli/Netflix