It’s 4 o’clock on a Monday afternoon and Anna Sorokin is blasting Drake out of Manhattan’s East Village. When I reach the top of her five-story walk, she won’t come out, instead I’m yelling from the bathroom to let myself in.
“Sorry, I’ll be right out. I can’t figure out what to wear! What is the vibration?” Julia Garner interrogates her pseudo-German heiress in the familiar European accent she’s mastered in her portrayal of “Inventing Anna.”
The Netflix series, created by Shonda Rhimes, details the true life story of 31-year-old Sorokin. In a members-only art club. In the year In 2019, she was convicted of grand larceny, among other financial crimes, for stealing more than $200,000 from investors, banks and friends and ultimately ruining the lives of many. She spent most of her two-year sentence at Riker’s Prison.
Rap music playing from a fancy Bluetooth speaker, messy clothing choices laid out on her bed: it looks like we’re getting ready for a night of clubbing in downtown Manhattan. But after her release from prison in February 2021, nightlife won’t be an option for Sorokin, who has been detained by immigration authorities for overstaying her visa. Now, she’s on an ankle brace and under an agreement to stay off social media, which means her photoshoots will have to take place indoors for the foreseeable future. And she seems to have plenty. She’s been on a packed press schedule since her release last month, usually marking some kind of promotional campaign for a new product release or a book or show announcement. But now that she’s out of prison, Sorokin is back promoting the same thing herself.
Her advertised apartment (she signed a temporary six-month lease) is as small as all New York apartments are, but anyone familiar with the New York housing market knows that a substantial savings account is needed to afford a newly renovated one. One bedroom apartment in the heart of the East Village. Four giant prints from Graham Fortgang’s “New York is Dead” photo series take up most of the real estate on her wall (these cost between $2,500 and $8,000 each, but she says she got them for free at a pop-up event she planned. Gallery owner Samara Bliss). One wall is dedicated to her own art, which she says has earned her $200,000 in illustrations and photocopied prints she made behind the bar.
This money was her way of paying the security deposit on her apartment and three months of rent. “I don’t know why people are surprised, it’s not like I picked something up overnight,” she says. “While I was in prison I was constantly working and selling a lot of my art, I wasn’t just sitting there doing nothing.”
She tells me all this while touching up her make-up in the bathroom, which is stocked with high-end, drugstore beauty products. Glossier serums and Dior mascaras are scattered throughout her medicine cabinet, while moisturizers and face creams and perfumes spill over the windowsill.
The rest of her space is empty for someone forced to stay indoors all day, but there is still a remnant of her past. Celine’s sunglasses and Susan Alexandra’s “I love New York” bag are propped up on her kitchen table, making the most of the space since she doesn’t cook. “I have people who deliver everything to me,” she says.
Her fridge has no food and is instead stocked with La Croix, Diet Coke and San Pellegrino, her sparkling water of choice. “The packaging is so beautiful, it’s the best.”
I pour myself a glass of water and make myself at home, until she finally comes out in a long, black cotton dress. “Is this too bubbly?” she asks, still holding the zipper. After a few minutes of her last appearance, we sit down to talk about what she’s been up to since her release.
Sorokin has many plans for the memoir project and her art, but the most fleshed-out creation she has in the pipeline is the dinner series. This VIP invitation allows a select group of attendees to attend her dinner. And what exactly do you do? It’s hard to say. She said she wants to use the dinners to support criminal justice organizations like the Marshall Project, the ACLU and the Equal Justice Initiative (EGI). She doesn’t have any organization yet as everything is in the early stages. However, her inbox is said to be inundated with celebrity chefs and production companies wanting to host the event.
“No one cares about my ideas about criminal justice, how I want to fix it or make a difference. I feel like it would be a shame to waste my voice and the attention I get just on photoshoots,” she says as the camera flashes next to her. I’m in this unique position where I have a platform, and I have the credibility of someone who’s been through the system, rather than some random celebrity who needs a pet cause.
“He’s been given a lot of attention because he’s still not completely out of character,” she says. “I’m not like feeding the homeless kids. It’s still what people expect from me.”
Her dream dinner guests? Anna Wintour, Brett Easton Ellis and Elon Musk.
“I think about what I like. [Elon] His views are very fluid and constantly changing. So, as long as it’s not on the terms, he has no problem admitting he’s wrong or changing his mind without being honest. I don’t think many people do that. ”
Tech titans like Mook were interested in Sorokin. Her boyfriend in her 20s is techie Hunter Lee Soyk, played by Samer Usmani in the Netflix series, who introduces her to many socialites who fall victim to scams during that time.
She says the scams are behind her – despite the fact that the publicist initially asked Difference I paid $3,000 in glam for this photo shoot, and when I refused, I received green juice and sparkling water.
While she has yet to say she’s sorry or admit she was wrong for her actions, she says she’s more aware of the public’s perception of her, especially after seeing the publicity about her that she’s largely been blindsided by her time in prison.
“It took me a while to get into social media to see how people perceive me,” she says. “I didn’t do it in one day, it’s a process.”
“I realize how toxic it is if I’m in a position of power, and if I look at someone like myself, the younger generation will look at me and say it’s okay to do. I just felt like I was in denial. I was like, ‘I did everything they wanted me to do.’ What else do you want from me?
That said, negative comments don’t affect her much. “I find it interesting, I understand quickly.”
I ask her if she experiences anxiety. “Not really,” she says, laughing. The word seems like a foreign concept to her.
What about all the things that happened before she was captured? The texts she received from Rachel asking for the thousands of dollars she was owed? Or the moment she found out she couldn’t get the requested documents to her main investor? When all the lies begin to crumble around her?
“I’ve never really seen it [the sequence of events] I don’t know that way,” she says, still smiling.
Regardless of her circumstances, she always tries to have a good time. Wrapping up my last question, she sent over two bottles of wine to celebrate the end of the shoot. She poured me two glasses and cheered me on: “Everybody says I’m going down, but I’m living better than you all.