'Inventing Anna': Is Neff Based on a Real Person? Alexis Floyd on Playing Anna's BFF

Inventing Anna is the Netflix series everybody is talking about. The nine-part series stars Ozark's Julia Garner as the now-convicted fraudster Anna Sorokin, also known as Anna Delvey. From 2013 to 2017, Delvey was able to con New York businesses, hotels, banks and her own friends out of thousands of dollars by posing as a German heiress with a $60 million trust fund.

The series is inspired by the article "How Anna Delvey Tricked New York's Party People" by New York Magazine journalist Jessica Pressler, which featured interviews with those closest to Anna. Many of the people from Pressler's article feature in the Netflix series as highly fictionalized versions of themselves, or under different names, and audiences want to know everything about Delvey's former BFF, Neff.

Luckily, Alexis Floyd, who plays Neff in the series, told Newsweek all about her character.

Is Neff in Inventing Anna Based on a Real Person?

Yes, Neff is based on a real person. In Inventing Anna, audiences meet Neff in the very first episode as she tries to organize for herself and Delvey's friends to visit her in prison, which ultimately fails.

Neff in Inventing Anna is based on the real Neffatari Davis. When she was 25, Davis, an aspiring filmmaker, did work as a concierge at the luxury hotel 11 Howard Street, where Anna lived for over a month, tipping staff with $100 bills, as seen in Inventing Anna.

Davis and Delvey soon became close friends, hanging out together in and outside of the hotel. Davis was treated to expensive clothes and restaurants by Delvey and they even mixed with some famous faces, including Martin Shkreli and Home Alone's Macaulay Culkin.

When Delvey was arrested, Davis really did send coconut milk and PJ's to Rikers and reached out to close friend and stylist Anastasia Walker (Natasha in the series) to style Delvey ahead of her courtroom appearances. Davis then documented Delvey's looks via the @annadelveycourtlooks Instagram account she set up, reports Cosmopolitan.

Speaking to Newsweek, Alexis Floyd who plays the role of Neff, described the real Neff as incredibly loyal to Delvey.

She said: "Even as things start to unravel, in terms of, you know, the validity of her financial circumstances, Neff stays tried and true to her, her loyalty is unshakable and I think she really holds on to the fact that she got to know this woman in a very special unique way. Their friendship is actually very vulnerable and truthful and Neff really holds fast to that to that. So even as the world around them starts to change, I think the friendship between Neff and Anna stays solid in this really trustful, beautiful way."

To prepare for the role, Floyd and Davis met up for dinner and stayed in touch throughout the entire filming process.

Floyd shared: "She was very generous and open to sharing her time and her story with me and that stayed true throughout the process.

"I was really fascinated by how well she knows herself, so I wanted to get to know her as much as possible because she just seems like she has this really beautiful kind of graceful self-confidence that I think is so unique and almost regal and I wanted to celebrate that as much as possible.

"Then I also spent a lot of time just getting to know her sound. I love the way she speaks. She's got this rhythm. She's got this DC and New York blend going on. She loves music, and you can kind of hear it in the way she speaks. And so I spent a lot of time you know, just walking around listening to her speak."

She added: "Jessica Pressler, the journalist, saw Neff as kind of like our viewfinder into the Anna world. She's sort of our grounded home base that we can come back to when we're getting wrapped up in the Anna effect, if you will.

"That was really exciting to me, to play someone who kind of feels like where we can check back in and find ourselves again, and connect with our values and who we are. It was Neff, and I thought that Shonda [Rhimes] and Jessica Pressler saw that and celebrated that about her. And it was a cool perspective to get to tap into."

Today, the real Neff and Anna Delvey remain good friends. Speaking to Bustle after the release of Inventing Anna, Davis said: "Anna is my friend and always will be. We had to get to know each other again and develop healthy boundaries. We have blocked and unblocked each other, cried, and laughed. I get her."

Davis is still pursuing her career in directing, having recently moved to Los Angeles. She also shadowed the production of Inventing Anna and recently finished her first TV script.

Inventing Anna is streaming on Netflix now.

Neff Inventing Anna
Alexis Floyd as Neff in "Inventing Anna" on Netflix. Netflix

Editor's Picks

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to Newsweek.com
  • Ad free Newsweek.com experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to Newsweek.com
  • Ad free Newsweek.com experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts