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Knoxville woman's friendship with Anna Delvey portrayed in new Netflix show

If you "choose to leave names intact, you also have to leave facts intact." Rachel DeLoache Williams has strong words for Netflix after "Inventing Anna" debuts.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — "Inventing Anna" is in the top 10 most-watched shows on Netflix. It's a captivating series about a fake German heiress who manipulated her way into elite New York social circles. 

One of Anna Delvey's real-life victims is Rachel DeLoache Williams who is from Knoxville. She has strong words for the streaming service after she said her portrayal in the show was all wrong.

"I grew up here. I went to Sequoyah Elementary, Bearden Middle, and West High School," Rachel said.

Credit: Rachel DeLoache Williams
Rachel growing up in Knox County

Rachel DeLoache Williams never imagined when she moved from Tennessee to New York and worked her way up to photo editor at Vanity Fair that her life would become tabloid fodder and eventually a Netflix series. But that was the unfortunate result of her friendship with fake German heiress Anna Delvey.

Rachel said she was intrigued when she initially met Anna.

"There's something that pulls you in because it's enigmatic, or mysterious or like you can't figure out what the deal is. But while you're sort of fixating on that there's something deeper happening and that's how the con works," Rachel said.

Rachel said she was conned during a fabulous, over-the-top vacation to Morocco where Anna was supposed to foot the bill.

Credit: Rachel DeLoache Williams
Rachel DeLoache Williams and fake heiress Anna Delvey in Morocco.

"The cavalier disregard for the way that money was spent was very unique to Anna. Even when we got there she had signed up for tennis lessons every morning or she found ways to spend money that I would never have thought of. And I also didn't participate. It was very much I'm aware of myself as a guest," Rachel said.

Rachel said Anna was having credit card issues so she put her card down for a temporary hold at the luxe hotel. After she left, the entire $60,000 hotel bill ended up on Rachel's personal card.

"Of course, things unfolded in a way I never anticipated, but it wasn't until after I was gone that I even knew my credit cards could sustain that kind of debt," Rachel said.

Then came the mind-numbing communication back and forth where Rachel tried to recoup her losses and Anna made excuse after excuse and ultimately never paid her back. Rachel said she was traumatized.

"I started to write because after realizing that this person I'd spent however many months with, thinking that she was my friend, when I realized that it was all this illusion and this charade and I was drowning in information," Rachel said.

So she wrote a book "My Friend Anna." It's Rachel's account of what happened.

Credit: Rachel DeLoache Williams
The cover of Rachel's book "My Friend Anna"

And then came the Netflix series. "Inventing Anna" has all the makings of a binge-worthy series. It's flashy, sensational and true, except for the parts that are totally made up as stated at the beginning of every episode.

Rachel said her portrayal in the Netflix show is, in fact, totally made up, everything but her name, her job and where she went to college-- identifying details.

"I think the way that they've blended fact and fiction together is particularly dangerous and it's effectively how misinformation is born," Rachel said.

In the series, Rachel comes off as a clueless New Yorker who enjoys the luxe life being a friend of Anna Delvey affords.

"They took my name and then stuffed every offensive thing they could about being a young white woman and in a show that's trying to make a commentary about privilege. They basically just use my character to represent so many different things and in such a heavy-handed way that it's almost cartoonish, but it's still very damaging," Rachel said. "If you're going to dramatize something where you choose to leave names intact, you also have to leave facts intact."

She also objects to Anna's Robin Hood depiction. 

"It's very irresponsible for Netflix to be telling it in this way, celebrating somebody who is so callous, and their willingness to take advantage of people around them to manipulate them for their own greedy goals," Rachel said.

Rachel said she is doing really well now and has learned a very valuable life lesson.

Credit: Rachel DeLoache Williams
Rachel working with Vanity Fair

"What I didn't realize is that when you give someone your time and attention that's the act of being influenced, whether or not you realize it at the time, because if you're paying attention to one thing, you're not paying attention to something else. So I didn't realize how much I had been investing in her and our friendship without even knowing it," Rachel said. "I hold firmer limits, I set boundaries I'm more aware of time and privacy as very valuable things to me. And I'm much more careful with who I let into my innermost circle."

We did reach out to Netflix and Anna Delvey for comment and did not hear back.

Rachel's book is a New York Times bestseller.