From Grey’s Anatomy to Scandal to Bridgerton, Shonda Rhimes has no shortage of iconic shows. But which Shondaland show does Inventing Anna star Alexis Floyd know best? (Other than her own, of course.)
In honor of StyleCaster’s Love Is Funny issue, we tested Floyd on her knowledge of four Shondaland’s most-watched series—Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Bridgerton and, of course, Inventing Anna—in a game of “Name That Line.” In the game, Floyd, who stars as Neff Davis in Netflix’s Inventing Anna, had to identify whether a line was from either Inventing Anna, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal or Bridgerton, and let’s just say she did quite well.
Inventing Anna is a true-crime miniseries created by Rhimes based on a 2018 New York magazine article about Anna Sorokin, a woman who masqueraded as a German heiress to defraud banks, hotels and her high-profile friends under the name Anna Delvey. In an interview for StyleCaster’s February 2022 issue, the Love Is Funny issue, Floyd revealed what it was like to meet the real Neff, a former concierge at an upscale hotel in New York City who befriended Anna after she checks in as a guest and tipped her with a $100 bill.
“We both worked front-desk jobs. We’re both struggling to keep the balls in the air of tending the flame of your art but also keeping food on the table,” Floyd said. “There were a lot of stars aligning between the two of us.” Floyd also learned more about Neff’s relationship with Anna. “The biggest clue that I got from meeting with Neff in person was into the intimacy of her friendship with Anna, into the real connection they had. They were really friends, and at certain points, almost like sisters,” she says.
She also told StyleCaster what she’s most excited for Neff to see in Inventing Anna. “I’m excited for Neff to see the show. One thing I know for sure is she’s going to love the looks. Neff is popping. The most important thing was to honor that she’s a real person and her vulnerability and dimensionality and to find the motivation in her actions,” she said. “The story was fantastical. Sometimes it feels like a ghost story. Shonda was really clear from the beginning that we weren’t doing imitations. We were taking the bits of the story and bringing them to life. I didn’t feel pressured about doing a carbon copy of Neff, especially because the writing took so much poetic license and nuance to bring the humanity of these people through. I just wanted to make sure her heart came through.”
Floyd also revealed why she thinks Neff is one of the few friends from before Anna’s arrest for grand larceny in 2017 who still has a relationship with her now. “After speaking to Neff, she was 100 percent sure Anna was who she said she was. Neff’s doubt might creep in from other influences in the moment, but she is always quick to shut it down,” Floyd said. “That inner strength of trusting her relationship with Anna carried me through, and it makes it all the more heartbreaking when she finds out that Anna may not have been fully honest about where she comes from. In the end, she still thinks their friendship was real, and I think Neff would say that today.”
Floyd also told StyleCaster about what it was like to meet Rhimes for the first and the moment with the showrunner that will change her life forever. “The first time we digitally met was at a Zoom meeting. But the first time I met her in person was in Los Angeles for our first table read. She was in her element. She really leads as a writer, especially in that room. She’s art first. Right after that, she’s people first,” she said. “We finished the table read. She waved me over, and we had a real one-on-one. She said to me, ‘I had three gut feeling moments about actors before in my life that I thought were going to turn into something big.’ It was Katie Lowes, Sandra Oh and myself. That was such a moment of exponential sunshine that stayed with me. It really felt like a root went into the ground, and I could be in this space with this cast that’s just extraordinary times extraordinary. She really said to me, ‘You’re home.’”