Despite the hardship and trauma, some true crime stories have a ray of light at their center, often an intrepid survivor living their life to the fullest. For Inventing Anna, the Netflix hit about faux socialite Anna Delvey, that ray of light is Kacy Duke. Played by Laverne Cox, Delvey's former personal trainer and friend glides from scene to scene with a positive mindset and must-needed draggings, as she deals with the fallout from Delvey's crimes.
In real-life, Duke, who is only referred to as "the trainer" in the original article, works as an A-list personal trainer and life coach in NYC, and was previously the founding Group Fitness Director of Equinox. Her celeb client list over the years is intense and includes Dakota Johnson, Denzel Washington, Gwen Stefani, and Monica Lewinsky among others. Post-Delvey, Duke is still thriving. Here's everything we know about what the fitness guru has been up to.
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She trained with Laverne Cox ahead of the show.
In an interview with SheKnows, Cox raved about the trainer, describing her as a "vibrant, healthy, fit, sexually vibrant woman in her 60s."
“As I get older, Kacy’s an inspiration. I would love the world to get to know more about who Kacy Duke is, because she’s a pioneer in the fitness industry and she’s a Black woman,” Cox said. “Certainly Kacy’s lived an incredible life, she really has. But I think that more people should know who she is, and hopefully this show will allow that to happen.”
Cox also gave insight to Duke's training process, explaining that the positivity mantras depicted on the show are part of Duke's work in real life. "She becomes invested in her clients and that’s what happened with Anna. She was doing her job, but she does it in a way that she really cares. She really cares about you and wants you to be the very best version of yourself," Cox said.
She shares behind-the-scenes clips on Instagram.
Though she was anonymous in the initial article, Duke served as a consultant on Inventing Anna, per Vanity Fair, and has been promoting the series through interviews and on her Instagram. The trainer has reposted several behind-the-scenes clips originally shared by Laverne Cox, where the actor breaks out into dance in between takes, inspired by the trainer's teachings. For one of these clips, filmed in Morocco, Cox even included a quote from Duke: "Movement is a privilege. If you can move you should."
Besides show promotion, Duke also shares updates from her fabulous life working in NYC, training and teaching her life coaching method The Art of The Graceful Gangster. She spends her free time with her friends, her puppy Zeus, and her adorable grandsons.
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Anna tried to reconnect with her after prison.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Duke revealed that Delvey called her after being released from prison, to see if the trainer would reunite with her on camera. By that point, Duke had signed on to the Netflix show, and used the contract as an excuse to say no.
"I told her, 'I wish you the best. You have this opportunity. Do something better with this fame that you’re having. You’re a smart girl. Choose better things.'" Duke told the outlet. "That was the last time we spoke."
However, that wasn't the end of the Anna Delvey story for Duke. The faux heiress had moved into her neighborhood, and once reporters started showing up in Duke's lobby, the life coach suspected that Delvey had given them her address, or might come up to her on the street.
"I said, 'If she comes up to me with a camera crew, I’m going to deck her…. I don’t want to be responsible for what I’ll do,'" said Duke. "For months, every time I left the house, I was so uncomfortable."
Now, of course, we know that the footage Delvey was shooting at that time will probably be used for the scammer's upcoming docuseries. Looks like it won't include an appearance from her former trainer.
She has thoughts on Rachel Williams.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Duke explained that her feelings about the Morocco trip and the aftermath were the same as depicted on the show; she also shared her thoughts about Delvey's former friend Rachel Williams.
"The bottom line is Anna did something wrong," Duke said of the Morocco trip. "And no matter what you see or who you root for, Rachel was the victim. She could have maybe done certain things better. But you try having your credit cards run up by someone and not being able to pay your rent and not wanting your job to know. That was a lot. That was real. They can make Anna sound as crazy as Anna sounds, but at the end of the day, she hurt people…. Rachel was a working girl like the rest of us."
As depicted on the show, Williams' actions after the Morocco trip, including her cooperation in the FBI arrest, made Duke feel conflicted about her friendship. In an Entertainment Tonight interview, the life coach recalled hearing about Williams' involvement for the first time during her testimony at the trial, describing the moment as "pretty hurtful."
"Rachel, you know, I wish [she] would have been more honest with me, but I kind of I get it," Duke told the outlet. "[She] was a victim like the rest of us. But I’m a little mixed because I wish she would have been honest with me about getting the book deal, getting the HBO deal, all that stuff. Because I took off work and a lot of money to be supportive to her in court, which I don’t regret. But I wish that she would have been a little more honest with me."
She doesn't believe Anna is a "terrible person."
Duke told Vanity Fair that she doesn't believe Delvey was a bad person at heart. "I really believed that, if she would’ve gotten that [followup loan], she would’ve paid things back to people because she hated looking poor…. I think she really had a great idea for something. I think that she didn’t know how to execute it. She was using people. But she had something. She was ambitious."
She also said her experience with Anna reaffirmed one of her major beliefs. "When people come into your life, treat them with respect and give them what they need. But know when you have to set boundaries and back off. If you do this, you won’t lose step too long…. I refused to let Anna make me lose faith in humanity and distrust people."
Quinci LeGardye is a Contributing Culture Editor who covers TV, movies, Korean entertainment, books, and pop culture. When she isn’t writing or checking Twitter, she’s probably watching the latest K-drama or giving a concert performance in her car.
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