The Devil Wears Prada is one of those movies I can watch over and over, back to back. I can’t even count the ways I love this movie, but I’ll try. It’s so lovably catty, superficial while being kind of significant, and endlessly quotable. It also offers a few life lessons I think we can all benefit from.
Strong interviewing skills are really necessary when you’re fat. Miranda Priestly, the fictional editor of Runway magazine (hello, Vogue) consistently hires slender, well-dressed, rabid fans of the magazine. Andy Sachs is a size 6 (fashion fat), poorly dressed, fashion-ignorant recent college graduate looking for a job at any magazine to advance her journalism career. In her brief “interview” with Miranda, she really screws the pooch by admitting that she’s just interviewing at Runway because “it’s this or Auto Universe“. Um, hello? Know the job you’re interviewing for! You’re not going to get a job you admit to the interviewer you don’t really give a shit about. And you definitely don’t show up to an interview at a freaking fashion magazine in a sweater vest. Unless, I guess, sweater vests are in that season, but I haven’t been alive long enough to see sweater vests be in, ever. Now, Andy may not be familiar with being considered fat, but any fat girl worth her diet salt knows that fat women have to work twice as hard — and look twice as good — to get a job. Get it together, girl. You’re lucky Miranda Priestly is famous for being unpredictable.
Try not to laugh in your boss’ face. Try hard. This is a pretty simple lesson to learn and most folks can figure this one out on their own. While observing a “run-through”, in which fashion editors show Miranda looks for the next issue, one of the editors holds up two belts that admittedly even to me look similar and says “they’re so different”. Andy promptly starts snickering. This prompts one of my favorite monologues in the movie, where Miranda rips her a new one telling her exactly why fashion matters and where that lumpy blue sweater she’s wearing came from.
Don’t give your friends expensive shit you get from your job if they’re going to be dicks about you doing your job. Andy shows up to dinner with her friends toting a bunch of triple digit prizes passed down to her by Miranda, including a Marc Jacobs bag that apparently costs $600. Andy gives it to her friend who gets all excited, then Miranda calls her cell and the same friend who gladly took the bag grabs her phone and starts tossing it around like a child playing keep away. Then they all start snickering as she talks to Miranda. What the hell, people? Her job is bomb while she’s giving you treats but when she actually has to work she’s a sellout?
Being true to yourself sometimes means you do stupid things like walk away from a life of glamour and excitement. Here’s where I discover that I have less scruples than I thought I did. At the end when Andy decides that she doesn’t want to be cutthroat like Miranda and leaves her high and dry in Paris, throwing her cell phone into a fountain (hello, how are you getting home, you’re in freaking Paris), I always find myself yelling “don’t walk away, Andrea!” at the screen. I guess because I’m one of the millions of girls that would kill for that job my priorities are in a different place.
[This post also appeared on the other blog I write for, I Fry Mine In Butter.]