6 movies that glamorize working at a magazine
We know movies are never perfectly realistic, but when it comes to the magazine industry they seem to really go off the deep end. Clearly working in magazines is a cool career otherwise so many people wouldn’t be competing for a job. However, there is a big difference between being an Editorial Assistant and being Anna Wintour. And yet, according to most films, this isn’t the case, with the misconception that you receive all of the same perks. In this deluded reality, you hang out with celebrities all day and wear cool clothes before taking a car home to your giant loft in Soho that you can somehow magically afford even though you are 24 and are a copy editor. As someone who has talked with many magazine editors and writers, I can tell you that is very much not the case.
Here are a few films that glamorize working at a magazine:
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
In this scenario we are supposed to believe that magazine columnists constantly inject themselves into stories; especially those involving their love lives. It is supposedly entirely worth jeopardising their personal life by lying to someone for days in order to get a column. And, of course, Andie Anderson has one of the best wardrobes ever – totally affordable on a staff writer’s salary…
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Okay, so you could argue that The Devil Wears Prada depicts the not-so-fun side of fashion, but you still have to admit it looks pretty cool to work at a magazine: the cars, the photo-shoots, the trip to Paris, the fashion closet complete with a Fairy Godmother in the form of Stanley Tucci, etc. Miranda Priestly may have made Andy’s life hell, but for the clothes she has at her disposal, I think we may have sucked it up too.
13 Going on 30 (2003)
With 13 Going on 30, we are supposed to believe that a 13 year old could totally figure out how to run a magazine and do it well. But also the main character, Jenna Rink, has a huge office (complete with a nervous assistant) and one of the best apartments I’ve ever seen (my entire apartment could fit in her closet…twice.) And as much as I’d love to go to a magazine party where they play Thriller, it doesn’t happen.
Almost Famous (2000)
Yes. Major magazines like Rolling Stone hire 16 year old students all the time to go on the road with cool bands and write about them and then give them the cover story. That definitely happens.
Sex & the City: The Movie (2008)
Unless you are a celebrity or model who dabbles in writing, writers in general do not get asked to pose for photo shoots; especially ones featuring au couture wedding dresses. But in Sex & the City world, anything is possible. After all, this is the woman who managed to live in a huge apartment wearing designer labels and buying Manolo Blahniks like they were candy bars for six years by only writing one short column a week.
This pattern of glamorizing journalism starts early in the Sex & the City world as we have seen on The Carrie Diaries, a prequel TV show about Carrie Bradshaw that premiered on the CW this year. On her first day as an intern at a law firm in New York, Carrie runs into (literally) an Editor at Interview Magazine who pretty much offers her a job because her bag is cool. Soon she is running errands for Andy Warhol and styling photo-shoots. That is a far cry from what we hear about interns working in fashion magazines today.
The Women (2008)
In the remake of this film, Annette Bening plays Sylvia Fowler; a ballsy, selfish woman who tells it like it is and happens to be the Editor of a big fashion magazine (though it seems like her character is modelled after former New Yorker and Daily Beast Editor Tina Brown). She dresses impeccably and carries her little dog around, while taking lunch breaks at Bergdorfs, but she loses everything when she ends up selling her friend down the river to get a famous journalist to write a celebrity profile for her.
Yes, it is a TV show but we have to give a special shout-out to this program’s depiction of what it is like to work at Vogue as an intern. According to Glee, at Vogue you can get promoted from intern to right hand man to a top Editor in one day. You can also break into an office in the middle of the night and let your weird roommate try on clothes and then film this and make a music video. You won’t even get a slap on the wrist for that. Instead you will get your Editor, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, breaking into an Annie medley complete with a little soft shoe. Also, is Kirk wearing a medallion around his neck?
Meredith is the former editor in chief of the women's career site, The Grindstone. Her work has appeared in Marie Claire @ Work, The Jane Dough, DailyWorth, SheKnows.com, Business Insider and Learnvest. She earned her Masters in Magazine, Newspaper and Online journalism from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Meredith resides in New York full time and enjoys reading, jogging, SoulCycle and playing with her small dog, Otis.View all Meredith Lepore posts.