Revenge Wears Prada: Lauren Weisberger talks about writing the sequel to fashion’s favorite novel
Ten years ago the fashion world fell in love with the story of Andy and her exhausting efforts as Miranda Priestley’s assistant, starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep. It was a situation that many people could relate to, especially those who worked in the world of fashion magazines, public relations and designer houses. Interns and assistants everywhere knew exactly what Andy was going through, they themselves on-call 24/7 to do whatever their superior requested, whether it was as simple as getting a non-fat latte or as insane as finding a private plane in a hurricane.
Lauren Weisberger based her top-selling chick lit novel The Devil Wears Prada on her own experiences as an assistant to notorious Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. She was at Vogue for less than a year, where she was expected to be ready to answer to Anna Wintour’s beck and call at all hours of the day. Not exactly the glamorous Vogue life you would expect.
“The part that was hardest for me was being on call 24/7. Ten years ago it was exciting merely to have a mobile phone, and I couldn’t quite get used to the idea that it could ring at any time of the day or night,” Weisberger tells Your Coffee Break. “Now that doesn’t sound so shocking, but back then it was a lot to get used to!”
And just as things have as changed since Weisberger was Anna Wintour’s assistant over a decade ago, things have also changed for the characters in the sequel, Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns. In her newest book, the author picks up ten years later with Andy and Emily, revealing that each of them have made different career choices.
“It was a completely different experience than starting from scratch! I was able to revisit characters I already knew but could then completely invent what they’d been up to the past decade,” says Weisberger. “I like to think that Andy is more confident and successful in this book, which maybe reflects how I feel about my own life and career now. The Andy of the first book was a wide-eyed, scared 22 year-old. She has a lot more experience under her belt when Revenge Wears Prada opens, and it shows. So much happens in a woman’s twenties, and hopefully one of those things is advancing in your career and, in turn, feeling more confident in your decisions.”
But unlike her first novel, Lauren Weisberger takes a third-person look into her character’s lives, rather than the first person perspective of The Devil Wears Prada. But she says that it doesn’t affect the similarities between her and Andy. Many of the things Andy has done in the past ten years are similar to how Lauren has spent her life post-Vogue.
“I think I’ll always be a writer who’s inspired by things I experience in my own life. In Revenge Wears Prada, Andy is still someone who loves writing and makes her living at a magazine,” explains Weisberger. “Both she and I are in love with New York, and the city continues to play a huge role in the novel. I got married and had children since the first book, and I don’t want to give too much away, but motherhood definitely plays a part in this book as well.”
Writing Revenge Wears Prada was an enjoyable experience for Weisberger because she was able to reflect on the things that have changed in her own life. However, when things in her life aren’t as juicy as she would like, she turns to her other inspiration: gossip magazines.
“The inspiration for some of the crazier stuff in this book comes from reading a lot of really bad magazines! Seriously, I admit to subscribing to all the celebrity rags, and I enjoy reading about their crazy lives,” confesses Weisberger. “Then comes the best part of being an author: if the celebs aren’t doing ridiculous enough things on their own, you can just make it up for them.”
Another great part about being an author? Getting to witness the love and support of her fans.
“One of the best things of this book being published has been getting to meet the readers. So much of writing a book is done alone in a room, in sweatpants, with only the internet for company,” explains Weisberger. “Then once every couple years I get to emerge and actually get out there and meet the people who read my books. I love hearing their feedback and connecting some faces with the names. It’s by far my favourite part of the whole experience.”
And although she hasn’t revealed her future writing plans, Your Coffee Break can’t wait to see what she will come up with next!
The Devil Wears Prada never gets old. Period.