Have you ever felt like hanging your cranky boss upside down, ripping his heart out, cooking it in cheap cooking oil and feeding it to the rats! Well! Though that was an exaggeration, I do feel that there are many out there who are frustrated for letting their bosses torture their life with impractical requirements. Okay! You can now get back here (stop imagining different ways to torment your boss, I just gave a blown up example). If you are with me,a must watch movie is “The Devil Wears Prada”. It’s a movie which hit the screen in 2006 with a wonderful team comprising of a three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep, the Princess Diaries girl Anne Hathaway, the Emmy Award winner Stanley Tucci, etc. The movie surrounds around Andy (Anne Hathaway) who is an assistant to a diabolical editor Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), who squeezes out Andy’s piece of mind by ordering around unrealistic demands. Ultimately, Andy survives the journey but also learns that a dream job is never the highest priority if it takes your personal life down the drain. The story is adapted from the book The Devil Wears Prada written by Lauren Weisberger and is directed by David Frankel.
I would be using a few names a lot of times. So, this is for those who are not familiar with the characters in the movie.
Miranda Priestly: The editor-in-chief of Runway magazine who is extremely demanding and is a high maintenance.
Andy : Assistant to Miranda Priestly who settles for a job which is unrelated to her talents in journalism
Emily : Andy’s co-worker and 1st assistant of Miranda Priestly who always taunts Andy for her hideous fashion sense.
Nigel : Andy’s co-worker, confidant & mentor
Here are a few things that I can never forget from the movie:
1) “You eat carbs for Christ’s sake.” and “I’m just one stomach flu away from my goal weight”
As an Indian, I never understood the obsession of fashion TV models with size zero. But after watching the movie, deep down, I was puzzled by the way people were treated with fat in their body which was not even evident (trust me, Andy was way too lean and yet was accused of being size 6! They would crucify me if I was her). The conversation between Andy and Nigel goes like this:
Andy: So none of the girls here eat anything?
Nigel: Not since two became new four and zero became the new two.
Andy: Well, I’m a six…
Nigel: Which is the new fourteen.
Another conversation I remember in the movie goes something like this:
Emily: Andrea, my God! You look so chic.
Andy : Oh, thanks. You look so thin.
Emily: Really? It’s for Paris; I’m on this new diet. Well, I don’t eat anything and when I feel like I’m about to faint I eat a cube of cheese. I’m just one stomach flu away from my goal weight.
Now don’t judge me! I am from a typical “khati peeti khandan”. And in India, being size 0, 1, 2, 3…n, in any way is an unrelated metric for being considered fit. It’s just that the poor people are thin and rich people fat and healthy :). But coming to the point, guys, eating Pizza, burger, CARBS is NOT okay!
2) Are you a celebrity’s assistant? (Zip your mouth in that case)
Okey people, being an icon’s assistant isn’t going to be that easy. The Gods are going to be upset if you waste your celeb boss’s time with useless (well! any) questions. When your boss is having a talk with you, it is understood that it’s a one sided chat :). I remember the conversation in the movie which goes like this:
Miranda: I need 10 or 15 skirts from Calvin Klein…
Andy Sachs: What kind of skirts?
Miranda: please bore someone else with your, questions!
3) It is cerulean, NOT blue or cyan:
Well! I am totally with Andy, who giggles seeing Miranda and a few assistants decide between 2 similar colored belts for an outfit. But what happened after that, just made me realize that, if you are in the fashion industry, you better make an effort to stuff details about the trade into your head. By the way, cerulean is the color of the belt Miranda was holding and the shade is a hue ranging between cyan and blue.
Miranda : [Miranda and some assistants are deciding between two similar colored belts for an outfit. Andy giggles as they look exactly the same] something funny?
Andys : No. No, no. Nothing… You know, it’s just that both those belts look exactly the same to me. You know, I’m still learning about all this stuff and, uh…
Miranda : This… stuff? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent… wasn’t it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.
4) Don’t expect your boss to acknowledge or thank you.
Accept it! You cannot wait for your boss to appreciate your every move and lavishly praise while he/she gently pushes you on cloud 9 for all the small things. If you were a boss, would you do that? Hmmm, I am not sure about you, but I did learn from the movie that a slight push with words of encouragement will definitely help boost an employee’s moraleJ. In the movie, Andy is frustrated as Miranda tries to dump unpredictable requests which have nothing to do with her journalistic talent. Nigel makes her understand that a million girls would die to get her job yet Andy just deigns to work.
Andy : She hates me, Nigel.
Nigel: And that’s my problem because. Oh, wait. No, it’s not my problem.
Andy : I don’t know what else I can do because if I do something right, it’s unacknowledged. She doesn’t even say thank you. But if I do something wrong, she is vicious.
Nigel: So quit.
Andy : What?
Nigel : Quit.
Andy : Quit?
Nigel : I can get another girl to take your job in five minutes… one who really wants it.
Andy : No, I don’t want to quit. That’s not fair. But, I, you know, I’m just saying that I would just like a little credit… for the fact that I’m killing myself trying.
Nigel : Andy, be serious. You are not trying. You are whining. What is it that you want me to say to you, huh? Do you want me to say, “Poor you. Miranda’s picking on you. Poor you. Poor Andy”? Hmmmmm? Wake up, six. She’s just doing her job. Don’t you know that you are working at the place that published some of the greatest artists of the century? Halston, Lagerfeld, de la Renta. And what they did, what they created was greater than art because you live your life in it. Well, not you, obviously, but some people. You think this is just a magazine, hmm? This is not just a magazine. This is a shining beacon of hope for… oh, I don’t know… let’s say a young boy growing up in Rhode Island with six brothers pretending to go to soccer practice when he was really going to sewing class and reading Runway under the covers at night with a flashlight. You have no idea how many legends have walked these halls. And what’s worse, you don’t care. Because this place, where so many people would die to work you only deign to work. And you want to know why she doesn’t kiss you on the forehead and give you a gold star on your homework at the end of the day. Wake up, sweetheart.
5) Always remember the names of important people in your field:
I remember the scene when Miranda throws a party where noted people from the fashion industry are invited. Andy and Emily’s only job as assistants was to prompt the names of the guests (which they had been memorizing since weeks) to the boss, so that it would seem like Miranda knew every person in the party personally. Well! I was pretty impressed by the trick. Hmmm… I would follow Miranda’s footstep once I become the chief editorial of Vogue in the future
6) It’s a universal truth – Women go gaga over handbags.
Do you remember the scene when Andy gifts her friend Lilly the new Marc Jacobs handbag? I love the way she reacts. It’s a disgrace to mankind if a handbag worth kisses and love is left behind unattended. The pleasure associated with carrying a trendy new handbag is like carrying a souvenir from heaven.
Andy: Oh, one more little thing.
Lilly [struggles for breath]: Gimme!
Andy: You want it?
Lilly: Gimme, gimme, gimme
Andy : I think she likes it.
Lilly: Oh my god! This is the new Marc Jacobs. This is, like, sold out everywhere. Where did you get this?
Andy: Miranda didn’t want it so …
Lilly: Oh no. This bag is, like, nineteen hundred dollars. I cannot take this from her
[On the other hand, she starts filling the new bag with her belongings ]
Andy: Sure you can.
7) Dream job – doesn’t have to be always the right job for you:
Andy sacrifices her time on her bosses’ impractical demands which erodes her personal life. There were instances like, she spoils an evening meant for spending time with her father, misses her boyfriend’s birthday party, talks rudely to her friends, etc. But being an assistant for the editor-in-chief of Manhattan-based Runway magazine was not less than a dream job for million girls. But ultimately, she realizes that in this rat race, she ends up hurting many people and loosing loved ones from her life. Loved the irony when Miranda said “Everybody wants to be us”.
Miranda: You chose to get ahead. If you want this life, those choices are necessary.
Andy: But what if this isn’t what I want? What if I don’t want to live the way you live?
Miranda: Oh, don’t be ridiculous, Andrea! Everybody wants this. Everybody wants to be us.
It was a hell of a ride for Andy who survives all odds in the movie but it also taught me a few things that I’ll never forget in my life. Always be original and yourself. At work, nothing can be termed as an unreasonable request and thus, don’t make excuses or expect your boss to thank you always. And as Nate ( Andy boyfriend) says while Andy takes a call from Miranda,
“You know, in case you were wondering, the person whose calls you always take? That’s the relationship you’re in. I hope you two are very happy together. “
So, ensure you are not in a relationship with your job. From what I have understood, no matter what, Family wins the first place in any expedition. And for now, as Miranda says “That’s all “