“The Devil Wears Prada” is one of the many movies that has become a staple in modern pop culture. It’s a movie that’s not only given us amazing performances from some of our favorite Hollywood icons like Meryl Streep & Stanley Tucci, but also quotes that are hilarious and timeless, that have aged like the finest bottle of wine. “Florals for spring….groundbreaking” is a personal mantra of mine that has been a part of my vocabulary, amongst many of the film’s lines, since my first time viewing it. Being a young, impressionable little fashion snob myself, I loved the story of a wide-eyed girl from the midwest moving to the big city, getting a job at a fashion magazine, and accomplishing her goals. Come to think of it, if you remove the fashion magazine aspect, that is practically the plot of many early 2000 flicks. However, after watching the movie an unnecessarily obsessive amount of times, and placing myself in Andrea Sachs hideous clogs, there were a few issues I had with some of the choices she made in the movie. It is a movie after all, so we should expect some questionable and unrealistic behavior, however there are just some stones that can not be left unturned in this film. With that being said, I’ve devised my top 3 list of things I and many other sensible humans would’ve done had Andrea Sachs been a real individual in “The Devil Wears Prada”.

 

Fake it Until You Make It

In the beginning of the movie, we see Andrea Sachs, a graduate from Northwestern University, who is getting ready to head to her preliminary interview at Runway magazine. Though she is clearly not dressed for the job of someone working at a fashion magazine, she heads to the interview with nothing but optimism in her eyes and an onion bagel in her hands. When she arrives, she’s given a not so warm and snotty welcome by the editor-in-chief’s #1 assistant, Emily Charlton. After being given a brief tour of the Runway office, they are surprised to hear that the grand dame bitch herself, Miranda Priestly, has arrived to work early this morning after a less than satisfactory facial appointment. And after criticizing Emily’s past choices in potential hires, Miranda decides to interview Ms. Sachs herself. 

Alright, so normally when you interview for a job, especially one that you have some hopes of landing, any normal person would do some research at the company they plan on gaining employment from. And with this being a fashion magazine, the research is literally sitting right outside her stoop at any of the nearest newsstands within a 1 mile radius. It’s fun to see this sweet girl with absolutely no sense of style (no no….that wasn’t a question), somehow land a job at one of the most prestigious magazines. However in reality, she would’ve been shown the door just as fast as she entered. Yes she had an impressive resume, and yes she had a great little speech about her work ethic, but in today’s job market, everyone looks good on paper and talk is cheap.

 If Andrea had even taken a moment to look up Runway magazine, or at least known the name of the editor-in-chief for christ sake, her tenure at Runway would’ve been much smoother since people might have respected her a bit more. Any true New Yorker knows the concept of the “fake it until you make it” mindset, and that’s what she should’ve had when coming into this job. The people at Runway treated her like the ugly step sister for the first half of the movie since she came off like this frail, naive little girl who knew absolutely nothing; which she was. However, if she had gone in with some basic knowledge of Runway and how they operated as a business, she would have fared well against the fashion wolves and salad-eating clackers, and would have succeeded at a faster pace. Although it was fun to see this Midwestern wallflower squirm to rise to the occasion, it would’ve been interesting to see what Andrea Sachs would’ve done if she actually knew anything about the job that would eventually change her life.

 

Break Up With Him

I think we can all agree that the true villain of this entire movie is Nate, Andrea’s chef boyfriend. Many people believe it was Ms. Priestly, for obvious reasons, but Nate on the other hand was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and pretended to play the role of the caring boyfriend when in reality he was needy and unsupportive. Andrea went to NYC with the goal of becoming a writer and making the life she wanted for herself, by any means possible, even if it meant taking an entry level job at a fashion magazine to get her foot in the door. That shows ambition and drive, which should be applauded. Unfortunately, not everyone was a fan of her hustle, and when I say everyone I mean Nate. Nate was a chef also working his way up the ladder, and any New Yorker knows you have to hustle just to live comfortably in that overpriced trash heap known as the Big Apple, which we all know now to be one of the most expensive cities to exist within the United States. So you’d think he’d be a tad more understanding of Andrea’s long work hours and ambition, however he got very upset every time she spent an ounce of her energy on work instead of him. 

One of the biggest examples of this was on the night of Nate’s birthday, Andrea finds out she has to assist her boss at a Charity Benefit at the last minute due to Emily feeling under the weather. She calls ahead of time and tells her friends that she will be late and try to make it as soon as possible, which is what any responsible person would do. At the end of the event, she runs into Christian Thompson, one of her favorite writers and eventual lover, who says he enjoyed the writing samples she sent to him a few weeks prior, and offers to introduce her to the higher ups at the New Yorker…the publication she’s dreamed of working for. Instead of networking and gaining useful connections, she instead rushes home like the caring girlfriend she is, in hopes of enjoying whatever is left of Nate’s birthday party. By the time she makes it home, the apartment is dark and empty, and her attempt to make up for her absence is futile as Nate is clearly upset and heads to bed after complimenting how pretty she is. 

While many may say she was being negligent towards Nate, in reality, she was doing all she could to balance work and her social life, while also maintaining her goal to become a writer, hence the only reason she moved to that god forsaken city. Any supportive boyfriend would’ve been happy that Andrea came so close to meeting publishing executives and perhaps would’ve wanted to stay up with her and maybe inquire about her day since she clearly had a long one, but instead he threw a micro tantrum and distanced himself. Nate was used to the sloppy, carefree Andy who had no issue blowing off true responsibilities just to spend time with him, and when her career started to take off in the right direction and she had to take less time away from him, he started to show his true colors. Nate went on to later explain that he felt that Andrea was changing who she was just because she worked around fashion snobs all day, and was becoming one of them. Well sorry to break it to you Nate, but guess what, people evolve and change. Eventually Andrea was gonna have to stop dressing like a house frowl, get up off her butt, and commit an ample amount of time to her career in order to make something of herself. And the fact that Nate couldn’t set aside his ego and let his girlfriend shine the way she deserved is one of the few reasons why Andrea should’ve broken up with Nate earlier on. Furthermore, he eventually decides to leave New York within a year to take a job in Boston as a Sous Chef. This means they were either destined to break up regardless, or that Nate was not only a culinary artist, but also a hypocrite. 

 

Stick It Out

When Andrea started working at Runway, she was told that if she stuck it out for a year, she would have the golden ticket to work at any other publication she chose. And although she tried her hardest, and despite losing friends and pounds, she was only able to survive for around 9 months. It seemed like she was gonna stick it out for the long haul, until we see how the events near the end of the film play out. 

At the end of the movie, we see that Andrea has been given the opportunity to travel to Paris for fashion week with Miranda as her #1 assistant, after Emily was deemed unfit for the role. During her trip to Paris, she sleeps with Christian Thompson, after which she finds out there is a plan to replace Miranda Priestly as editor-in-chief of American Runway with Jacqueline Follet, the much younger editor-in-chief of French Runway. After hearing this, she hastily tries to warn Miranda about this plan since she is under the impression that Miranda is completely oblivious. She was sorely mistaken. Turns out, Miranda knew of this dastardly plan for months and didn’t say a word to anyone. Furthermore, she was able to foil the plan by throwing Nigel, art director at Runway magazine and close confidant of Miranda, underneath the bus by offering his newly appointed position as creative director of James Holt’s company to Jacqueline, so that she could retain her position as editor-in-chief. If we didn’t know that Ms. Priestly was a ruthless bitch before, she had just let us know in a very strong way. 

After seeing her treachery first-hand, and being told she resembles some of Miranda’s characteristics from Ms. Priestly herself, she decides to cut her ties with Runway before she too becomes a lonely, soulless, career-driven maniac. In one of the most dramatic and cinematic moments I’ve ever seen, Andrea ditches Miranda on a red carpet event without saying a word, throws her phone into a nearby fountain, and walks away, symbolically leaving all the toxic drama behind her. This scene has personally caused much inner turmoil within me, and others as well. 

First and foremost, the year was 2006, and she trashed her only form of communication in a city where she knew no one. So my main question is, how in the world did Andrea Sachs get back to NYC? Also, I understand her wanting to hold onto her morals and stay true to herself, hence why she felt the need to distance herself from Runway magazine immediately, however she was still behaving as the kind hearted person she was from the beginning. She clearly felt bad about taking away Emily’s trip to Paris and tried her best to decline the offer, and worked hard to warn Miranda about the plans to have her fired. Miranda treated Andrea like a doormat for practically her entire tenure at Runway, constantly criticized her wardrobe, had her working around the clock 24/7, made her complete tasks that were practically impossible, and never not once gave her any positive feedback. Although Miranda was never going to lose her job, she could’ve let the plan commence and perhaps could have been delighted at the prospect of getting a new, possibly nicer boss. Instead, she did everything she could to make sure this tyrant could retain her position. 

This showed that Andrea is and always was a good person, and a few more months working underneath Ms. Priestly wouldn’t have hurt her. Moreover, given the way she left, it’s hard to believe that she was able get a decent recommendation from Miranda. If she had stayed in Paris, and at Runway for the full year, she would have retained the few connections she made while working there, and would’ve had the recommendation letter that would’ve taken her anywhere she wanted. Yes, she was able to get a job at a reputable New York publication in the end, but there was a fair amount of luck that went into that since Ms. Priestly could’ve easily sabotaged her career instead of sparing her. And as someone a person that has experienced the high and lows of an ever-changing job market, I’ve learned that security is too valuable to pass up, especially when the rent is due. 

“The Devil Wears Prada” may have it’s completely unrealistic moments, but it is still one of those movies that has obtained legendary status due to the star-studded cast, quotable quips, and overall relatability. It’s also a movie that many New Yorkers love to hate since it’s another one of those flicks where NYC is painted as the place where dreams come true, when we all know it’s the place where dreams are squashed and spread on a bagel. This movie isn’t just for the fashion loving girls and gays, like myself, it’s for anyone who’s ever had the dream of making a life for themselves by starting from the bottom and working their way up. And for me, Andrea Sachs represented the average young person just trying to make it big while also figuring out who they are at the same time. She may not have known how to spell Gabbana, but she knew how to hold her head high no matter what. And for that, we will always respect her.  

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By Shawn Banks

Writer. Comedian. Queer Icon (in the making). My name is Shawn Banks and I am a writer, screenwriter, and a stand up comedian with a lot to say but only so many characters.

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