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2013 July 9

From The Daily Summer: Devil Redo! With Lauren Weisberger

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Lauren Weisberger (...and her erstwhile boss) Lauren Weisberger (...and her erstwhile boss)
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(NEW YORK) Once upon a time, an ambitious young assistant named Lauren Weisberger spun a single torturous year in the trenches at Vogue into a career as a best-selling novelist. But even if you missed her first book, you definitely watched The Devil Wears Prada and can quote Miranda’s best lines by heart. Fire up those Kindles, kids!  
BY PAIGE REDDINGER

Was it hard to write the sequel after a decade?
It wasn’t hard per se. I’d been thinking about writing it for a really long time.

Why did you wait so long?
I wanted to give it time to see what was really happening in these characters’ lives. So much happens in ten years, especially in your twenties and thirties. That was the fun part for me—going back and figuring out what happened to them.

Did you feel a lot of pressure to match the success of the first one?
There was definitely a sense of anxiety, but for me it’s not really about trying to match or exceed what happened with The Devil Wears Prada. It was so unexpected and lucky that I’m just thrilled I got to have the experience. It’s a clichéd thing to say, but it really is like having another child. It takes a long time to grow and requires a lot of time. I’m just excited to see how it all turns out.

Did you reread the first one?
I hadn’t actually read it since it was published, so the first time was pretty wild. There were definitely parts and details I’d forgotten about. I’d seen the movie a million times, which only added to the strangeness. For a while I couldn’t always remember if something happened in the movie or in my book.

Have you been in the same room with Anna Wintour since you published the first book?
I was told that we were both at the pre-screening of the movie, but I didn’t see her, so I don’t know if that’s true.

Miranda has just been made editorial director of Runway’s parent company, which is a pretty crazy coincidence considering Anna’s new artistic-director role at Condé. Were you shocked when you heard?
I definitely had a laugh. Sometimes life can imitate art. The book was completely written, sealed, and delivered when I heard that, by the way. I made Miranda the editorial director because I needed her in a much larger position of power to kind of mess with Andy and Emily instead of just being the editor of Runway. That was my thinking.

It’s like you predicted the future!
Right?

Do you keep in touch with anyone from your time at Vogue?
No, I don’t.

Why do you think the fashion industry is so treacherous?
I can’t really speak to the whole fashion industry. I spent one year working at Vogue a decade ago, but this book doesn’t really get into that so much. It’s so much more about Andy’s relationship with her husband and her friends. Of course, Miranda is still there to torment them, but it’s not from a fashion standpoint.

Do you still follow fashion?
Not really. I follow it in the sense of, “Should I be wearing skinny jeans or boot-cut jeans this season?”—but not beyond that. I wait to be told by other people. I’m definitely not setting any trends. But I do love shopping, the same way anyone does.

Andy is now the editor of a bridal magazine. Why?
I kind of gave her my fantasy job. I love those magazines and think it would be amazing to edit one. I made The Plunge this really upscale magazine where she gets to cover all these fabulous destination weddings. It gets the fashion in there without exclusively being about fashion. She also gets to go to all of these exotic locations, which is the part that I really love, and she gets a little taste of the celebrity.

Andy’s former nemesis, Emily, plays a bigger role in this one. Is turning a rival into a business partner a way of forgiving and forgetting?
It’s a really simple idea. I just adore the Emily character. I adore her even more after the movie. Emily Blunt and Emily Charlton are forever linked in my head now. She was just such a great character in the movie. She had such great lines, and the accent and the attitude—the whole thing. I just wanted to see more of her. People are mortal foes one day and best friends the next. I was curious to explore that.

You have kids now. Was it tough writing a book with little ones running around?
It sure was. I’ve had two kids since my last book, so things have been busy. It’s so wonderful, but it definitely requires a life reorganization. There’s no more sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike. It’s tough. I’m experiencing firsthand what I’ve heard so many other women describe.

What’s it like to see something you’ve written adapted for the big screen?
It’s definitely one of the most exciting experiences of my life so far. First, you hear that it’s been optioned, then you hear the incredible cast that they’ve chosen, and then you watch them shoot it on set. To have all of these random days and scenes come together was just the coolest thing ever.

Any big travel plans for you this summer?
I’m on tour right now, so I’m hitting every major city in the U.S. In general, though, we definitely stay a little closer to home, because our kids are so young.

What should The Devil Wears Prada superfans expect to get out of this one?
Part of the challenge for me was wanting to stay true to these characters that readers connected with. But presumably anyone who read my book 10 years ago will have grown up as well. I hope they’ll still relate to the different challenges and struggles that Emily and Andy are going through now.

How do you feel about the term “chick lit”?
I don’t care what you call a book. We’re all into naming genres right now, but anything that gets a person to pick up a book and read it is fine with me. There are so many young girls who will see me at an event and say, “I’ve never read a book before, but I picked yours up and I loved it!” That is the greatest thing ever. It’s what it’s all about.

If you weren’t writing novels, what would you be doing?
That’s a good question. I’d probably be at a magazine somewhere. I love magazines and love working at them, especially if it’s subject matter I’m passionate about.

What’s your favorite magazine?
US Weekly! But there are so many reality-TV stars I can’t keep track anymore. I love reading Vanity Fair and Marie Claire, too.

Let’s say a movie were going to be made about this book and none of the previous cast members were available. Whom would you cast the second time around?
I wouldn’t do it! I can’t even imagine another movie being made without the same cast. It was perfect the first time. I’d rather not make the movie.

Do you think the devil actually exists?
No, I don’t. Not at all.




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