Lauren Weisberger launches Revenge Wears Prada

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Saturday 22nd June 2013

IMG_1985It’s hard to believe that a whole ten years have flashed by since Lauren Weisberger wrote The Devil Wears Prada, the fictionalised account of her time as an editorial assistant at US Vogue.

And it’s seven years since Meryl Streep immortalised glacial New York editor Miranda Priestly on the big screen.

Now Weisberger has written the sequel. Revenge Wears Prada was published this week and on a warm summer’s night 75 Grazia readers pitched up at a chic London hotel to hear her talk about the new novel – and a lot more besides.

After a glass of wine and a canapé or two, we were ushered into a tiny theatre at the Charlotte Street Hotel. Then Weisberger and Guardian writer Decca Aitkenhead stepped onstage to discuss everything from how to combine a writing career with young children to what Weisberger herself is like as an employer.

Weisberger began by explaining why she decided to write a follow-up to her bestselling story of a naïve young intern working for a terrifying boss.

“I missed them (the characters),” she explained. “I thought it would be fun to revisit them. So much happens in your life in ten years and I wondered what had happened to Andy, and to a lesser extent, to Miranda.

“Andy has grown up a lot. In the first book she was 22 years old and at times she was scared of her own shadow. In the second book she is married, she is more confident and she reunites with her former Runway nemesis Emily.”

Writing the sequel “combined the best of both worlds,” she said. “You start with characters you know but then you have to fill in everything else.”

Aitkenhead was keen to quiz the author about her days at Vogue and Weisberger admitted she was still “fascinated and traumatised” by her time there. She grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania and went to a university “where fashion wasn’t on the radar.” When she landed her job at Vogue she had never even heard of its formidable editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

Weisberger admitted that high fashion is alien to her but her time at Vogue must have rubbed off a bit because she looked chic in skinny blue trousers, white jacket and studded black sandals (my in-the-know daughter reliably informed me they were from Valentino).

Weisberger was far more self-deprecating than I’d expected and told the audience that her novel is “meant to be funny” and is the sort of book “to be read on a beach.” She said that seeing her debut novel published at the age of 25 was “the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Revenge Wears Prada is her fifth novel and, asked whether there will be a film, she said “I hope so.” She reckoned the only person who could play Miranda if Meryl Streep wasn’t available was Anna Wintour herself.

Quick-fire questions from the audience came thick and fast at the end of the talk – and one woman surprised Weisberger by telling her about a mass of fan fiction featuring Andy and Miranda as a couple.

When asked how she manages to write with two children (aged one and two) she revealed that she relies on the Freedom app (which blocks the internet and “is the only way”), that she is “knee-deep in diapers and play groups” and that her “uniform is anything that doesn’t need to be dry cleaned.”

The answer I liked best though came at the end when a young woman asked Weisberger what she is like as an employer herself and what employees think of her.

“I spend a great deal of time and energy trying to make them love me,” she laughed. “It’s mandatory for employers to be successful and kind.”


Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger (Harper, £7.99)

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