12 Things The Devil Wears Prada Got Wrong About The Magazine Industry

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A funny thing happened when I landed my first internship at a magazine. Instead of “congratulations” or even “mazel tov,” I just heard the same refrain over and over: “So, your life is basically The Devil Wears Prada, right?” Well, yes and no. It was fast-paced, glamorous, and exciting, sure. But my boss wasn’t a devil. And to be honest, I think she mostly wore J.Crew.

Exactly 10 years ago, the movie that showed what it's like to have a job "a million girls would kill for" hit theaters. But the magazine industry has changed a lot since. In 2006, the internet was young, Facebook was in its infancy, and Instagram didn’t even exist. Today, those forces (among many others) have completely reshaped the way publications communicate with their audiences. Print magazines — those actually printed on glossy paper — have found themselves in a bind, with budget cuts, layoffs, and unanticipated closures. Back in 2006, the industry was IT — and Andy Sachs and her role of a lifetime became the foundation for what most who aimed to work in "fashion" wanted to achieve.

The thing is, some of the events in the film are now outdated — and some of them never would have existed, anyway. So, sit back, relax, nosh on a grilled cheese oozing with $8 worth of Jarlsberg, and let’s go through all the things The Devil Wears Prada got wrong about the magazine industry (sorry, Miranda).
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Magazine editors don’t all cab to work and wear La Perla.
Don’t get me wrong, a handful top-level editors do. But when you’re still climbing the career ladder, you take the subway to work and wear whatever freebie undies you can snag from the goodie bag at a press preview.

Sure, that getting-ready montage where editors zipped into expensive clothing and hail taxis made for a perfect movie moment, but it’s not grounded in reality. While there are a disproportionate number of people in the industry who come from wealthy backgrounds, most people can’t afford to take cabs everywhere or exclusively wear designer duds. Because let's be honest: The magazine industry isn’t exactly known for its cushy salaries.
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Andy could never afford that Soho apartment.
At the opening of the movie, we see Andy dart into the subway at the Spring Street station in Soho.

The apartment used as her home was located on Broome Street on the Lower East Side. In June 2006, the same month the movie hit theaters, The New York Times reported that the rent for an average one-bedroom apartment in a non-doorman building in nearby Soho was $2,850 a month. It’s hard to imagine an unemployed, aspiring journalist forking over that kind of money for rent, even if she’s splitting it with her boyfriend.

To be fair: As a recent-ish college grad and journalist myself, I’d find a way to afford rent like that if the apartment came with a live-in boyfriend as cute as Adrian Grenier.
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You can’t get an interview at Vogue without at least knowing who Anna Wintour is.
There’s a reason that all the supporting characters in this movie keep repeating the famous line, “A million girls would kill for that job.” That, of course, is because a million girls actually would kill for that job. Magazine roles — even entry-level ones — are enormously competitive, with hundreds of applications filing in for every position. It’s simply not realistic that a person with no interest in fashion (or knowledge of the fashion industry) would score an interview at Vogue (or Runway). In the real world, Andy’s 10-second speech about work ethic wouldn’t have been compelling enough to make up for her inability to spell Gabbana.
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Bosses actually want their assistants to ask questions.
On Andy’s first day at Runway, Miranda asks her to pick up 10 or 15 skirts from Calvin Klein. When she asks what kind of skirts, Miranda jabs, “Please bore someone else with your questions.” I don’t care how intimidating your boss is — they want you to ask questions. Really. A busy boss like Miranda would so much rather have you ask up-front and get the task done right the first time than to simply guess, mess up, get the wrong kind of skirts, and waste time fixing your mistake later.
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No one is as unnecessarily bitchy as Emily is.
I love magazine girls. Almost all of my friends are people who work in the industry, because they’re hardworking, glamorous butterflies with big dreams and free lipstick, and they just get what I’m going through. Emily shouldn’t have been so hostile to Andy — she should have graciously welcomed Andy into the company, because Andy is the only other person on the planet who could possibly get what Emily is dealing with. Sure, there are some people in the industry who are pretty stuck-up, out-of-touch, and hyper-competitive, but those are rarer than Hollywood would have you think.
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People eat!
The Runway team kept making jabs at Andy for wearing a size six, eating carbs, and not dieting for Fashion Week. I won’t lie and say that the industry is on the forefront of the body-positivity movement, but people really do eat. I promise. Publicists constantly send over food. In the past week alone, my office has received free Magnolia Bakery cupcakes and banana pudding, free cake from an amazing bakery in Brooklyn, and a free jar of pink M&M's from Dylan’s Candy Bar. Every time, we’ve gobbled it all up. It’s a tough life, but hey, somebody has to live it.
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That scrapped shoot with $300,000 worth of jackets would never happen today.
There’s a scene in the elevator where Nigel tells the president of Elias Clarke that Miranda scrapped a photo shoot featuring $300,000 worth of jackets. “Must have been some lousy jackets,” the president replied. The moment is meant to show how lavish Runway is, but it feels shockingly out-of-place today. What publication has the budget to blow that kind of money? The magazine industry has been hurting over the past few years, with publications folding left and right (Lucky and Details both folded in 2015). And magazines don’t actually buy up everything they shoot. Most (if not all) of the items you see in the editorials are samples loaned out by the brands.
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Assistants can’t just nab Chanel from the fashion closet.
Andy’s makeover was an iconic movie moment, but would never happen in real life. Why? Assistants can’t just grab samples from the fashion closet and take them as their own! That clothing has to be returned. It’s true that some pieces are fair game to keep, but those tend to be small-ticket items, like costume jewelry and eyeshadow palettes, rather than Manolo Blahnik pumps and Marc Jacobs handbags.
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The great Harry Potter chase of 2006 would never happen.
Everyone in the industry has a story of at least one completely bonkers task that was thrown their way. (Mine: Many years ago, when I was an intern, my boss asked me to book international flights to a tiny Caribbean island for her whole family, her nanny, and her nanny’s whole family. She did not give me any of the passengers’ last names and requested the flights worked well with her children’s nap schedules.) But come on. The unpublished Harry Potter manuscript? That’s on another level. That’s like asking a Vogue intern to unearth secrets from the FBI or find out A’s real identity on Pretty Little Liars. It’s just not gonna happen.
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Andy would never throw away her phone.
Remember when she tossed her phone into the fountain in Paris just to spite Miranda? Yeah, no. Even when your job sucks, you don’t pass up free stuff (even if it’s — LOL — a Sidekick).
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