On a balmy summer’s evening in the basement of a chic London hotel, Grazia hosted 50 lucky readers who snagged tickets to one of the literary events of the year – the chance to have an audience with Lauren Weisberger (chaired by the amazing Decca Aitkenhead), author of The Devil Wears Prada and its sequel, Revenge Wears Prada. Lucky them, eh?!
If Lauren was expecting the level of enthusiasm which greeted her as she touched down in London just 36 hours before, she didn’t show it. In fact, despite being released in the UK just that morning, Revenge Wears Prada had already reached number eight in the Amazon chart and number three in the New York Times bestsellers list. Not bad considering its predecessor started out as an exercise in a creative writing class following her departure from Vogue where she had been an assistant to Anna Wintour. And no, she insists they’re not friends!
The book, set ten years after the first one sees a more settled, grown-up Andrea but unfortunately, it’s not just the ghost of Miranda Priestly that’s haunting her. The devil is back.
Now, it’s the worst kept secret that Lauren’s tenure at Vogue assisting Anna was the inspiration for her Prada books. The characters of Miranda Priestly and her protagonist Andrea were only fictional to some extent. But since the first book has been made into a blockbuster film starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, just how easy was it to write the follow up, Revenge Wears Prada? ‘Out of the five books I’ve written it was the hardest but it was also the most fun,’ she told us.
Despite leaving her job at Vogue, Lauren’s advice to those starting out in their careers is to stick with it. ‘Eventually the field thins and you'll be the one that moves ahead.’ She also credits the app Freedom with allowing her proper time to write which works by shutting off your internet connection for a set period of time. Handy – especially as her two young children might prove distraction enough.
With that, (and resisting the temptation to shout ‘that’s all’), a very orderly queue formed, goodie bags in hand, to wait patiently for Lauren to sign copies of her new book. Here are five things we learnt from Lauren...
1. She's not mates with Anna Wintour (funny that)
‘If I bumped into Anna? I would say ‘hello, good to see you’ but we don’t travel in the same circles’.
2. The characters in the sequel are not based on Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway
Lauren was able to picture her characters as she’d originally written them, all except for Emily. She told us she couldn’t stop herself from picturing Emily Blunt who played her so brilliantly in the film.
3. There's only ONE Miranda Priestly, or is there?
If a film were to be made of the sequel and they couldn’t lure Meryl Streep back to play Miranda, Lauren says ‘The only other person who could replace Meryl Steep in the sequel would be Anna Wintour herself!’.
4. She didn't leave Vogue as dramatically as Andrea left Runway
‘I had to work up the nerve [to resign]- you don't approach Anna, she approaches you'.
5. Her book didn't just inspire fashionistas...
In the US there is a Christian rock band called The Devil Wears Prada.
Revenge Wears Prada is in shops now