PW: When you were working at Vogue, did you ever think, "This would make a great book"?
Lauren Weisberger: No. But Vogue is a wild, fun place to work. I don't believe there's anywhere else like it on Earth.
PW: Were you working there while writing the book [The Devil Wears Prada]?
LW: No. I had left Vogue and gone to work at Departures magazine. Being young and in a lowly position at the magazine, I was doing some writing, but not nearly enough. I wanted to do more. So I took a writing workshop. Everyone there was writing really serious books, but I just thought I'd do something fun. People were kind of happy to read something light. I took the class for a year and a half, and my teacher encouraged me to show what I'd written to somebody and gave me the name of a few agents. I met my agent, and she loved it, even though it was just a series of 15- or 20-page anecdotes, fun things that I was writing just for the hell of it. She sold it a week later.
PW: Were you surprised?
LW: I was totally overwhelmed, still am. Getting the galleys, I almost passed out.
PW: How do you think your book is different from other books about working in fashion?
LW: I think it goes beyond the fashion industry. It's a year in the life of this girl: her relationships, and what it's like to be right out of college and living in New York. So many people end up at crazy jobs, whether they're at a fashion magazine or an investment banking firm. You're in so far over your head, you have no idea of up from down, can barely function, and are trying to maintain some sort of social, romantic and family life.
PW: How similar is this book to your experiences at Vogue?
LW: Sure, what I saw, what I learned and what I did, they informed the writing. How could they not? But so much of the book is composed of stories from my friends. A lot of my girlfriends ended up in publishing and in magazines, or doing fashion PR or advertising. Horror stories are the same the world over. Everyone's asked to do the same kind of crazy, assistant things. When we could manage to get together at 11 after work and try and function over our drinks, this is what we'd be talking and bitching about. You know how it is. And a lot of it is my slightly overactive imagination.
PW: Do you think fashion is frivolous?
LW: No. Personally, I like clothes as much as the next girl, but I don't have a vested interest in high fashion. It doesn't really get me going. But it was fun to watch and observe. Anyone would get caught up in it. It's exciting and glamorous, and there are a lot of celebrities, beautiful people and gorgeous clothes. It was fun for me as an outsider to watch all of it going on. And writing this book was a lot of fun, too. I'm lucky to be doing this.