The Real Devil in Prada

Since the iconic movie The Devil Wears Prada first debuted, fans have attempted to find connections between the film's demanding leading lady Miranda Priestly and real-life Vogue Editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, nicknamed “Nuclear Wintour” for her cold and intimidating demeanor. Here are a few striking similarities between the two legends:

  1. They both serve as Editor-in-chief for an iconic fashion magazine.
  2. They both have two children and are divorced.
  3. Both were born in England.
  4. They both got their start in the business at European fashion magazines before transferring to New York.
  5. Both women are known for their strong, egotistical, and cutthroat personalities.
  6. They are both demanding bosses.

While Lauren Weisberger, the author of The Devil Wears Prada, has never fully admitted that Anna Wintour was her inspiration for Miranda Priestly's character, there are certainly plenty of similarities connecting the two! The two editors’ offices seek to look almost identical (Rumor has it that the movie inspired Anna Wintour to redecorate her own office).

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As Editor-in-chief for American Vogue since 1988, Anna Wintour is undeniably one of the premiere fashion legends of modern day. She credits her father for giving her a start in fashion by helping her land a boutique sales job at the age of 15. By the age of 21 she had already become one of the first editorial assistants for Harper’s Queen, a product of the merging between Harper’s Bazaar UK and the magazine Queen. However, after disagreements with her co-workers, she quit her job and relocated to the United States. After only nine months as a junior fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar in New York, she was fired for leading more controversial shoots than the magazine wished to promote. But over time, she eventually began attaining leadership positions, where her unusual fashion spreads gradually gained more respect with the changing industry. By 1979 she became a fashion editor for New York magazine, where she discovered that celebrity covers were a great way to sell magazines. In 1983, she became Vogue’s first creative director. However, her controversial nature prevailed, as she often clashed with members of the Vogue staff due to the changes she would make to the magazine without first consulting then-Editor-in-chief Grace Mirabella. During a one-on-one meeting with Mirabella, the Editor-in-chief asked Wintour what she wanted at Vogue; Wintour famously replied, “Your job.”

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Two years later, Wintour took complete control over British Vogue, becoming Editor-in-chief at a magazine for the first time in her career. She made many changes to the magazine, including hiring new staffers and adapting the magazine to follow a more Americanized version of Vogue. Because of her radical changes and impersonal nature, she quickly became known as “Nuclear Wintour,” a nickname that still sticks with her to this day. In 1988, she finally got her dream job: Editor-in-chief at Vogue in the United States. But the legend of Anna Wintour doesn’t stop at her success story. She rose to the top of the fashion industry and became a true powerhouse, retaining her role for 27 years (and still counting). But what truly makes her notorious is her cold, no-nonsense, and hard-to-break personality.

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Like Miranda Priestly, Anna Wintour is infamous for being a demanding boss; she controls as much of Vogue as possible, and has the last say over everything that goes to print. She isn’t afraid to tell anyone what she wants, either. In 2009, she told Oprah Winfrey to lose 20 pounds if she wanted to get on the cover of Vogue, and Oprah complied. Even though some may consider Anna Wintour to be the devil in Prada, one has to admire how hard she worked to become Editor-in-chief at Vogue. She failed many times before succeeding, even getting fired from Harper’s Bazaar after a mere nine months. Although some criticize her for having a big ego, her thoughts and ideas revolutionized the fashion industry into what it is today. If she didn’t have confidence in herself and her ideas, celebrities might not have found their way onto the covers of fashion magazines. The ‘fresh-faced beauty’ look might have never made it to fashion magazines, and high-end clothes could have never been considered to mix and match with lower-end pieces.

Now that’s legendary.

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