|Born||March 28, 1977
|Notable work(s)||The Devil Wears Prada|
Lauren Weisberger (born March 28, 1977) is an American novelist and author of the 2003 bestseller The Devil Wears Prada, a speculated roman à clef of her real life experience as a put-upon assistant to Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
Weisberger was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania to a school teacher mother and a department-store-president turned mortgage-broker father. Her family is Jewish and Weisberger was raised in Conservative Judaism and later Reform Judaism. She spent her early youth in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, a small town outside Scranton. At age eleven, her parents divorced and she and her younger sister, Dana, moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania, in the Lehigh Valley region of the state, with their mother.
In 1995, she graduated from South Whitehall Township's Parkland High School, near Allentown. During her time at Parkland, Weisberger was involved in various activities, including intramural sports, some competitive sports, extra projects, and organizations.
Following her graduation from Parkland High School, she attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she was an English major and a sorority member of Alpha Epsilon Phi, graduating in 1999. After college, she traveled as a backpacker through Europe, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Thailand, India, Nepal, and Hong Kong. Returning home, she moved to Manhattan and was hired as Wintour's assistant at Vogue. She was there for ten months before leaving along with features editor Richard Story. While she herself said she felt out of place there, the magazine's managing editor, Laurie Jones, said "she seemed to be a perfectly happy, lovely woman".
After leaving the fashion magazine, she wrote 100-word reviews for Departures Magazine, an American Express publication, before writing her first novel. She also published an article in Playboy magazine in 2004.
Her success came really from her stint at Departures Magazine working as an assistant editor. After mentioning her interest in writing classes to her boss, Richard Story, he referred her to his long esteemed friend, Charles Salzberg. She started writing a story about her time at Vogue, trying to complete fifteen pages every couple of weeks. After continuous nudging for her to show her completed writing to agents, she finally did and within two weeks, it was sold.
Weisberger resides currently in New York City.
In 2003, Weisberger's first book, The Devil Wears Prada, was released and spent six months on the New York Times Best Seller List. The book provides a semi-fictional but highly critical view of the Manhattan elite's empty obsession with materialism and fashion. As of July 2006, The Devil Wears Prada was the best-selling mass-market softcover book in the nation, according to Publishers Weekly. The book is largely based on Weisberger's experience at Vogue. There is much speculation that the character of Miranda Priestly is based on Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue. The fictional Elias-Clark publishing company is said to be modeled after Condé Nast.
The book's protagonist is 23-year-old Andrea Sachs, who has just graduated from Brown University (in the film, Northwestern). She moves to New York City and lands a job at Runway magazine working for a tyrannical boss, Miranda Priestly. She believes that if she can last one year as Miranda's assistant, she will be able to achieve her goal of becoming a writer for The New Yorker. After many trials and tribulations, including a breakup with her long-time boyfriend, her best friend Lily's terrible accident and the myriad unreasonable requests of her boss, Andrea quits her job at Runway with only a month left until the end of her year.
The book calls into light the many aspects of one's first job. It also highlights the presumed insanity of the fashion world and the difficulty and pressure a person goes through when trying to balance a demanding job with an adequate social life. The book provides a comical insight into the fashion world. While this book was met with stunning success, one former employee of Anna Wintour, Kate Betts, criticized Weisberger and the book in The New York Times, saying that Weisberger and Wintour are the direct counterparts of their fictional characters and that, "Andrea ... is just as much a snob as the snobs she is thrown in with." She further hints that the character's portrayal within the book does not suggest that she is in any way above fetching lattes.
A movie of the same name, based on the novel, was released by 20th Century Fox in June 2006, starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway. The film grossed $27.5 million in its opening weekend, amassing total U.S. sales of $125 million and total worldwide sales of $322 million, making it one of the top grossing films of summer 2006. The film departs from the book in several ways. For example, Andrea is a graduate of Northwestern University in the film, not Brown. The film shows Miranda requesting Andrea go to Paris with her because of Andrea's performance as her assistant over Emily, Miranda's other, more experienced assistant. The book, on the other hand, has Emily catching mono, thus not being able to go with Miranda. Further, Lily, Andrea's best friend, is the main reason Andrea leaves Paris in the book. Lily is an alcoholic and gets into a car crash. Andrea has to decide whether to stay with Miranda or go to her friend. The movie does not include any of these details and ends with Andy and Miranda viewing one another with mutual respect. The book affords Andrea no such gratitude as she curses Miranda to her face and is consequently fired.
In October 2006, Fox television acquired the television rights to the book, and a television series of the same name had been expected to be developed by Fox in 2007. Weisberger has since appeared on the television talk shows Tout le monde en parle and The Today Show.
Weisberger's second novel, Everyone Worth Knowing, was published in fall 2005, and is based upon the trials and tribulations of the New York City public relations world. It received generally unfavorable reviews. The New York Times Book Review described it as "fatuous, clunky." USA Today called it "lackluster imitation," and Entertainment Weekly said it was "ho-hum rehash." Despite debuting on The New York Times Best Sellers List at #10, it dropped off the list in two weeks and was noted for its disappointing sales. Publisher Simon & Schuster paid Weisberger $1 million for the novel.
In some European countries this novel was released as Gossip and Gucci.
Chasing Harry Winston is Weisberger's third novel, which was released on May 27, 2008. It was released in the United Kingdom on May 19, 2008. The main characters are three best friend New Yorkers, Emmy, Adriana and Leigh, who are facing the horror of turning 30. Recently dumped Emmy promises to make a drastic change and find guys from every continent for casual affairs. Beautiful Brazilian Adriana in turn tries to leave her old lifestyle of sleeping around and living off daddy in order to get a Harry Winston ring on her finger before the first wrinkles start showing. Leigh, the one with the perfect life, doesn't know what she needs in order to be happy and to be able to relax.
In some European countries this novel was released as Chanel Chic, and in Italy the title is Un anello da Tiffany (A ring from Tiffany).
Her short story The Bamboo Confessions is included in the anthology American Girls About Town, and is about a New York City backpacker who travels around the world and begins to view her love life back home in a different light.