|First appearance||The Devil Wears Prada|
|Created by||Lauren Weisberger|
|Portrayed by||Meryl Streep|
|Date of birth||October 25, 1949|
|Title||Editor-in-chief of Runway magazine|
|Family||Stephen Tomlinson (husband), Caroline and Cassidy (daughters)|
|Spouse(s)||"B-DAD" in novel; Stephen in film. One previous marriage|
|Children||Twin daughters Cassidy and Caroline, age 11|
|Relatives||The Devil Wears Prada|
She is a powerful New York City-based editor-in-chief of the fictional fashion magazine Runway. She is known as much for her icy demeanor, as for her outstanding power within the fashion world. She has a loyal assistant, Nigel, who often gives Miranda advice.
Miranda Priestly was born Miriam Princhek in the East End of London in October 1949. Her family members were poor but devout orthodox Jews. The family relied on the community for support, because her father worked odd jobs occasionally and her mother died in childbirth. Miriam's grandmother moved in with the family to assist in raising the children. Miriam saved the small bills that her siblings would give her and worked as an assistant to a British designer. She made a name for herself in London's fashion world and studied French at night and was made junior editor of the Chic magazine in Paris. When she was twenty-four Miriam changed her name to Miranda Priestly and replaced her rough accent with a sophisticated one. Miranda spent ten years at French Runway before Elias-Clark transferred her to American Runway. She, her two twin daughters, and her husband moved to a penthouse apartment on Fifth Avenue and 76th Street. She is the editor-in-chief of Runway, a very chic and influential fashion magazine published by the Elias-Clark company. She is known for wearing a white Hermès scarf in her everyday outfit and treating her subordinates in a manner that borders on emotional and psychological abuse.
While she reminds employees "a million girls would kill for this job", Priestly's cruel treatment of staff causes a high turnover rate among personal assistants; the focus of her characterization in the book and the film being her newest assistant, recent journalism graduate Andrea Sachs.
In the film version, her past is not mentioned at all.
Weisberger denies that Miranda Priestly is modeled on Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, saying in the publicity material for the book that her antics and demands are partially fictional and partially a composite of actual experiences she and her friends had in their first jobs. But others familiar with Wintour, who makes a walk-on appearance near the end of the novel (and in fact is later described as having a bitter rivalry with Miranda), say there are specific similarities between life and art:
In the film she is a more sympathetic character than portrayed in the book. Whilst she remains just as ruthless and manipulative as she was in the book she is seen in a few moments of vulnerability three quarters of the way into the film in she confides to Andrea her distress about her failing marriage and the effect she is worried it will have on her daughters. The film incarnation of Priestly also speaks with an American accent, which strongly suggests the film character is not a Briton as portrayed in the novel.
Most, if not all reviews and articles of the movie made reference to Wintour. Nicknamed "Nuclear Wintour", Anna has been known to possess most of the same traits as Priestly, although she has shown more redeeming traits. Streep has told multiple reporters that she did not personally base her portrayal on Wintour, but instead on men she has known; Streep actually didn't meet Wintour until a pre-release screening of the movie. Other inspirations for Streep's portrayal include Martha Stewart and the ghost of Joan Crawford from Mommie Dearest.".
Nearly all critics of the film raved about Meryl Streep's performance as the cold, calculating Miranda Priestly. Meryl Streep received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress but lost to Helen Mirren in The Queen. It was Streep's 14th nomination, furthering her impressive record. Streep received a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her portrayal of Priestly, that being her sixth Golden Globe.
This is the story of the professional adventure of Andrea, whose greatest dream is to become a journalist. Andrea gets a job in the fashion industry through Runway magazine, the most famous of its type, in order to gain useful experience and contacts to help her writing career. It soon transpires that Andrea won't develop her writing skills in the magazine, instead showing an unexpected talent as the editor in chief's (Miranda) assistant. Miranda is a merciless, sophisticated and cruel woman, making the experience of being her assistant a living hell for every applicant. The working environment is cold and extremely critical, with physical appearance being more highly valued than talent or ability. Andrea realises she will have to change her simple and plain style for a more fashion-aware and elegant one, in order to gain the acceptance of her ruthless boss and colleagues, specially Emily, her unpleasant workmate. Andrea has an epiphany when she realises that she is expecting to take away experience and contacts from the job while giving nothing in return. As a gesture to Miranda she drastically changes her clothes and self-image, with the help of Nigel, the magazine's art director. Nevertheless, the job becomes extremely demanding, because of Miranda's tough work routine and nearly impossible tasks, leaving Andrea without a private life with her boyfriend, family and friends. Maybe the old Andrea has gone, now more preoccupied about her image and her future in the magazine.
As Andrea becomes more immersed in her new life she is slowly losing her old one. She goes to Paris with Miranda for fashion week, and starts to lose herself completely in the fashion cocoon. When she discovers that Miranda is about to be replaced as editor in chief of Runway, Andrea frantically tries to warn her. The moment of clarity for Andrea comes when she realises that Miranda has sacrificed the career (and friendship) of Nigel in order to protect her own position as editor. During a car journey with Miranda, Andrea realises she is turning into Miranda and she is horrified. When Miranda is enveloped by paparazzi when the car stops, Andrea takes the opportunity to literally walk away from it all, hurling her cell phone (a symbol of her servitude) into a fountain.
In May 2007, the popular American soap opera General Hospital introduced a new character Kate Howard patterned after the character of Miranda Priestly. Kate is much like Miranda, the only noticeable difference being age. Later that year, the "Money" episode of the US version of The Office began with Michael Scott (Steve Carell), who had just been watching the film, yelling "Steak!" and "Get me Armani!" to the Dunder-Mifflin receptionist, Pam.