Anna Wintour : biography
At the age of 15 she began dating well-connected older men. She was involved briefly with Piers Paul Read, then 24.Oppenheimer, 31–35. In her later teens, she and gossip columnist Nigel Dempster became a fixture on the London club circuit.Oppenheimer, 36–37.
The Devil Wears Prada
Lauren Weisberger, a former Wintour assistant who left Vogue for Departures along with Richard Story, wrote The Devil Wears Prada after a writing workshop he suggested she take. It was eagerly anticipated for its supposed insider portrait of Wintour prior to its publication. Wintour told The New York Times, "I always enjoy a great piece of fiction. I haven’t decided whether I am going to read it or not."Carr, David; 17 February 2003; ; The New York Times. Retrieved 10 December 2006. While it has been suggested that the setting and Miranda Priestly were based on Vogue and Wintour, Weisberger claims she drew not only from her own experiences but those of her friends as well. Wintour herself makes a cameo appearance near the end of the book,Weisberger, 322. "Immediately I recognized Anna Wintour, looking absolutely ravishing in a cream-colored slip dress and beaded Manolo sandals. She was talking animatedly to a man I presumed to be her boyfriend, although her giant Chanel sunglasses prevented me from being able to tell if she was amused, indifferent or sobbing. The press loved to compare the antics and attitudes of Anna and Miranda, but I found it impossible to believe that anyone could be quite as unbearable as my boss." where it is said she and Miranda dislike each other.Weisberger, 348. "’Maybe I should try to work for one of her enemies? They’d be happy to hire me, right’ "Sure. Send your resume over to Anna Wintour—they’ve never liked each other very much."
In the novel, Miranda has many similarities to Wintour—among them, she is British, has two children,Weisberger, 38–39. "I had Googled her and was surprised to find Miranda Priestly was born Miriam Princhek in London’s East End … Her rough, Cockney-girl accent was soon replaced by a carefully cultivated, educated one … She moved her two daughters and her then rock-star husband …" and is described as a major contributor to the Met.Weisberger, 267. Priestly is a tyrant who makes impossible demands of her subordinates, gives them almost none of the information or time necessary to comply and then berates them for their failures to do so.Weisberger, 145. "Ah yes. Mrs. Whitmore. I am a lucky girl indeed. I’m so lucky, you have no idea. I can’t tell you how lucky I felt when I was sent out to get tampons for my boss, only to be told that I’d bought the wrong ones and asked why I do nothing right. And luck is probably the only way to explain why I get to sort another person’s sweat- and food-stained clothing each morning before eight and arrange to have it cleaned. Oh wait! I think what actually makes me luckiest of all is getting to talk to breeders all over the tristate area for three straight weeks in search of the perfect French bulldog puppy so two incredibly spoiled and unfriendly little girls can each have their own pet. Yes, that’s it!"
Betts, who had been fired by Harper’s after two years during which staffers said she tried too hard to emulate Wintour, reviewed it harshly in the New York Times Book Review:
Priestly has some positive qualities. Andrea notes that she makes all the magazine’s key editorial decisions by herselfWeisberger, 208. "Miranda was as far as I could tell, a truly fantastic editor. Not a single word of copy made it into the magazine without her explicit, hard-to-obtain approval … Although the various fashion editors called in the clothes they wanted to shoot, Miranda alone selected the looks she wanted and which models she wanted wearing each one … [T]hat made her, in my mind, the main reason for the magazine’s stunning success each month. Runway wouldn’t be Runway — hell, it wouldn’t be much of anything at all – without Miranda Priestly. I knew it and so did everyone else." and that she has genuine class and style.Weisberger, 271–72. "I never grew tired of watching Miranda. She was the true lady and the envy of every woman in the museum that night." "I never for one second didn’t know it was an amazing opportunity to assist Anna", Weisberger said in 2008.