Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Then Angels Must Wear New York & Co.

There is nothing I love better than skewering the young, rich, and overprivileged. So it goes without saying that I liked this article from the Post about princessy entry-level assistants in fields like fashion PR (surprise) and party promoting (surprise, surprise) who whine about their jobs, complain about having to do menial tasks, and generally act as though they've actually earned the Choos on their feet. I especially like the references to the television show The Hills and our dear L.C.'s internship at Teen Vogue. (TV's west coast editor says that L.C. got the internship on merit, but please. Let's not pretend the publisher didn't close the door to her office and start pumping her fist and yelling, "Ka-ching! Ka-ching!" when she heard about the free publicity (read: future ad dollars) that L.C. had the potential to rake in.)

In that same vein, I went to see The Devil Wears Prada today. Wow. Director David Frankel did an excellent job of -- as a former boss of mine used to say -- making chicken salad out of chicken sh*t. Because where the Devil Wears Prada novel is concerned, I have read Craigslist housing ads that were better written. The movie was upbeat, fun, well-acted, and had a quasi-plausible and neat ending, which was much more than I could say for the book.

But, to tie in both of the above, when I read Lauren Weisberger's roman-a-clef back in 2003, I had three (very good) internships under my belt and was trying desperately to get a job -- any job -- in New York City. I was taking the bus into the city every other day (and charging the fare on my credit card because I didn't have any money), wearing the same polyester blazer I'd had for two years, and clutching multiple copies of my resume, all the while hoping hard that some HR department would lift me out of between-internship purgatory so I could begin my career and at long last go to the dentist. Reading Weisberger's multipage complaint about how hard her prestigious glossy magazine job was didn't exactly put her high on my sympathy list.

However, I'm not going to side entirely with Maureen Dowd (as much as I love her) and say that assistants shouldn't complain about getting wildly vague directions from their bosses and turn the other cheek when said bosses become livid because the outcome is not to their liking. I think assistants should work as hard as the job demands (and then some -- Lord knows I have), but bosses should expect questions, at least at first, and not get huffy when they discover their employees are not, in fact, mind-readers.

But let me end with this: No matter how much Lauren Weisberger felt that she was above the realm of fashion, she went to Cornell -- still an Ivy League school. Lauren Conrad (L.C.) is -- let's not mince words -- rich. As are the majority of the girls in fashion/beauty PR and journalism. If you don't have the means and the breeding to look the part, you're not going to be asked back for a second interview. And that's just another vast schism that separates the true working girls (the lower and middle class) from the girls that end up working.


Anonymous Sally said...

I looked at The Devil Wears Prada several times in the bookstore, and it never called to me enough to purchase it. $8.50 for the movie, though, I can handle. I hope I'll agree with you about it being better than the book!

11:51 AM  
Blogger NewbietoNYC said...

It's definitely worth shelling out $8.50. Oh, how I long for the days when movies were under 10 bucks! That's the curse of Manhattan. ;)

10:15 PM  

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