To Whom It May Concern:
You know who I am. I’m Miranda Priestly, Editor-In-Chief of RUNWAY, the most popular and influential print magazine in the world, in this, the current year of 2006. Or maybe you know me by my other names: “The Devil in Prada,” “Dragon Lady,” “The Cerulean Bitch,” or “Anna Wintour.” That last one, of course, is hilariously untrue, because I frequently mention my dear friend Anna as often as is legally necessary.
But however you may know me, I am preceded by my reputation. I am the God of the fashion world and my opinion is the only one that matters to any designer. I can destroy careers with a purse of my lips. It takes every ounce of my focus and every second of my day to stay at the top, and if I don’t demand the same of those around me, my enemies will strike, and my world will crumble.
This is why, today, I am inexplicably putting out the call for an assistant who is terrible.
The official title is Junior Personal Assistant to the Editor-In-Chief, a job that millions of girls would kill for. These ideal girls would all have devoted their entire lives to fashion—looking it, living it, knowing it inside and out from the origins of whalebone corsetry to the bleeding edge of Harajuku Streetwear. But these girls need not apply. What I am looking for is a recent college graduate with zero experience, ideally who majored in a tangentially related field, say, journalism, who wanders in off the street and immediately craps on everything I stand for. To my face.
This is what I require.
Despite having no respect or interest in anything I do or am, you’ll be working directly with me (the Editor-In-Chief) after a short orientation from my Senior Personal Assistant, Emily—a gorgeous model/designer type who knows my world intimately and hyper-competently addresses my every need. You might be asking, “Why not get a second person like that, or why not let EMILY pick her own assistant?” My, but you ask many questions—the kind that can get people around here fired.
But not you, because despite my supposed legendary temper, I’m virtually incapable of firing anyone. Oh sure, I might give a number of dramatic speeches that strongly imply to any third-party magically watching at home that my new terrible assistant is about to be fired. Possibly for the many ignorant comments she’s unable to swallow and the non-stop derisive scoffing and eye-rolling that would get her turfed out of ANY office job, much less lowest-ranking assistant to a legendarily prickly boss. But no, you will not be dismissed. I will stand there and take your abuse because I am the great Miranda Priestly, and my motives are unknowable.
I want an assistant who claims to have zero free time but sits nightly with other young people in hipster restaurants seemingly for hours. There, you’ll toast loudly, drunkenly, blithely unaware that your college piece on “The Janitor’s Union” was no Infinite Jest. Drinking to your “day jobs”! Your “jobs that pay the rent”!
Fuck me for hiring you, I guess. You do realize this is 2006 and there’s a massive recession around the corner?
But it doesn’t matter! Because do you know who will somehow stay afloat? You, my terrible assistant. No matter how many bears you poke, no matter how many third rails you clumsily grope at, you will be magically bulletproof. Until, after dozens of chances, the complete lack of consequences will pay off slightly, as you go behind my back to yet another supervisor and browbeat him into dressing you. Like a child.
The gambit will work. Your game of dress-up will delude me into taking you with newfound, undeserved seriousness. But be warned—credibility comes with responsibility. Soon I will unleash a torrent of standard work tasks, each more normal and reasonable than the last. And if you should falter, even once, I vow that I will become briefly aggravated with you and then keep you in your position.
Remind me to scream at Emily about getting you another raise.
It’s also extremely important that you take every perk of this job either fully for granted or as an immense burden heaped on your disgusting size-six shoulders. Getting thousands of dollars of free luxury goods? Fling them to your snide friends like they’re a rapidly deteriorating Edible Arrangement. Accompanying me to the Gala that your peers plan their entire year around? Make it clear with every furrowed sneer that you’d rather be celebrating your lumpen boyfriend’s birthday with a day-old Magnolia cupcake.
When it is finally clear that you are willing to do the absolute bare minimum to perform what I must reaffirm is an EXTREMELY COVETED JOB IN THE FASHION AND PUBLISHING WORLD, then, and only then, will I soften slightly. By showering you with trips to Paris that other people have clearly earned, and then giving you a sterling recommendation when you pack up your new free wardrobe, your six entire months of work experience, and your crappy attitude, and flit off to an unearned dream job that will be cursed to have you.
Then, I will sit in the back of my town car and smile, thinking about how much of my time and dignity I chose to waste on you—a charmed, hateful girl, failing to the head of the table I had to fight tooth and nail just to get scraps from. Because I am Miranda Priestly, and I am slightly difficult, excellent at my job, and endlessly supportive.
They don’t call me the Devil for nothing.