Lauren Weisberger, Everyone Worth Knowing
The author of the best selling novel, The Devil Wears Prada has written a new book, Everyone Worth Knowing. Lauren Weisberger takes us behind the velvet ropes of the exclusive Manhattan nightclubs and parties attended by the infamous and popular A-listers where all kinds of tawdry and ribald behavior occurs. Imagine Paris and Lindsay dancing on the bar top sans underwear while Kate Moss huddles in a cornor snorting something and Colin Farrell gets naked in the alley with a supermodel. All right, none of that exactly happens in the book but think along those lines.
Lauren was kind enough to answer my questions and I believe she's going to invite me onto the set of The Devil Wears Prada so I can meet Anne Hathaway. And then we will be best friends forever and go shopping and gossip about Anna Wintour, not my bulldog, the other Anna.
I want to let you know I thought the book was really funny. I especially enjoyed all the references to the 1980's. With that being said, how much of an impact did your childhood have on your writing today?
Thank you! First of all, you should know that I'm going to print this email and post it on the bulletin board above my computer. Hearing that someone thinks the book is funny is the best compliment ever. But as far as my childhood, I think it definitely impacts my writing. My parents are both really witty with senses of humor that skew toward the darker side, so it was always an effort just trying to get attention at the dinner table. And the eighties? Well, there just CAN'T be better decade for childhood. Who needs the family values of the 50's, the social consciousness of the 60's, or the political awareness of the 70's when you have The Breakfast Club and hair bands? I mean, really!
Did the huge success of The Devil Wears Prada make you more or less secure when Everyone Worth Knowing was being written? I mean, you cannot just sit back and skate on the achievement of a previous best seller. It could be a lot of pressure.
Well, you can sure TRY to sit back and skate (I definitely tried this), but it's not always going to work. In some areas it was easier to write because I knew what to expect. But most of the time, the pressure got to me. Every word that was written about Prada--positive or negative--reverberated in my head and made it really hard to write sometimes. But my editor (who just so happens to be the best editor on earth) talked me down from the ledge. And now I'm not reading reviews at all, which will hopefully make it easier the third time around....
If you could choose actors to portray Bette, Sammy, Philip and Penelope, who would you cast? And would you give a non-speaking role to Paris Hilton because she is such an "it" girl right now? You could use her for all the club scenes. She's like a permanent fixture, her or the Olsen girls.
Hmm, let's see. I haven't actually thought about this yet, but if you're FORCING me to pick fabulous people, I'd have to go with:
1. Annie Hathaway for Bette. I've been watching her week after week on the set of TDWP and she's amazing. She can do innocent/naive and sexy/sophisticated in a single scene. I'm a huge fan.
2. Jake Gyllenhaal as Sammy. Aside from the obvious (he's hot), I think he personifies that strong, silent type. That, and it'd guarantee I'd meet him.
3. Jude Law for Philip. He's exactly the persona I envisioned when I wrote that character--roguish, gorgeous, and solid with the British accent. And let's be honest: he's got the bad boy thing down perfectly.
4. Katie Holmes for Penelope. Putting aside all the TomKat, Scientology, pregnancy weirdness aside, I think she's really talented.
Free association. What do you think of when I mention:
(Donald Trump) The Apprentice: So over.
Britney Spears: Those highly disturbing pictures from US Weekly that showed her barefoot in numerous gas station bathrooms. Those stayed with me....
Howard Stern: Don't mind him, loathe sidekick Robin
Colonics: Yuck. That falls under the "bodily function" category which is something no girl needs to be discussing, ever.
Starbucks: I bitch and bitch how I hate their coffee and I buy one every single day.
The Nanny Diaries: One of the funniest opening chapters I've ever read.
Ear Candling: What? What is this? I'm looking it up right now....
Do you think you could ever write about a farmer in the Midwest or will you always write what you know: fashion, New York, the world of the upper class society, Conde Nast? PS I had a job interview at Conde Nast once. It was horrible.
I admit I don't know much about farming, but I haven't always lived in New York. I grew up in Scranton and Allentown, PA, and had a childhood VERY different from all the New York stuff I write about now. I definitely hope to go back to that in my writing at some point. And as far as your CNP interview...hey, you said it, not me!
Did you really say the following about PR girl, Lizzie Grubman, "she has a face like a crocodile handbag." If you are so sarcastic, we could be great friends.
Ok, I admit it: a friend of mine said that EXACT line and I ripped it off without crediting him. I think I laughed for two straight days over that one. I've never met Lizzie and don't know anything about her, but there's no denying it's a funny description.
Tell me about being in Playboy...
Hah! You make it sound like I was IN Playboy. I wrote an article for their 50th Anniversary issue, and it was such an honor to be included with all those super accomplished writers. It was about sex in the workplace, which in hindsight is ironic: I've only ever worked with women and gay men and as such have ZERO firsthand experience with the topic. But my real standout memory of being in Playboy was the photo shoot. The make-up artist told me he was delighted that for once he didn't have to do full-body make-up and the photographer actually said--and I quote--to "look directly at the camera and twinkle for me." I still haven't figured out what that means, but I'm guessing he did a lot of work with the Playmates.
I liked your essay in American Girls about the Town. I'd love to see you write a full length book from that vignette. Have you considered it?
YES! If you'll read it, I'll write it.
What's in your make-up bag? What is the color of the lipstick you are wearing on the back cover photo for the book? I want it.
Thanks, I LOVE that one. Clinique in Mystique. Sounds random but is actually amazing--I use it as blush, too. I go through two a month.
Do you wear Prada?
I own not one single item save a wallet that was a gift after I published the first book. And I don't really ever carry it because I get a LOT of flak when people see that telltale triangle....(sorry, Mom--it was a nice thought).