November 2, 2005

Someone to Know

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For Lauren Weisberger ’99, Cornell was only the beginning of a long education. “You graduate and think you’ll get this amazing job, and you’re ready to take over the city. [And then you reach the moment of] ‘Oh my G-d this is forever.”

Weisberger, who penned the roman à clef The Devil Wears Prada in 2003, will be in the Cornell Store today signing copies of her new novel, Everyone Worth Knowing. Weisberger is certainly someone worth knowing.

Unless you want to work at a magazine conglomerate. The main character of Weisberger’s first novel, Andrea Sachs, gains entry into the world of magazines when she is hired as the assistant to the boss. Weisberger’s first job? “I was the assistant to the editor-in-chief [Anna Wintour] of Vogue magazine,” she says. “I traveled for a little bit and decided I wanted to try and be in magazines so I sent out about 100 resumes.” She says, “I hope [readers] connected with it and thought it was funny and irreverent. The first job is a really common experience; it is one of the hardest experiences [and people] don’t really talk about it [and how hard it is.]”

The novel was a best seller for six months and is currently being made into a film staring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep. “[My life didn’t change] other than to set my own schedule and be able to write what I want. Day-to-day it’s the same – friends and family [are the same]. There is a lot of travel, and I have to make a much more concerted effort to stay in touch.” In her new book, Weisberger captures the next step: the first job switch. The main character is a banker-turned-public relations slave. “As you’ll see, I think so much people end up in banking because a) they like it and are good at it and b) it’s a great job,” she says. “This book is about when you’ve been [working] in the city for a few years – and you are probably just as confused. As soon as one are seems to be working another one falls apart.”

So began her PR apprenticeship. “It was fun to research. The people I researched with are PR [big shots] and I would go there by day and get to go out with them at night,” she says. “I found with a lot of my friends that after a couple of years working 100-hour weeks they end up making drastic career changes. I didn’t know PR and I wanted to [get into] New York Nightlife.”

“It was a huge education,” she says. “I still wonder now but I know a little bit more.”

The book has been a best seller since its October 4th release and Weisberger is currently on a book tour. “As I’ve been meeting readers they tell me they enjoy [reading my books and identify with the characters]. It’s always really older men.”

She says, “I really want the books to entertain. It’s not supposed to be the great American novel, for sure.”

Weisberger remembers her four years at Cornell fondly, which was not too long ago. At Cornell, Weisberger was an English Major and a member of the Greek community, and served as a tour guide. “It [giving tours] was so much fun,” she says. “I loved Cornell so much we [my friends from Cornell] always talk about it. My closest friends are all from school. They are starting to spread out now, it’s very weird.” Maybe material for her next book? “[Laughs] Maybe, I’d like that.”

Archived article by Logan Bromer
Associate Arts and Entertainment Editor