If you haven't already, be sure to watch the first look at Stylista, a new reality show by the CW network debuting Oct. 29. According to the creators, if The Devil Wears Prada were a reality show, it would be Stylista. And Elle's fashion news director Anne Slowely would be Miranda Priestly. At the 2008 Summer TCA Tour, the creators, producers, and cast sat down to talk about the show. Here what Anne had to say.
Oh, and just to give you a sense of her feisty personality, one of the moderators messed up the introductions of the cast, prompting Anne to say, "Don't try to try out for the show." Ouch!
How would you describe yourself to someone who has never met you or doesn't know of you?
A girl from Indiana who got really lucky and has worked very, very hard and has had an opportunity to see the best that the world has had to offer. I mean, my life is a bit of a fantasy, but the hard work keeps it real. As I said before, I love what I do. I feel very lucky and privileged, but I'm also very picky. I've had the privilege to become very centric and very picky.
Do you see yourself as more Miranda Priestly or more Donald Trump, or exactly how do you envision yourself in this role?
Just myself or maybe Lucy from Peanuts, "The doctor is in." No, I actually tried watching that movie (The Devil Wears Prada) with my mother who is 85, and she was like, "I don't get this. Take it off." I was like, "But, Mom, that's my life." She's like, "I don't understand it," so I actually haven't watched the movie. I'm just being myself, you know.
To hear about Anne, read more.
Watching that movie, because obviously Meryl Streep was playing that in an elevated way, did you see certain things reflected in her that you kind of really hoped were not you? Did it give you any moments of self-reflection?
I only watched about 15 minutes of it, but no. I'm not a caricature. I'm not a character. I've worked in this business for 20 years. I feel very passionate about what I do. I've sacrificed a lot to do it. I fought very, very hard. I worked very, very hard. I care deeply about the people who work for me. I will give them everything. I ask a lot. I'm very demanding. We live in a very rarefied world, so I think it's really easy to think that we are sort of shallow aesthetes, but we're not. We're very smart. We work very hard. I do over-complicate things. I have five planets in Virgo. I get very particular about my coffee. I have trained staff in hotels in Paris and Milan to get it right. You put the cold milk in first, you don't put the hot espresso next with the ice. People think I'm a little nuts, but I like things the way I like them.
How would you change the fashion industry?
I'd make it cheaper so more people could buy more stuff. I wouldn't change a thing. It's evolved over the years. Not too long ago there wasn't even such a thing as pret-a-porter. It was all couture, and that really came after World War II. It's become very corporate. Perhaps what I would do is I would wish that these giant companies might channel more money into schools for people, young designers and give them a chance. Honestly, that's what keeps the industry going.
What exactly does a fashion news director do?
I go to the shows. It's grueling, you know. You're working from 9 in the morning to 2 in the morning. Basically, sitting, getting backaches in chairs, watching a lot of not great fashion and then every now and then you have a brilliant moment. And then I distill the trends. I conceptualize stories for the reader, for the Elle reader specifically, who's very . . . you know, we don't look down on fashion at all. It is really personal. It's all about personal style. I like to have a lot of fun with it. If you read the stories that I edit and write, we usually try to have a sense of humor about it. It's sort of like "Adventures in Fashion Land."
I have moments I just look around me, and I'm at dinner with Karl Lagerfeld and all of his fancy friends, and I'm just like, "How did I get here?" But then, you're there for work, so I've got to get back to business.