Miranda Priestly as portrayed by Meryl Streep
|First appearance||The Devil Wears Prada (2003)|
|Last appearance||Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns (2013)|
|Created by||Lauren Weisberger|
|Portrayed by||Meryl Streep (film)|
|Title||Editor-in-chief, US Runway|
|Occupation||Magazine editor, fashion journalist|
|Spouse||Hunter Tomlinson ("B-DAD") in novel; Stephen in film (2nd husband)|
|Children||Twin daughters Cassidy and Caroline, age 11|
She is a powerful New York City-based editor-in-chief of the fictional fashion magazine Runway. She is known as much for her icy demeanor and diva attitude as for her outstanding power within the fashion world.
Miranda Priestly was born Miriam Princhek on October 25 1949, in the East End of London. Her family members were poor but devout orthodox Jews. The family relied on the community for support, because her father worked odd jobs occasionally and her mother died in childbirth. Miriam's grandmother moved in with the family to assist in raising the children. Miriam saved the small bills that her siblings would give her and worked as an assistant to a British designer. She made a name for herself in London's fashion world and studied French at night and was made junior editor of the Chic magazine in Paris. When she was twenty-four Miriam changed her name to Miranda Priestly and replaced her rough accent with a sophisticated one. Miranda spent ten years at French Runway before Elias-Clark transferred her to American Runway. She, her twin daughters, and her husband moved to a penthouse apartment on Fifth Avenue and 76th Street. She is the editor-in-chief of Runway, a very chic and influential fashion magazine published by the Elias-Clark company. She is known for wearing a white Hermès scarf in her everyday outfit and treating her subordinates in a manner that borders on emotional and psychological abuse.
While she reminds employees "a million girls would kill for this job", Priestly's cruel treatment of staff causes a high turnover rate among personal assistants; the focus of her characterization in the book and the film being her newest assistant, recent journalism graduate Andrea Sachs.
In the film version, her past is not mentioned at all.
Miranda Priestly's personality comes in ranking as an ENTJ according to the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator. Her personage has been reviewed as 'Bossy' and 'Diva', referring her as an arrogant, megalomaniac and egomaniac person.
Comparisons of the characterEdit
Weisberger denies that Miranda Priestly is modeled on Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, saying in the publicity material for the book that her antics and demands are partially fictional and partially a composite of actual experiences she and her friends had in their first jobs, however in the sequel the writer describes Miranda at a basketball game with Rafael Nadal (a reference to Wintour’s friendship with Roger Federer) and mentions that she’s now the editorial director of the whole of Runway’s parent company (a reference to Wintour's role of Condé Nast artistic director).
In the film she is a more sympathetic character than portrayed in the book. Whilst she remains just as ruthless and manipulative as she was in the book she is seen in a few moments of vulnerability three quarters of the way into the film in she confides to Andrea her distress about her failing marriage and the effect she is worried it will have on her daughters. The film incarnation of Priestly also speaks with an American accent, which strongly suggests the film character is not a Briton as portrayed in the novel.
Most, if not all reviews and articles of the movie made reference to Wintour. Nicknamed "Nuclear Wintour", Anna has been known to possess most of the same traits as Priestly, although she has shown more redeeming traits. Streep has told multiple reporters that she did not personally base her portrayal on Wintour, but instead on men she has known; Streep actually didn't meet Wintour until a pre-release screening of the movie. Other inspirations for Streep's portrayal include Cruella de Vil, Martha Stewart and the ghost of Joan Crawford from Mommie Dearest.
As for Miranda's appearance, Streep thought of the famous 85-year-old model Carmen Dell'Orefice, known for her trademark white bouffant. "I wanted a cross between her and the unassailable elegance and authority of Christine Lagarde", Streep later says in a coverage for Variety.
Meryl often said her performance was inspired by men, but kept their identities a closely guarded secret until now. "The voice I got from Clint Eastwood," Streep says. “He never, ever, ever raises his voice and everyone has to lean in to listen, and he is automatically the most powerful person in the room." But he is not funny. That I stole from Mike Nichols. The walk, I’m afraid, is mine".
Streep's performance was praised for making an extremely unsympathetic character far more complex than she had been in the novel. "With her silver hair and pale skin, her whispery diction as perfect as her posture, Ms. Streep's Miranda inspires both terror and a measure of awe," wrote A. O. Scott in The New York Times. "No longer simply the incarnation of evil, she is now a vision of aristocratic, purposeful and surprisingly human grace."Kyle Smith agreed at the New York Post: "The snaky Streep wisely chooses not to imitate Vogue editrix Anna Wintour, the inspiration for the book, but creates her own surprisingly believable character."
Liz Jones, former editor of British Marie Claire, wrote that the movie was "a chilling reminder of the most surreal three years of my life." The only detail she found inaccurate was the absence of flowers in Miranda's Paris hotel room—during her tenure as editor, her rooms there or in Milan received so many flowers from designers that she thought she "had died prematurely." She personally vouched for Miranda's personality: "It took only a few weeks in the job for me to mutate into that strangely exotic and spoilt creature: the magazine maven, whose every whim, like those of Miranda ... must be pandered to."
Janet Brennan Croft of the University of Oklahoma reads the movie as a modern retelling of the Psyche myth, with Miranda in the role of Aphrodite, in which the character matures under the tutelage of an older female who at first seems purely to be tormenting her. "This authoritative female figure may even appear to be an enemy, at least at times, but actually mentors and guides [Psyche]'s growth into full participation in society." She compares the seemingly pointless tasks Miranda assigns Andy with those Aphrodite requests of Psyche: "By working through the conflict, the daughter/mentee also reaches a healthy balance of independence from and respect or love for the mother/mentor."
Awards and honorsEdit
Nearly all critics of the film raved about Meryl Streep performance as the cold, calculating Miranda Priestly. Streep received an Academy Award for Best Actress nomination for this role but lost to Helen Mirren's portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen. It was Streep's 14th nomination, furthering her impressive record. Also she wins a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for her turn as Priestly, that being the 6th Golden Globe Award in her career from 21 nominations.
Impact and legacyEdit
In May 2007, the popular American soap opera General Hospital introduced a new character Kate Howard (originated by Megan Ward) patterned after the character of Miranda Priestly. Kate is much like Miranda, the only noticeable difference being age. Later that year, the "Money" episode of the US version of The Office began with Michael Scott (Steve Carell), who had just been watching the film, yelling "Steak!" and "Get me Armani!" to the Dunder-Mifflin receptionist, Pam. On Episode 18 Season 14 of the Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Kris Jenner dressed as Miranda, channeling her 'Boss Lady' persona.
On the film's 10th anniversary, Alyssa Rosenberg wrote for The Washington Post that Miranda anticipated female antiheroines of popular television series of the later 2000s and 2010s such as Scandal's Olivia Pope and Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones. Like them, she observes, Miranda competently assumes a position of authority often held by male characters, despite her moral failings, that she must defend against attempts to use her personal life to remove her from it, to "prov[e], as a creature of sentiment, that she never belonged there in the first place." In doing so, however successfully to herself and others, "she has zipped herself into a life as regimented and limited as a skintight pencil skirt." Variety' observed that "[the characterization] showed Hollywood that it was never wise to underestimate a strong woman's worth."
In 2020, The Huffington Post's Monica Torres wrote about how much more she appreciated Miranda upon watching the film for the first time since her teens. Then, she had identified strongly with Andrea and hated Miranda. "But after rewatching as a working adult, I'm struck to find I have a much more complex understanding of [her], and of how many missteps her Runway staff take in their careers." Despite Andrea's dramatic break with her, Torres notes, Miranda still gives her a favorable job recommendation at the end. "That's better than most people would do for an employee who burnt a bridge!"
- Peter Howell, "The devil in Ms. Streep", Toronto Star, Toronto ON: Torstar, 30 June 2006. Page C3, 6 columns.
- "MBTI Of The Devil Wears Prada Characters". ScreenRant. June 11, 2019.
- Nicolaou, Elena. "What Movie To Watch, Based On Your Myers Briggs". www.refinery29.com.
- Weisberger, Lauren; Q and A; randomhouse.com; retrieved September 3, 2006.
- "Lauren Weisberger's 'Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns'". The Washington Post. June 3, 2013.
- Slezak, Michael (June 30, 2006). "Reviewing the Reviews: 'The Devil Wears Prada'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
- "'The Devil Wears Prada' Turns 10: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt Tell All". Variety. June 23, 2016.
- Scott, A. O. (June 30, 2006). "In 'The Devil Wears Prada,' Meryl Streep Plays the Terror of the Fashion World". The New York Times. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
- Smith, Kyle (June 29, 2006). "Wintour Wonderland – It May Not Be in Vogue, but It's in Fashion; For Fashion, a Model Movie". New York Post. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
- Hwang, Priscilla (August 2011). "The Devil Is In The Details: How The Devil Wears Prada Brands the Fashion Journalist" (PDF). The Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture. USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. p. 18. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
- Croft, Janet Beecher (2012). "Psyche in New York: The Devil Wears Prada Updates the Myth" (PDF). Mythlore. 30 (3/4): 55–69. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
- "The Devil (from Benson Hurst!) Wears Prada. - General Hospital Daily Updates - Soaps.com".
- "The Kardashian Sisters Take a Break From Fertility Concerns by Playing Dress-Up". Thecut.com. February 26, 2018.
- "Too Many Miranda Priestlys!KUWTK".
- Rosenberg, Alyssa (June 30, 2016). "How 'The Devil Wears Prada' foreshadowed an age of antiheroines". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
- Torres, Monica (January 15, 2020). "In 'The Devil Wears Prada,' It's Clear Andy Sucks, Too". Retrieved January 15, 2020.
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