Suddenly I see! Andy Sachs is who I want to be

As a journalist, I am required to share the whole-hearted truth with my readers. Alas, this semester has been tough. Sleepless weekday nights have warranted a lot of trips home just to feel comfort away from academics, everyday dining hall options and the pressure of reaching 500+ connections on LinkedIn by Christmas.

Annika Morris | Graphic Artist

So, what’s the secret ingredient that keeps me leaving the city on a late Friday night Commuter Rail train? Movie nights.

No, I’m not talking about the screenings where note-taking is mandatory. I’m talking about being what some would call a “couch potato,” but I prefer to phrase it as a heavily-blanketed pleasure with enough M&M’s to keep dental industries in business for the next decade. 

Yet, picking out a movie to watch is like choosing what to have for dinner — there’s always that constant deflection of “No, you pick,” and the never ceasing question of, “What are you in the mood for?” 

Thankfully, that process has matured the more I have opened my willingness to listen to my best friend, who is a cinema and media studies major — and she’s got classics by the book. At the top of her list was “The Devil Wears Prada.” 

Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) recently graduated from Northwestern University as a journalism major with large aspirations to reach the news circulation that comes with giant city life. She lands a reputable position as the Editor-In-Chief’s assistant at Runway Magazine, which is constantly acclaimed in the movie as the job that “a million girls would kill for.” 

There’s only one thing posing challenges for Andy along her route to fulfilling her job: a critical hurricane named Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep).

In addition to the superstardom posed by Hathaway and Streep, the cast of this 2006 drama-comedy is nothing short of illustrious. 

Emily Blunt stars as Emily Charlton, who plays Hathaway’s discouraging editor, Stanley Tucci stars as Nigel, leading fashion authority of Runway and close colleague to Priestly, and even smaller roles features well-known names as large as Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen, who starred as Serena, one of Sachs’s co-workers. 

Watching it for the first time, I was instantly hooked by the relatability of the opening credits. I believe that if my life had a movie, I too would be rushing down the busy city street chowing on an onion bagel. 

As Andy puts on flats and pulls a simple sweater over her head for her Runway interview in her sullied apartment, scenes cut to orderly women pace around their spruce apartments adorned with designer brands. In this film, it’s all about conforming and challenging beauty standards. 

Yet, the film elicits countless other themes beyond challenging the standard of beauty — one of them being a work-life balance. As the plot progresses, Andy’s sociable qualities dwindle, even missing her boyfriend’s own birthday party. To make matters worse, Andy becomes so wrapped up in the industry that she gets caught being kissed by a fellow journalist Christian Thompson (Simon Baker) after her best friend’s gallery. Even during her breakup, Andy pauses in the middle of it to answer a call from Priestly. 

Andy Sachs’ characteristics of being in a league of her own truly rang true in my heart as an introverted journalist. 

Being put on assignment to venture off-campus and speak with strangers about hard-hitting international topics spans thousands of layers out of my comfort zone. This is similar to simplistic-styled Andy, who accepts a position at a fashion magazine surrounded by gurus of the craft.

By the end of the film, Andy experiences a revelation, realizing her reputable position has made her less reputable in every other aspect. 

She threw away her true self to conform to the high-end magazine beauty standard, she lost everyone she loved, and she became so focused on pleasing her authority that she never saw how many people she had to step on to get there. 

Finally realizing the cons outweigh the pros, she walked away from Priestly and threw her phone in a fountain, reclaiming what everyone should truly invest in: their own selves. 

It’s no secret that the structure of this film garnered massive accolades from film academies across the globe, amassing 21 awards across 2006 and 2007. Notable achievements included “Movie of the Year” from the American Film Institute Awards, Meryl Streeps’ wins as “Actress of the Year” at the 2007 London Critics Circle Film Awards and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy” at the 2007 Golden Globe Awards. 

Long story short, “The Devil Wears Prada” cathartically undermined my fear of brutally honest authority, taught me to abandon ships if things cross the bridge between high pressure versus consumption, and reignited my passion to lead each step of the corporate world with a little more empathy, because I think that’s what Andy needed all along.  

With that being said, I’d like to leave a message to any male student reading this article. If “chick flick” is in your vocabulary, I strongly encourage you to get rid of it. You may carry an assumption that they’re too unserious for your liking, but you’ll find there are extremely valuable lessons waiting to reward those who rise above that gendered stereotype.

In the words of Miranda Priestly, “that’s all.”

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One Comment

  1. Amazing Andrew !!!!!