When Lauren Weisberger was 25 and published her first novel, The Devil Wears Prada – to much, ahem, fanfare – it was like she’d been shot out of a canon.
On that, she told us: “The surprise success of ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ was wonderful in the long run, but the immediate aftermath of having people write negative things about me and their perceived intentions of why I wrote the book was beyond painful. I was 25, very naive, and had no experience being part of a public conversation, so that was tough.”
But the incredibly rare opportunity to be Anna Wintour’s assistant as her first job out of college (!!) is not lost on her. She said, “I was on every phone call, in every meeting – I got to witness every single decision Anna Wintour made about her business life. It was a very cool thing.”
She’s come a looooong way since then (“then” being 2003 – 13 years ago!) – she’s gotten married, had 2 kids (a 5-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son), moved to the suburbs in Connecticut, and published 5 more novels.
Her latest, The Singles Game, just came out, and it has all the things that make for a juicy beach read: a good-girl pro tennis player + a new coach from hell + a bad girl publicity makeover + a new jet-set social life = devoured it in one sitting.
It’s a rough life when your research takes you to Wimbledon where you hang out in the players’ lounge with Roger Federer, but she had to do it. She told us,
“I’m an observer and love standing off to the sidelines and watching at parties and events. I love writing about real things that happen – it’s always better than anything I could make up.”
Read on for what’s on her summer reading list, the life lesson she learned from Anna Wintour, and her favorite family vacation spots. Meet the lovely Lauren Weisberger.
This one night in Paris on the Devil Wears Prada set. It was a night shoot because they wanted Notre Dame lit for the scene, and they hosed down these cobblestone streets to give them a wet, shiny look. We settled into directors chairs and watched Simon Baker and Anne Hathaway make out all night. It was perfect.
Life Lessons From Anna Wintour
‘No’ was not an acceptable answer. If she asked me to do something, the only answer was ‘yes’. No matter how crazy or impossible it seemed, I needed to figure out how to make it happen. Don’t get me wrong, for regular people ‘no’ is sometimes okay, but that must-do attitude is invaluable.
A Typical Day
I work on a book for a year to year-and-a-half at a time. While writing, I drop the kids at preschool in the morning, work in my home office until lunchtime when they come home. I can’t be here or won’t get anything done, so I go to the library and am there until late afternoon. Then I come home and hang with the kids (go to soccer, ballet, etc.). I feel so lucky to have such a child-friendly job.
With 2 kids so close in age (17 months to the day!), we are on the tail-end of full-service resort life for vacations. Those requirements are:
- Kid-friendly beaches and pools
- A provided crib
- Dinner at 5:30pm
Our favorites have been Rosewood Mayakoba (direct flight to Cancun) and Tryall Jamaica, where we rent a house with 2 other families – they’ll make your meals in the house and have babysitters on hand.
Summer Reading List
I like to read what everybody else is reading. I just finished The Nest and really really enjoyed it. I just started Eligible. And after that, it’s Falling by Jane Green and First Comes Love by Emily Giffin (big fan!).
On Writing A Different Kind of Book
Never say never, but I love writing these books for women and figuring out the balance in their lives – romance, career, friends and family. It all shifts as we get older and have children. It’s all the things I struggle with and talk about with my friends.
Truth is stranger than fiction. Whether it’s something I read, take away from a conversation with a friend, or witness at a party, there’s always a plethora of good material in real life. And I always get some great stories while on a book tour – people are so forthcoming. I find myself constantly saying to my husband, ‘You would not believe what happened…!’
The Struggle Is Real
Balance is hard – there’s no chance I can ever give work or parenting 100%, and I’m okay with that. When things are really busy with work, I feel guilty not spending as much time with the kids. And alternatively, when one kid is sick or things are super busy with the kids, I get stressed about work. I have a supportive husband and help, and it’s still hard. I think about single moms and it’s unfathomable how they do it.
Date Night Perfection
I had it last night! It was perfect. We went with 2 other couples to an early dinner, followed by a Jason Mraz show at a super intimate venue. It was so cool! And the best part is I was home by 10:30pm – you can’t beat that.
My daughter is just learning to read and loves it, so we go to the library or Barnes & Noble (she gets a cookie, I get a coffee), and we read together. It’s amazing.
Time To Relax
When the weather is nice, I love walking. I don’t listen to music or anything, I just walk and think – it’s so nice because every other second I feel like I’m on my phone. When it’s not nice out, I love to take a half hour to just read in middle of day – it feels so indulgent.
Always Splurge On….
A good bag. I don’t care that much about shoes or clothes, but I buy one good bag a year. I carry it all day every day and every night for a year, and then I can’t look at it again. Currently it’s a giant Goyard tote that I’ve dumped our entire life into – kid underwear, random socks, applesauce packets – you can find anything in that bag!
Never Splurge On….
Wine. I’m a big proponent of wine drinking but I can never tell the difference between a $15 and $50 bottle. I never spend more than $15 on a bottle. Right now, it’s a Gouguenheim Malbec – it’s 4 for $35 at my local wine store, and some wine enthusiast friends have said it’s pretty good.