Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lauren Weisberger doesn't wear Prada

Here's a photo from our evening at the Newport Beach Public Library. Lauren Weisberger, seated beside me, came to talk about her new book, Chasing Harry Winston, and of course we talked about her first book, The Devil Wears Prada.

I met Lauren in the conference room with her media escort and her husband Mike. She wasn't wearing Prada, not that I thought she would be, but somehow I thought if you wrote a book about something that happened to you while you worked at the biggest fashion magazine, that you would be into fashion.

So I spent more time than I should have concerned with what to wear. Should I wear my best white pantsuit that I bought at Nordstrom last year? I almost emailed Lauren to ask what she was going to wear, so we would sort of match, but didn't. I decided to dress the way I always dress for literary events, which is how I usually dress in general, only not as casual (no tee-shirts, no pull over cotton jerseys, no black workout pants, no faded jeans). I did bring along my knock-off Prada bag. It was meant to be a joke, but I don't think Lauren found it funny. (Later I decided she was burnt out on Prada jokes and people thinking she was into Prada.) I bought it a few years ago at a flea market in Pennsylvania because I loved the lime green color and size. The Prada logo put me off, though.

I don't want to buy a knock-off, I told my cousin John.

So Sharpie in the logo, he said.

That's tacky, I said, buying the bag but leaving the Prada logo alone. When I carry it, I turn the logo side toward my leg so the logo doesn't show.

I was happily surprised Lauren was dressed casually in white jeans and sandals. She likes to buy jeans, perhaps more than she should (says she). Her diamond wedding band caught the light as big diamonds will. I loved the ring.

In the conference room she said she thought we should only talk a little and use the time for questions. She said she hated the media. I commiserated. So many radio and TV people are only interested in sound bites, I said. I told her I thought we'd talk for 30 minutes or so and then take questions. She thought that was too long. I said it would be okay. She said she liked questions. I said it would be fine. I worried, though, that she seemed nervous.

But it was fine. It was actually great fun. Lauren seemed to genuinely have a great time, too.

Before an audience of 230, Lauren and I talked about her books, but we also talked a great deal about writing. One tidbit I took away (that a lot of us took away) is that Lauren is distracted just like the rest of us, with email. Even a speck of dust can seem fascinating. And yet the girl is extremely productive. I found that inspiring, that she's distracted often and is so productive anyway.

In the photo, you'll see Lauren and me seated, and behind us are Lauren's new husband Mike, NBPL Executive Director Tracy Keys, and Event Coordinator Janis Dinwiddie, with Dinwiddie Events. Kudos to Tracy and Janis--the library has been bringing in solid authors and helping to quench the Orange County thirst for literary events. Yay, Tracy and Janis!


Judy Kay said...

We had such fun.

Great post.

I kept expecting you to mention your entourage, as in, more about me, less about the skinny pretty famous people who've actually published something. :)

Anonymous said...

You're right. Silly me. I should have mentioned my gorgeous entourage--you, Kim, Sarah, Nicole, Debra, CJ...and old friends I saw there: Anne Grob, Gloria Zigner, etc., etc.....

Sarah Riggs said...

I am so glad I went to this event, I left inspired and relieved that procrastinators can get around to accomplishing something in life.

Whenever I read her books, I can picture myself being friends with her characters or her. After hearing her speak, her wit and charm won me over, I think we could totally be bi-coastal BFF.

Thrilled at being part of a gorgeous entourage!

GutsyWriter said...

Glad to hear you had a great evening. I called the library to see if I could get a seat since I hadn't reserved and I couldn't get through to a "live" person at 6 p.m. only a recorded message. I knew this would be a popular event as all the seats were reserved.
The photo looks relaxed and you look great. Is there a podcast? I have a friend who would like to hear your interview too. Thanks and please let us know when your next interview takes place at the library.

Nicole said...

I was expecting to have some fun at this event, and not only did I do that (superb moderating, Barbara), but I also learned some things (like you said; distracted people can be productive too!) Inspiring. And I walked away from it liking her so much; she was honest, funny, modest, and had some great stories. I wanted to invite her to our class the next night.

Fascinating, how differently she came upon the titles of the first and third books, (first was from a friend, used in early drafts; the new one came about when her editor forced her to participate in a brainstorming session very late in the writing of that one, if I remember correctly).

And finally, a disclaimer: my Prada bag was a gift from my MIL. What to do with it? I too try to remember to turn the logo inwards, and just enjoy it. It's a toss-up each day: that, or my NPR tote bag.

Anonymous said...

I think you two could be BFF, too....!

And Sonia, I was asked to interview Lauren, so sadly there will be no podcast, but I will definitely tell you the next time it happens.

And Nicole, thanks. I always have fun doing these events so I'm glad it showed.