We’re all familiar with The Devil Wears Prada, the 2006 hit that had absolutely everything an early 2000s hit needed: a young, ambitious woman thrown out of her comfort zone, a cutthroat boss at a top fashion magazine, hostile coworkers that soften over time, a trip to Paris, and, of course, a makeover montage.
The Devil Wears Prada hasn’t only lived on merely because of Meryl Streep’s iconic performance as icy dragon lady Miranda Priestly or Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of Andy, a clueless wannabe writer. Its popularity hasn’t waned over the last 15 years because it offered viewers a high-stakes depiction of a young woman growing well past her comfort zone and owning her femininity, all while surrounded by the glitz and glamour of the fashion industry in New York City.
We loved watching Andy morph from a frumpy young woman with no fashion sense or impressive job to brag about, to one that, by the end of the film, walked away from Runway Magazine with a newfound sense of purpose and self-understanding.
But her transformation didn’t come without challenges: messing up at work, having no social life, and perhaps worst of all, her downright awful boyfriend, Nate — a sentiment affirmed by the cast of The Devil Wears Prada after reuniting recently, despite the idea that her heartless, manipulative, selfish boss would’ve been the clear antagonist of the story. But here’s why Nate was the real villain of the film.
He Constantly Told Her To Quit
Working as the assistant to the Editor-in-Chief of a fashion magazine was hardly Andy’s dream, making it clear early on that she’d rather write about things she cares about than fetch her ruthless boss a Starbucks latte. Despite this, she lands the coveted role with the promise that after working for Miranda she’ll be able to get a job anywhere, an opportunity most of us only dream of.
But Nate isn’t all that excited for Andy — and instead of encouraging her to commit to a job that would open countless doors for her down the line, he advises her to quit as soon as she faces adversity, leaving her to motivate herself to carry on entirely alone, with both her coworkers and boyfriend pressuring her to throw in the towel.
He Shamed Her for Caring about Her Looks
Andy turns up on her first day in a dowdy plaid skirt, shapeless sweater, and hideous slip-ons — in other words, she looked terribly unprofessional and sloppy, having barely combed her hair before heading to work. While Andy initially sells herself as someone who doesn’t bother with frivolous things like fashion and makeup, it becomes clear that she simply feels out of her depth when it comes to her appearance.
As she finds her footing at work, she begins to understand the power of dressing well, styling her hair, and using makeup. As Andy invests in her appearance, she starts to gain self-confidence, respect, and bigger responsibilities at work — showing that when she cared about how she looked she let others know that she also cared about her job.
But the one person who doesn’t like her new look? Nate, of course. Instead of being excited to see Andy embrace a new side of herself, Nate made her feel wrong for changing her appearance, saying he preferred the way she used to dress and declaring the new her isn’t really her.
He Didn’t Communicate His Feelings with Her
It’d be unfair to pretend Andy’s new job wasn’t eating away at her social life. At any given moment, she might have to leave dinner to tend to Miranda’s needs — she even missed Nate’s birthday because of a work event. Nate was within his rights to be upset about Andy’s lack of work/life balance.
But rather than expressing his grievances and frustration that Andy’s entire life suddenly revolved around Miranda, he iced Andy out, shrugged off her apologies, made snarky comments about her phone’s incessant ringing, downplayed her work ethic, and presented her with the ultimatum that she either choose him or work — showing us that his girlfriend’s demanding career made him feel insecure. An open and respectful discussion about his needs could’ve saved them both a whole lot of heartache.
While Andy wasn’t anywhere near perfect, it’s still clear that she desperately needed support and room to grow during such a transformative season of her life. Nate ended up being the real villain of The Devil Wears Prada because of his refusal to cheer her on after getting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity or praise her for taking control of her appearance and her career.
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