The Devil Wears Prada: Is Anne Hathaway a Cinderella character?

In “The Devil Wears Prada,” Anne Hathaway plays Andy, a college graduate who finds a job working under the prestigious Miranda Presley, played by Meryl Streep. Andy is rudely awakened when she must perform seemingly impossible tasks that Miranda tells her to do. Not only is she constantly working, just like Cinderella, but Miranda is nasty with her arrogant and discouraging responses, just like the evil stepmother. Another similarity between “The Devil Wears Prada” and Cinderella is the physical transformation and godmother aspect. About 45 minutes into the film Andy realizes that if she really wants to commit to the job she must conform to the fashion world and pay more attention to what she looks like. The godmother character, Nigel, played by Stanley Tucci helps her do this by picking clothes out for her, as well as giving her advice along the way. Are there any other parallels in this movie to Cinderella? Are there ways in which it is opposite to Cinderella as well? 

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About Elisabeth Gruner

English professor, University of Richmond
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7 Responses to The Devil Wears Prada: Is Anne Hathaway a Cinderella character?

  1. This movie is definitely a movie that promotes beauty. Andy is not doing well in her job until she receives her makeover and really begins to actually look the part. Andy is always being pushed around and ridiculed by her boss and always does exactly as she is told (or tries to.) But is this seen as a different kind of passivity because she is being obedient to her boss at work? I think that most people are obedient to their boss because they want to succeed in their careers.

  2. Katie Oberkircher says:

    This movie has some aspects of a Cinderella story with her transformation to a conformist of the high fashion world as well asthe fairy godmother role who helps her disguise parts of her old self, but this movie suggests that Andy’s character loses some of her inner beauty during her transformation, as opposed to the traditional Cinderella character. Also, Andy chooses to go back to her old ways at the end of hte movie, which suggests that the transformation did not actually help her succeed in the long run because she had to change crucial characteristics about herself to conform to the high fashion industry. Overall, there are glimmers of Cinderella story qualities, but the main plot of the story suggests that Andy overcomes her passivity and establishes a firmer sense of self.

  3. kellyncampbell says:

    This Cinderella-type story adds an interesting twist to the typical morals of Cinderella. In this case, it is more of a rags to riches to rags progression, suggesting that the riches period is one of weakness, dependence, and conformity. The idea that Andy is a better person when she doesn’t bother to concern herself with looking good or keeping up with modern styles is very different than the traditional Cinderella. Typically, Cinderella’s life is happy during the riches portions while her time spent in rags symbolizes the difficult period of her life. By reversing this, The Devil Wears Prada connects the themes of beauty and wealth with the evil “stepmother” (boss) and the heroine’s conformity rather than her success.

  4. chelsead1013 says:

    This story follows the Cinderella-type story because she is transformed into a beautiful women in order to gain success and happiness, with the help of a godmother, but differs due to her adherence to the pressures of her boss (the stepmother). Rather than be an independent “princess” and change for her personal happiness, she changes and falls into the trap of the evil boss (stepmother) and her boss’ expectations. Instead of sticking to her own identity she transforms into a fashion icon, losing some of her inner beauty and unique attitude. Also, the Cinderella character starts out with her prince rather than having to find him, but is rescued by him. He saves her from a total transformation and in turn she become successful and gains a “happily ever after”.

  5. kmcnichol says:

    I would have to agree that Anne is a Cinderella character. She experiences the classic rages to riches which is the most prevalent part to all Cinderella stories. This rages to riches she experiences from getting a fabulous dream job at a fashion magazine. The only catch to this Cinderella story is here boss plays as both here fairy godmother providing her with all the opportunities but also plays the role of her step mother giving her demanding jobs. Like other cinderella stories Anne had to find strength in herself in order to experience a “happily ever after”.

  6. leahdowney2 says:

    While I definitely see the similarities between this movie and the Cinderella, I think Andy is much more active than the traditional Cinderella character. She takes the job so that she can take a step forward in her journalism career, she isn’t forced into it. In each “impossible” task she completes for Miranda, Andy proves herself and her strength of character. Her strength is again seen when she quits her prestigious job as Miranda’s assistant out of protest for the mistreatment of Nigel. Though she does get swept into the shallowness of her new world for a portion of the movie, in the end she stays true to her original character. She may transform into the ideal woman of the luxurious world, but she changes back into herself in the end.

  7. kstarr27 says:

    I think that there are definitely many ways that this movie can be related to the typical “Cinderella story,” yet, as it has been suggested above me, there are certainly ways in which this movie’s plot takes its own turn. The fact that Andy’s success and respect within her workplace are dependent upon her transformation into a chic and more sophisticated woman can definitely be related to Cinderella’s transformation into a beautiful and marriageable young woman at the ball. Another connection between this movie and Cinderella, is the presence of a domineering stepmother figure. While in Cinderella, this stepmother forces Cinderella to perform seemingly impossible tasks, as she piles chores upon chores and expects them to each be completed, in The Devil Wears Prada, Miranda (Andy’s boss) takes on this role, as she asks Andy to bend over backwards to accomplish ridiculous tasks like booking her a flight home in a storm (when no planes are flying), and finding copies of the newest (and unreleased) versions of Harry Potter for her children to read. Andy’s determination to accomplish these tasks is definitely similar to Cinderella’s refusal to let her stepmother’s cruel ways bring her down. However, though these ties are undeniably present, there are clear ways in which this movie differs from the traditional Cinderella story. One difference is that Andy’s transformation does not help any of her relationships with others. While in Cinderella, her transformation allows for the prince to see her as the object of his affection, in this movie, her transformation is actually detrimental to her love life, as her boyfriend feels that she has gotten too caught up in her new job and has in turn lost sight of who she truly is. It becomes apparent that The Devil Wears Prada is definitely a rendition of the Cinderella story, yet instead of encouraging passivity, it promotes confidence in one’s true character, as this is the true source of happiness, and it also suggests that fairy tale transformations are not always positive.

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