If you've read (or seen) The Devil Wears Prada, you've probably taken a moment to ponder, What's it really like to work for Vogue's ever-elusive editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour? Well, Amy Odell, Cosmopolitan.com's editor, has a story to rival Andy Sachs': what it's like to have a job interview with the fashion doyenne—and freeze in the moment.
Once up for an editorial position at the fashion bible, Odell describes the harrowing experience in her first book, Tales from the Back Row: An Outsider's View from Inside the Fashion Industry (on shelves now). Then at NYmag.com's The Cut, Odell panicked to find the perfect ensemble and prepare her answers—only to blank when she actually came face-to-face with Wintour, who opened the interview by noting that Odell was one of her "stalkers" from the satirical blog.
"I had only about two days to prepare for the interview, and I was extremely nervous the whole time. This was a woman who I had deeply admired and respectfully feared since high school!" Odell tells Us Weekly. "I really thought I was going to throw up or pass out, or that something else extremely embarrassing beyond my control would happen to me."
Thankfully, Odell did none of those things. But, after Wintour's awkward lead, she admits she sold herself short. "I was a good fashion blogger at the time and knew a lot more about fashion than I let on. But I was so afraid of being caught acting like I knew something I didn't that I downplayed my strengths," she shares. (Spoiler alert: She didn't get the job at Vogue.)
Nevertheless, Odell, whose memoir has been praised by both Chelsea Handler and Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell, adds, "The interview was nerve-racking, but also very funny in retrospect. What's the point of enduring awkward, scary experiences if you can't laugh about them later?"
As to whether she's seen Wintour since then, Odell said she's only spotted the always-fierce, sunglasses-clad editrix from across the room at fashion shows. But she has no regrets, especially considering her current gig at Cosmopolitan. "In one day, we [the Cosmo.com team] write about Beyonce and cats and shirtless guys and Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and make videos of kids giving dating advice to grown women," she tells Us. "I also work with the most hilarious, amazing, smart group of people in media right now, so work doesn't even feel like work."
To read more about Odell's amazing experiences in the fashion industry—including hanging backstage at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, making nice with Rachel Zoe, and getting Jay Z (!) to soliloquize about fragrances—pick up Tales from the Back Row, available online and in stores.
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