Digital Editor Halima Ahad reflects on how watching the leading ladies of iconic rom-coms inspired her to want to become a journalist

third year eng & creative writing, aspiring journalist, former culture editor and current digital editor <3

As a budding young journalist myself, watching ‘chick flicks’ and rom-coms, in which the protagonists’ lives were surrounded by journalism, fuelled my passion much more. Films such as The Devil Wears Prada, 13 Going On 30 and Confessions of a Shopaholic have largely influenced my dreams to make it big in the city of New York, the hub of journalism. Admittedly, watching these films as a teenager (and rewatching them now) made everything about journalism look so beautiful and eye-catching.

The Devil Wears Prada is a key example within this sphere, the iconic film follows Andy (Anne Hathaway) as she has dreams to make it big in New York and takes the daunting step of becoming a PA to the city’s most notorious magazine editor Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). The hustle and bustle of the New York scene throughout these films ultimately drew me to the world of journalism. One thing I loved about these films was how the main protagonists were always on their feet with their daily tasks, complimenting the setting of the city greatly.

Andy finally gets into Miranda’s good books and learns the tricks and trade of the fashion game

One example in the film which really stood out to me was the iconic scene where Andy finally gets into Miranda’s good books and learns the tricks and trade of the fashion game within the office environment alongside her other colleagues Nigel (Stanley Tucci) and Emily (Emily Blunt). The stereotype of office rivalry was evident throughout the film as Andy and Emily competed to become the ‘Best PA’ for Miranda. Andy’s hard work and persistence to get into Miranda’s good books was rewarded with her increasingly branded fashion sense provided by the magazine. 

Another example (and my absolute favourite) is 13 Going On 30. The film follows Jenna (Jennifer Garner) as she is transported into the body of her 30 year old self and has found out she has fulfilled her dreams in the Big Apple and became the city’s most well-known fashion magazine editor. I loved how the film had the childlike innocence of achieving your dreams and overcoming the obstacles that may come in the way of this. Jenna really resonated with me in the sense that you can always fulfil the dreams of your younger self, no matter how crazy or out of reach they seem to be. 

As well as this, New York is home to many titles such as The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Learning about these numerous titles in the early stages of my hopes for a career in journalism has only fuelled my love for the city and my dreams to make it big there even more. 

…the journalistic office environment is fast paced and ever-changing

Emma Specter of Vogue comments on the topic saying ‘I wouldn’t necessarily describe it as glamorous’ which shows the mundane reality of the job. Although the journalistic office environment is fast paced and ever-changing, it is a job and a source of income for herself at the end of the day. In her piece, she explores the meaning of the term ‘hot girl journalist’ by going all the way back to where the concept began in the early 1940s film scene.

Although these films hide the daily struggles and ins and outs of being a journalist, Specter concludes that they offer ‘somewhat more grounded versions of female journalists’ making her feel as if she is slightly living up to the title. She hopes that this will be a leeway into films with more female journalism-oriented protagonists.

Gen Z have felt nothing but inspired by these characters

The painting of women in the male-dominated industry of journalism during the early 2000s film scene, in my opinion, has been nothing but encouraging for women who want to dip their toes into this. Although this image of a female protagonist being in the world of journalism has slowly faltered out as the years have gone by, Gen Z have felt nothing but inspired by these characters and I hope they come back onto the film scene again soon. 

In terms of my dreams, I have nothing but hope for what the future will bring in terms of my career with journalism. Watching these early 2000s rom-coms during my teenage years influenced my career choices greatly and I aspire to make it big amongst numerous female journalists in the Big Apple scene in the future.

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