Anne Hathaway

spot the difference I dare you

I’m twenty four, and I still don’t feel like Anne Hathaway.

When I graduated college, I found myself watching The Devil Wears Prada at a friend’s house. I had watched the film a few times before, but something stuck out to me that time. Anne Hathaway’s character, Andy, was a recent grad just like myself. I remember watching the film as a teen and thinking to myself that she must be at least in her late twenties. Even though Andy is a relatable character, she still seemed so sure of herself and put together. She literally confronts Meryl Streep in order to get her job. One time an interviewer asked why I should want this job because I want to be a writer, and there was no confident “turn-back-around” moment. I provided a shifting eyed response about “qualifications” and “please, I still think would be a good fit”.

When I’d watched the movie, I was working at Free People where there was a quota of one woman with lip fillers yelling at you per day. Surely, we were not going through the same stage of life. Anne Hathaway navigated New York City, hung out with Stanley Tucci, and made career moves. I GPS everything no matter how many times I’ve been there and steaming bralettes hardly felt like a career move in the right direction.

Despite the fact that we both looked good in blunt bangs, I couldn’t have felt further away from Anne Hathaway. Yet somehow, I found myself within my Hathaway years.

To me, your Hathaway years are your twenties or really an idealized version of your young adult years post college or moving out. I’ve always loved Anne Hathaway movies ever since she became Princess of Genovia and of my heart. I think my younger self internalized classic films like The Princess Diaries, The Devil Wears Prada, and Bride Wars as benchmarks for young adult life. If my research is correct, then your Hathaway years look like starting out as an assistant or an entry level job. Weekends are spent brunching with friends, and mornings are for 5k runs. You don’t have everything together, but you somehow enjoy that feeling. You’re on the cusp of a promotion, and whether or not you have a romantic partner, you are learning to be comfortable in your independence. Hard work always pays off. No one has trouble finding parking for brunch. Things fall into place.

So far my Hathaway years have looked like three apartments and five jobs in three years. COVID made its mark on two of those years; jobs have felt more like floatation devices than actual progression. One would think that marriage would make me feel even better than Anne Hathaway given the fact that Andy’s boyfriend is unsupportive throughout the movie. Yes, Andy gets a bit of a big head, but he didn’t have to be so dismissive of everything new in Andy’s life. A debate for another day.

However, my wedding experience didn’t follow the Bride Wars template. The week leading up to the wedding wasn’t filled with silly, superficial hijinks like blue hair or failed spray tans. Instead, reality’s hand slapped me in the face with cancellations due to COVID and a job rejection. I think that’s why all of the vendors stress that it’s your most special day; no one promises you a week.

I should mention that our wedding was magical and amazing and I wouldn’t change a thing. It just didn’t occur in the season of life that I thought it would. Bride Wars and TV shows depict marriage as something one indulges in after achieving career stability. Career stability is pretty great and should play a role in such a big life decision; however, I think I processed that as marriage being reserved for accomplished people. It shouldn’t be for aspiring writers who are still figuring stuff out. One could even argue that marriage is now reserved for those in their New Girl years, which we all know as our thirties.

But we are here. Twenty-four. Using phrases like “in-between gigs” to maneuver family friend conversations. Happily married, and in the middle of her Hathaway years. So grateful, yet still looking for a roadmap.

Maybe, I’ll never feel like Anne Hathaway. If the closest I get is sharing a “blunt bangs” moment together, I’ll take it. The antidote to all of this may rest in falling in love with the act of arriving instead of having arrived. With everything that is these unprecedented, #ronatimes, I imagine that a lot of us are letting go of our Anne Hathaways. The plans and goals that we thought we had have been pushed aside, put on hold, or uprooted completely. If they did happen, they looked a little different and smelled of hand sanitizer.

Because we didn’t grow up to be Anne Hathaway but ourselves. And it’s good that job rejections happen during the weeks of weddings. Marriage and weddings don’t exist outside of life but rather in the very thick of it. Morning runs can be tiring, and catching up with friends occurs at hangouts planned months in advance. Life partners may not come to us at thirty, but earlier or later. Anne Hathaway is an actress and not a life coach. And it’s not blue, but cerulean.




Forever writing about being mixed race, adolescence, and things only I find funny.

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Madeline Bhaskar

Madeline Bhaskar

Forever writing about being mixed race, adolescence, and things only I find funny.

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