Debut by freelance copyeditor Messina, a magazine-world insider (InStyle, Metropoilitan Home, etc.).
Fortunately for twentysomething English majors, magazines that worship celebrities and run breathless articles about the things the celebs own actually sell more than a few copies. Toilet stopped up? Unclog like a star! And here’s where to get Jennifer Aniston’s plunger! Meantime, though, overworked editorial assistant Vig Morgan wishes she could write meaningful, informative articles, but bitchy boss Jane McNeill won’t hear of it. Then rumors of an impending palace coup are whispered among the cubicles of Fashionista offices in midtown New York. Could the much-married Marguerite Tourneau Holland Beckett Velazquez Constantine Thomas of Australia, Paris, and London be next in line for Jane’s throne? A battle for control ensues, with the Audrey Hepburn look-alike waving her cigarette holder like a symbolic sword as Jane, the scrappy American, fights back. The supporting characters make up a publishing rogues’ gallery: Maya, the forlorn, underpaid freelancer; Allison, the dumpy, badly dressed beauty editor; Dot Drexel, perky headline writer, etc. But who is Alex Keller, the mysterious man behind Fashionista’s fabulous party page, and why is he always in such a bad mood? Passing herself off as a dog walker and taking Alex’s chocolate lab around the block, Vig finally gets the scoop: he’s a gorgeous architecture major at Cooper Union who long ago delegated the actual work of writing the column to superefficient Delia. But even that can’t rouse Vig from the depths of designer despair. Every month she takes the same three strands of yarn—celebrity, fashion and beauty—and weaves them together. When Alex, one of the great listeners, asks why she still works there, Vig treats him to a 45-minute rant on Jane’s vindictiveness, Dot’s vapidness, and on the endless whoring after celebrities that has turned her life into hell (a very dull hell). Turns out she’s, uh, afraid of change. But a great new assignment with her very own by-line awaits.
A few funny lines, but the dispirited tone sinks it fast.