A Hundred Other Girls by Iman Hariri-Kia
“Loretta, you have my word,” I say with conviction. “If I were to be your assistant, I would do whatever it takes to prove my loyalty. Anything.”
A HUNDRED OTHER GIRLS
Noora’s life is a little off track. She’s an aspiring writer and amateur blogger in New York―which is a nice way of saying that she tutors rich Upper East Side kids and is crashing on her sister’s couch. But that’s okay. Noora has Leila, who has always been her rock, and now she has another major influence to lean on: Vinyl magazine. The pages of Vinyl practically raised Noora, teaching her everything from how to properly insert a tampon to the political ideology she subscribes to.
So when she lands a highly coveted job as assistant to Loretta James, Vinyl’s iconic editor-in-chief, Noora can’t believe her luck. Writing for Vinyl has always been her dream, and now with her foot firmly in the door and Loretta James as her mentor, Noora is finally on the right path…or so she thinks.
But Loretta is an unhinged nightmare, insecure and desperate to remain relevant in an evolving media landscape she doesn’t understand. Noora’s phone buzzes constantly with Loretta’s bizarre demands, particularly tasks she hopes will undermine the success of Vinyl’s wunderkind digital director, Jade Aki. Noora’s job is nothing like she expected, and a misguided crush on the hot IT guy only threatens to complicate things even more. As Loretta and the old-school print team enter a turf war with Jade and the woke-for-the-wrong-reasons digital team, Noora soon finds herself caught in the middle. And with her dream job on the line, she’ll need to either choose a side or form her own team.
What I thought
This book has been on my list for months, and I was curious if it would live up to the insanely high standards I set for it based on the synopsis.
In short, it absolutely did.
Iman Hariri-Kia has created a narrative, and a main character, Noora, who I felt was living and breathing my existence. I've been in fashion, media, and publishing since I was sixteen — I'm nearly thirty now, and this book was an accurate portrayal of everything I've been through these past fourteen years.
Just like Noora, my dreams of working for a big name magazine started at a young age. I used the money from my newspaper route to pay for magazines, and dreamt that one day I'd walk the hallways of Vogue. I made it there when I was twenty-one, and it was far from what I imagined it would be.
As soon as I met Noora on the subway on her way to meet Loretta James, Editor-in-Chief of Vinyl magazine, I was jolted back to my first time in the Big Apple. She dared to dream big, and I saw so much of my younger self in her.
Despite already establishing herself as a blogger, Noora aspires to be a published writer, and gets her break into the industry by working under Loretta. For fans of The Devil Wears Prada, you'll be whisked back to that time when Andrea Sachs first met Miranda Priestly in the offices of Runway.
As Iman reminded me in an interview with Robin Kall on Instagram yesterday, it's been twenty years since author Lauren Weisberger introduced the world to the crazed fashion industry. Looking back on the book and the movie now, as iconic as it is, it kind of feels like the stone age.
A Hundred Other Girls is the refresh we need. With her years of experience in the field, Iman invites the world to join her as she creates a clever and compelling look at the movement from print to digital media with a brilliant and engaging cast of diverse characters.
A note to all the interns, assistants, underpaid and aspiring writers out there hustling every damn day to make it work: this one is for you.
|Iman Hariri-Kia by Louisana Mei Gelpi|
Iman Hariri-Kia is a writer, editor, and author born and based in New York City. A recipient of the Anabelle Bonner medal for short fiction and a nationally acclaimed journalist, she covers sex, relationships, identity, and adolescence. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Teen Vogue, Cosmo, Nylon, Bustle, and more. A Hundred Other Girls is her debut novel.