The theme tune is a bit like the signature song to The Devil Wears Prada (Jump by Madonna) and it has the formidable boss from hell so comparisons between Stylista and The Devil Wears Prada are expected. Stylista is a reality show that followed 11 wannabe fashionistas vying for the position as assistant editor at US Elle magazine. This job comes with other perks such as a plush apartment in Manhattan for a year and a wardrobe allowance from H&M for a year. Now who can argue with that? Stylista aired on CWTV between October 22nd and December 17th in 2008.
The contestants were aged from 19 to 28 and all came from a variety of backgrounds and as you can expect had very different personalities. There were five of them who stood out to me - for example Dyshaun - a wardrobe stylist who clicks his fingers a lot and squeals OMG quite a lot.
Then there was Kate - a former Law student who drama seemed to follow everywhere. She seems to get into arguments with every candidate in particular Megan - a boutique owner who is as calculating as they come. There was Ashlie - fashion buyer who is passionate and not afraid of confrontation. Then there was Johanna - a former Military Analyst who you would view as a fish out of water. Fashion News Director aka boss from hell, Anne Slowey made no impression on me at all; she came across as stiff, cold and very awkward. She lacked the presence of Miranda Priestley/Anna Wintour and the sophistication. She was like a low rent version of Nina Garcia. Also what was up with her accent? Is it British, American, faux Brit or what?
In each show each contestants are given two tasks; an assistants task that consists of something menial like putting together breakfast for Anne, pitching a birthday party for Anne's spoiled bratty niece or selecting an outfit for her to wear for a weekend away. The winner is given the power to choose the team members for all groups. A move that a few of the contestants relish as they have the power to influence the outcome of that episode's task as well as the actual competition. After the groups are decided they are given an editorial task which ranges from styling a photo shoot, working on a trends page, producing an ad campaign and working on a fashion shoot. This is really where the show comes into its own and sheer genius; think Project Catwalk and The Apprentice - candidates getting down and dirty into an exciting and creative project and you get the gist. The groups present their ideas to Anne and her cronies, the weakest group is brought back in to face the music and the worst performing person or in many cases - the scapegoat is sent packing. The show wonderfully demonstrates that it is the combination of a great idea and the execution that makes a successful project.
Stylista has enough action to keep you interested but the constant bickering between the contestants gets tiring and very jarring after a while. We all know that the fashion industry contains unsavoury characters but I feel that the producers went too far with this. No matter how bitchy fashionistas can be to one another the ultimate thing that remains is that they are always professional. My opinion about Stylista is what a great show it is bloody shame about the drama. However, there are some good stuff that came out of the show such as insider blogs from the peeps from Elle mag such as Fashion Bookings Editor, Malina V. Joseph. More interesting are the stories from the contestants, Ashlie shares her Stylista experience with us in her blog along with Kate.
I enjoyed watching the show but what I have gained from the show is the amount of thought and effort that goes into producing those editorial pages; the pondering over the headline, strap lines, images and captions. Not an easy task and who said working on a magazine is all glamour. In case you are interested the person who landed the coveted position was Johanna who worked her ass off to raise her stake in the fashion game. She even went as far as to set up a blog where she could display her writing talents. Check it out here.