In the battle of the modern cinematic villainesses, few are more malicious, irritable or downright devilish than Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada, as portrayed by Meryl Streep, and Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians, as portrayed by Glenn Close. Though de Vil and Priestly would be fairly evenly matched in a faceoff of evil masterminds, Priestly would definitely take home the award for awfulness.
In true power-hungry villainess style, both de Vil and Priestly are the bosses of their spheres of the fashion world at House of de Vil and Runway Magazine respectively. Though de Vil did earn some notoriety in London as the sole model and designer of her fashion line, let’s be real: Priestly controls the greater empire. Runway reaches millions of people in cities throughout the world.
You would think that being the CEO of your own fashion line would require an actual sense of fashion, but de Vil proves this assumption incorrect, sporting skunk hair and a fire engine red fur coat in public. While de Vil wafts around in her often-bedazzled fur monstrosities, Priestly struts her stuff in stilettos, Hermès scarves and appropriately executive skirts.
An essential trait separating the career villainesses from the casually evil is their ability to successfully follow through on some seriously underhanded deeds. While de Vil begins with the unspeakably evil master plan of brutally slaughtering dozens of cuddly Dalmatian puppies to make a horrendously ugly coat, her execution of the plan is sloppy and riddled with rookie mistakes. Priestly, on the other hand, successfully crushes the souls, hearts and aspirations of her employees on a daily basis; all while paying someone to care for her two mischievous children.
A villain’s notoriety is often determined by the circumstances of their demise; the problem is that Priestly has yet to be foiled. While de Vil ends her cinematic debut riding off in the back of a cop car covered in pig feces and hay, Priestly glides away from her jilted secretary in the back of her Parisian limousine towards more malicious dealings in the world of fashion. Who wore their demise better? Obviously not the person covered in poop.
Though both de Vil and Priestly dedicated their lives to fashion and destroying lives, it is clear that Priestly wins the title of evil queen of the big screen.