Dr. Leopardskin: What is it like working for Cruella De Vil?
Lillian: You know, I have this re-occurring nightmare where I am in her office and she keeps telling me to get Harper’s Bazaar on the phone, and I look down and my hands have been replaced by mink fur muffs. So, I can’t get Harper’s Bazaar on the phone.
She starts yelling, “GET HARPER’S BAZAAR ON THE PHONE!!!” I tell her I can’t, and she clubs a baby seal. She yells again. I tell her my hands are muffs, and she clubs another baby seal. This goes on until a pile of baby seals starts to form. She manic laughs as she clubs more baby seals. I still can’t get Harper’s Bazaar on phone, and then, Gene Kelly rises out of the dead baby seal mountain, and he’s just about to do his Singin’ in the Rain routine when I wake up in a cold sweat.
Ms. De Vil terrifies me. She’s pretty much ruined Gene Kelly for me. I can’t look at a baby seal without fainting. You know, she made Diana Vreeland cry once.
Yes, the Diana Vreeland of Vogue, the former reigning queen of fashion.
Well, we were at a meeting for Ms. De Vil’s feature in the magazine, and Diana told Ms. De Vil that her armadillo berets (from three seasons ago, mind you) were atrocious and that she wasn’t going to use them in her magazine, ever.
Ms. De Vil stood up, practically cheek to cheek with Diana, and told her that her face was atrocious, so atrocious that it would make a fabulous beret. Diana’s face melted! Can you believe it?! Oh! And one time, she made the Smithsonian clone the wooly mammoth so that she could turn it into a coat with a matching hat and gloves.
She’s such a horrible person. She hates puppies. She treats me like crap, and on every third Wednesday, she drinks the blood of virgins. I know this because I have to warm it up to 97.8 degrees and add half a teaspoon of vanilla grown by shamans in Madagascar because she likes the sweet/irony combo. The stuff has to be served to her in a hand-blown crystal chalice from Northern France, or else she’ll throw it in my face.
It doesn’t taste half bad, actually.
Dr. Leopardskin: Your boss sounds like a very toxic person, Lillian. I think you should consider finding a job that is more suitable for a healthy psyche.
Lillian: (looks appalled) Are you kidding me?! Cruella De Vil is the most fabulous, most powerful woman on the planet! I want to be just like her!
-Lillian Branski, assistant to Cruella De Vil, London, UK.
101 Dalmatians (1961)