18 Things to Know About Jewish Artist Anna Marie Tendler

She is a photographer, writer and maker of Victorian lampshades!

Many are probably most familiar with Anna Marie Tendler as the ex-wife of comedian John Mulaney. But she is so much more than that. She’s a multimedia artist, a writer, a complex Jewish woman and she deserves to be recognized for her achievements.

So, here are 18 things to know about Anna Marie Tendler.

1. She was born on June 9, 1985 in Connecticut to a Jewish family.

2. She’s a Gemini.

3. Please enjoy her first selfie, circa 1999.

4. Anna has described her education “roundabout.”

“I went to Vidal Sassoon and the Makeup Designory pretty much out of high school. I did one year at Parsons School of Design, studying photography, but it wasn’t for me and I dropped out. I was working as a hairstylist and makeup artist for a while, and then in my mid-20s I decided I wanted to go back and get my bachelor’s degree, just because I thought I might want to get my master’s one day,” Anna told Architectural Digest in 2018. “I finished my degree at The New School with a basic writing and psychology degree. This fall, I’m starting graduate school [to get a] master of arts in costume studies at NYU.”

5. Her master’s thesis is titled “The Lip Filler Phenomenon: Modern Medicine, Kylie Jenner, and Post-Feminist Female Sexuality.”

“Anna’s thesis explores the recent popularity of large, full lips through the use of dermal lip filler, highlighting how the popularity of this beauty trend became rooted in the personal narrative of Kylie Jenner and the broader cultural conversations around her aesthetic surgery,” NYU Costume Studies posted on Instagram.

6. Anna had a career as a make-up artist and hair stylist! She started out posting tutorials on Tumblr and then on YouTube. She also did hair and make-up for John Mulaney’s stand-up specials and his Broadway show “Oh, Hello.

7. She first became famous through her boyfriend and then husband John Mulaney’s stand-up, where he often referenced her Jewishness.

Bonus: In this clip he calls Anna a “dynamite, five-foot, Jewish bitch.

8. John and Anna were married in July 2014. They later separated in 2021 and divorced in 2022 to much public scrutiny. (Nearly at the same time, Mulaney announced he was dating actress Olivia Munn, who was also pregnant.)

“Everything that has transpired has been totally shocking and I think surreal,” Tendler told Harper’s Bazaar in 2022. “In a way, I feel like, well, it can only go up from here, because I reached the depth of where I could go.”

9. She has shared publicly about the mental health crisis she faced during the end of her marriage, as well as her decision to freeze her eggs.

10. She debuted her first photo series “Rooms in the First House” in 2021. The series features mostly self-portraits and photos in Tendler’s home and has themes of astrology, grief and womanhood.

11. You can listen to her talk about it more here:

12. Her aesthetic is “informed by a Victorian haunting.”

“When I was young, l loved ‘The Secret Garden’ and these sort of haunted spaces, and these old like abandoned castles — they felt very romantic to me, or like places I wanted to live in. I wanted to live in a haunted attic or something, or an old Victorian house,” Tendler told Observer.

13. She is also a textile artist and makes Victorian lampshades.

“I watched a DVD of a VHS by a woman named Mary Maxwell, who has no idea who I am, though we’ve spoken on the phone a couple of times because I’ve ordered from her store,” Anna told Architectural Digest, explaining how she learned to make them. “She made the DVD in 1992, and it walks you through the basics. I watched one, I made a practice lampshade, and then I made one for real. I’ve always been good with my hands, I’ve always been crafty — although I feel that “arts and crafts” doesn’t really describe the process very well — so it was something I picked up really quickly. I threw my first one in the trash, and then I was off.”

14. Anna’s beloved French bulldog Petunia became famous through John Mulaney’s stand-up. In April 2023, Petunia passed away. Anna built this altar for her:

“Petunia’s life only lasted as long as it did because I was in an incredibly privileged financial situation. Let this be a disclaimer to any person who is lured to Frenchies by their expressive faces and silly personalities: if you are considering getting one, don’t. They are a breed that persists only through human medical intervention, and ethically, that is not a type of dog that should exist,” Anna wrote in an essay for Elle a few months later. She added, “Petunia was a lemon, but she was my lemon, and I loved her unconditionally.”

15. Anna later got a tattoo in Petunia’s honor:

16. She took these incredible photos of Jewish musician Lola Kirke:

17. She might be dating a hot chef?!

18. She has a memoir coming in August 2024 titled “Men Have Called Her Crazy.”

“I have been writing this book for two years. More accurately though I have been writing it for close to four decades. I have never been more proud of any work,” Anna wrote in the Instagram post announcing the book. “It is a story about mental health; about being a woman; about family. And finally, about the endless source of my heartbreak and rage — men.”

Evelyn Frick

Evelyn Frick (she/they) is a writer and associate editor at Hey Alma. She graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. In her spare time, she's a comedian and contributor for Reductress and The Onion.

Read More