John Mulaney’s Wife Annamarie Tendler Shares What Really Scared Her in Her 20s

At first glance, Annemarie Tendler appears to have it all. She has a successful textile business and is married to comedian John Mulaney. But she shared with Nylon her path to career success wasn’t always linear, especially in an environment that stresses making lifelong career decisions while still in your 20s.

Tendler did a deep dive with Nylon about the career path she chose. She also revealed a turning point in her career that allowed her to work with her husband.

John Mulaney and Annamarie Tendler |Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

She asserts that working in a creative space has always been her calling. But like many people starting on their career path, the direction hasn’t always been so clearcut. She adds that living in a society where the demands are intense to “chose your life’s work immediately” was a little more than just daunting too.

She hustled like most young people early in her career

Career success isn’t always instant, especially when you are launching your talents in a creative field. Tendler shared insights about her early career days in the beauty and makeup industry.

“There were plenty of times where I was doing makeup and I was taking jobs that I didn’t really want to do because I had to make money,” she told Nylon. “There’s also that aspect of it, and it’s an incredibly real thing that you have to make money.”

She also skillfully leveraged social media to further her brand. “I approached my Tumblr wanting to make the tutorials photo-based. In everything that I’ve ever done, I’ve had to carve out my niche. Doing the Tumblr photo tutorials was my way of carving out my niche [in beauty],” she said. Her Tumblr blog ultimately amassed a staggering 350,000 followers.

She almost turned in her brushes until…

She was ready to pivot to another medium in 2016 when Oh Hello needed her talents. Her husband and comedian Nick Kroll developed a critically acclaimed Broadway show about two hilariously crotchety old men. And they were in need of a talented makeup artist to create their transformation.

Working on the show envigorated Tendler and reminded her why she loved her craft. “It was hands down the most rewarding thing that I did in makeup in my entire makeup career,” she told Nylon.

In fact, “It prolonged my career in makeup for an extra year and a half. We did 140 shows just on Broadway, that doesn’t include the tour and off-Broadway. I went from writing books, which was very solitary, to working on Broadway on something really collaborative, and that was so fun.”

She shared what scared her most during her career journey

Today Tendler owns Silk Parlor, a homemade Victorian lampshade and textile company. But she emphasizes how societal’s demands to know your life’s work immediately after graduating college was pretty scary.

“I think that we’re expected to feel like we have things figured out at a really young age,” she shared with Nylon. “That has not been my life experience at all.” Indeed, she adds she only found her true calling in her 30s.

“I think that can be really scary, and was really scary for me when I was going through my 20s. I was like, ‘Why haven’t I figured out what my calling is?’ ” she added. “I felt like so many of my friends had an idea of what they wanted to do, and they did it. I think that some people are just not like that, and they’ll continue to reinvent what they do and do different things.”