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Canva, Anna Marie Tendler via TikTok
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Anna Marie Tendler Won TikTok In The Divorce

If there’s one thing that resonates with Gen Z, it’s heartbreak. From Olivia Rodrigo to Taylor Swift, our generation is obsessed with sad and emotional storytelling. So it really isn’t a surprise that our newest obsession is Anna Marie Tendler, who recently divorced John Mulaney and is now letting us into her life through her artistic photography. The two announced their separation in May of 2021, after six years of marriage. “I am heartbroken that John has decided to end our marriage. I wish him support and success as he continues his recovery,” Anna shared, referencing John’s struggle with alcohol and drug abuse. I, too, wish him all the best in his recovery – we all found ourselves immersed in MulaneyTok at some point in the past – but even if it’s not my place to, I’m siding with her in the divorce. There’s been speculation that John cheated on Anna, and he’s since entered a relationship with Olivia Munn – he’s even expecting his first child with her – so I’m respectfully going to obsess over Anna like she just dropped the next big heartbreak ballad. 

Even though most of Gen Z has probably never experienced a divorce, we know a thing or two about rejection — which is probably the reason why we’re also so obsessed with artists like Billie Eilish to Phoebe Bridgers. Anna Marie Tendler takes those same feelings that musicians are so good at eliciting through their music and lyrics and multiplies them tenfold through her visionary photographs and heart-wrenching captions, and TikTok is not having it is totally on board. So many are finding comfort in her raw honesty, relating to the words she writes and the emotions she portrays in her photos, and connecting it all to our own experiences.

Anna’s talents go far beyond the surface of her newfound Instagram aesthetic, though. She’s a multidisciplinary artist with experience as a makeup artist, hair stylist, and in textile crafts – she creates handmade lampshades — in addition to her photography, all of which combine in the elaborate photos she’s been showcasing. Every little detail — from her outfit to the setting to the props to the pose — is taken into consideration. Take Dinner in March,” a photo from her Rooms in the First House” series, for example. It was one of the first photos she posted after the divorce was announced, and she appears alone at a table set for two. The image is dark, not even the candlelight helping to make the setup seem romantic, and the empty chair – probably referencing the absence of a loved one – in front of her draws your eye right to what’s missing. While many can’t help but speculate the photo – and the series – is about the divorce, she describes it as “a portrait project exploring the multitudinous versions of self confined within one body.” 

On TikTok, @rosieposieolie brought up the resemblance of “The Moost Happi Anno 2021” to a portrait of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII the Queen of England from 1533 to 1536. TikToker @but_is_it_art pointed out that when Boleyn was unable to give her husband a male heir he remarried someone else that he believed would be able to give him a son. The resemblance sent TikTokers down a rabbit hole; could this be related to the demise of Anna’s relationship with John in any way? We’ll never know, and truthfully it’s none of our business anyway. But Anna’s ability to create art that subtly (or not so?) references historical figures to showcase her emotions is what Gen Z is proving themselves to be all about. We love sad art, apparently. 

Other than bringing a visual to sad girl fall, Anna just knows what the people want. A possible hookup with Timothée Chalamet, Gen Z’s heartthrob? I’m living vicariously through her. Using tarot cards to send clues like she’s Taylor Swift? I have no choice but to stan. Referencing Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Brutal’? She’s not even a little bit wrong. Her adorable French bulldog, Petunia? I hope she got her in the divorce like she got me and the rest of TikTok! Not only has she drawn us all in with the vulnerability she shares through her art, she’s proven that you don’t need a heartbreak ballad to hit us where it hurts – any form will do.

Carolina Grassmann is an Editorial Intern at HerCampus.com, and the Editor-In-Chief and Events Director of Her Campus Cásper Líbero. She's majoring in journalism, and has been involved with HC since her first year of college, as a writer and reporter. When she's not writing, she's most likely listening to Taylor Swift's songs over and over again.
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