Elinor Vanderburg

Elinor Vanderburg On Water Fairies, Lineages Of Women And Life After ‘I do’


Who: Elinor Vanderburg, Agent at Illustration Division, Auteur, Inventor of Adventure


Why She's Foxy: A former flight attendant turned illustration agent, she’s a diehard creative conduit of all things, dreaming up the next big Nobel Prize-winning play and bringing visions of ink to life.


On Her Childhood: “Growing up, I was surrounded by four generations of women. four generations. My great grandma, my grandma, my mom, my aunt, my big sister. I come from a lineage of women taking care of women taking care of women. My great grandma was a hundred and six when she passed away. My mother is a judge on the DC Court of Appeals, and wrote the opinion that cemented the legalization of gay marriage in the district.​When I was a kid I loved inventing stories; I was the ringleader of adventure hour and assigned all my friends as the characters.”


On Becoming An Illustration Agent:  “I’ve done everything. I assisted the artistic director at a gallery. I worked as a Delta flight attendant for a year. I saw parts of the world I would have never seen. But I don’t think that humans are meant to spend forty hours a week at forty thousand feet in the air. We need water and soil and feet on the earth — not to be breathing recycled air every two minutes. My body aged a year the first six months on the job. I worked in the wardrobe department of “Adult Swim”  and The Onion News Network. I’ve worked at a clothing store. I taught in the French and Italian program at a preschool. I was also a wand salesmen, a fashion tour guide, have exhibited as a performance artist, and am currently into production for doing voiceover for an animated series about fighting crime and water fairies who save the world. Recently I was working at a sales and representation firm at Long Island City as the showroom coordinator, and we were opening up a pop-up in Macy’s, and my mentor mentioned that there was a job opening at Illustration Division. I love illustrations because any thought or any whim can come to life through illustrations. Something new always presents itself.”


On Love + Marriage: “I met Drew in playwriting class at NYU. He was the kid in the class that was all, ‘I am a great writer and I want to share that with the world.’ I was so skeptical. Then he brought in writing samples and he was so good and I got competitive and was determined to write a better play than him. We dated for a wild two years, had a big breakup, then dated again. One day we were setting up for annual Thanksgiving party in Bed Stuy — we always hold a huge Friendsgiving (called Softsgiving) — and it had been a stressful day. Our windows had just been replaced. I hadn’t showered in three days.  And we were having a fight and at some point he said, ‘I was going to propose to you in front of the party in front of all our friends but last time I asked if you would say yes if I proposed, you told me no.  So I'm not going to ask you at the party anymore.'  I was like, shit.  So we were sitting there in silence and then he said, ‘Will you marry me?’ We laughed and cried and didn’t tell anyone for two days. We got married on the beach next to the Steel Pier, an amusement park in Atlantic City on the Summer Solstice. The party favors were unlimited ride tickets.”


On Life After ‘I do’: “We save so much time getting to the heart of the matter being married. There’s no more time to waste time. If something is great or bad or annoying, you get right there. It’s also just fun. Sometimes I can’t believe that we managed to pull off such an awesome situation. We love having meetings and writing sessions about the scripts we’re collaborating on, working in our house over an extended brunch-to-dinner with our cats. We’re also working on a play called The Human Incubator. It’s a sci-fi musical about human reproductive rights.”


On Her Dream Day: “I would wake up in a villa with an aviary overlooking the Adriatic Sea and have all my writing and drawing materials in front of me and spend the day working, drinking gin and tonics, listening to Ke$ha and eating gummi bears and s’mores.”


Fave love play:Big Love by Charles Mee​.”


Fave love book:Tale Of Two Cities, because it touches upon so many different types of love: self love, fraternal love, romantic love, love for one’s country.”


Fave love song:Everlong by The Foo Fighters — it's energized, physical, temporal, charged, joyous, hopeful, aware.”


Fave love movie: “I love The Wedding Singer. It’s the right amount of heart and cheesy and it is absolutely sincere."


Fantasy wedding: “Josephine Baker’s wedding to herself. I would bring Drew as my date, wear a gown made out of flowers and spend the after party standing in the middle of the dance floor while everyone danced on my dress.”


Pics by Mikey Neff

Wedding photos by Renata Fuller