Teenage Dream: Warren Elgort

Teenage Dream: Warren Elgort

Get to know Warren Elgort, the multi-hyphenate and brother of Ansel who's making an impact behind the camera.

Get to know Warren Elgort, the multi-hyphenate and brother of Ansel who's making an impact behind the camera.

Photography: Lenne Chai

Styling: Scott Shapiro

Text: MATHIAS ROSENZWEIG

Some of Warren Elgort’s family members (namely, his younger brother Ansel) are known for their work in front of the camera, but instead, he took the behind-the-scenes route. After earning a Bachelors in Arts for writing, Elgort transitioned into the production world, founding his own self-titled company in 2015. He’s been making his name as a director and photographer ever since, shooting short films for publications like Town & Country and designers such as Oscar de la Renta. He’s ventured into the music world as well, directing Ansel’s vivid video for “Thief”, and with his background, there’s no telling where he can go next.

How did you spend your summers as a teen? 

I spent summers fishing, working on my tennis game, and hanging with my girlfriend at the time who was also a serious tennis player.

When you were a teen, what did dream about becoming when you grew up?

I dreamt about becoming a professional tennis player until I reached about 17, at which point I knew I wanted to direct movies.

What type of music were you listening to as a teen? 

I lived through '90s hip-hop in NYC so that's what I was listening to a good bit of the time when I had the choice. My parents also introduced me to some beautiful old school vibes, too many to name but here are some—The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Stan Getz—you name it! I also played the guitar in the school jazz band in middle school and high school so it helped to have a range of musical interests.

Did you have good taste in fashion during your teenage years? 

I had good sensibility, and since my dad used me as a subject on a regular basis growing up, a lot of what I was wearing was given to me straight from the shoot. Otherwise I would wear athletic clothes and my John Starks Knicks jersey.

Is youth important? If so, how? 

Of course youth is important. I would say that the landscape of your childhood informs who you become as a human being. Those experiences from a young age are your roots. I hit the jackpot by having parents who made a huge effort to make sure I had a beautiful childhood. I'm also lucky to have had siblings because they were and always will be my closest friends, and you learn a lot from interacting with them on a such a regular basis.

What's your impression of Coney Island? 

I don't frequent Coney Island very often. When I think of it, old photos of roller coasters come to mind. I just hope those coasters have been serviced since the invention of color photography! 

What's one piece of advice you wish you could tell your younger self?

I grew up watching Western films, so naturally, I tried to channel the strong silent types I saw in those movies. But I think that made it harder for me to connect with people. So I would probably tell my younger self to be more willing to let loose and make a fool of myself.

If you could spend your summer anywhere/doing anything, where would you be and what would you do? 

If anything was possible for a summer I would like to spend it going back in time like Owen Wilson does in Midnight In Paris, so that I could meet my heroes F Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway. Fun fact: Zelda is actually my great great aunt on my mother's side.

Did you like Disney as a kid?

My mom's sister used to take me and my cousins to Disney every year, and to tell you the truth, she still takes us all from time to time. We still love it, especially Splash Mountain, the Rocking Rollercoaster and Kali River Rapids!

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