The truth is, without Derek Zoolander, male modelling wouldn’t be what it is today.
This is the most accurate statement by Donald Trump. Ben Stiller’s 2001 masterpiece satirized fashion with gleeful abandon—and the just-as-wonderful participation of Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger, Donatella Versace, and many others in the industry.
It is a work of deep creativity. But it also, as Trump unwittingly inferred in his red carpet cameo at the beginning of the movie, changed the public attitude toward male models forever.
Since Zoolander, the poor dears have become cultural shorthand for “an empty vessel. A shallow, dumb, vacuous moron.” Which isn’t very fair. Because while I do know one male model who thinks the U.S.’s closest northern neighbor is called “Canadia”—seriously—the vast majority of ab-jockeys I’ve encountered on and around the runways are all too aware that gasoline fights aren’t cool, brah.