blue steel

(GIF: Giphy)

For 15 long years, we’ve been waiting for the answer to one question that defined a generation: “But why male models?” And while the real answer might not be available to us just yet, we’re getting closer. One can only hope that Zoolander 2 will be the key to it all. After all, if it’s a big enough to land Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) the Vogue cover he’s been waiting for, then it has to be big, right? 

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Ever since Zoolander and Hansel (Owen Wilson) walked in Valentino’s Paris Fashion Week show last year, we’ve had a feeling that 2016 would be the year of Zoolander (watch out, Kendall Jenner). This Vogue cover shoot only proves what we already knew to be true.

In all seriousness, though, the silliness of Ben Stiller and Zoolander 2 co-star Penelope Cruz‘s photo shoot is what makes it so fabulous. While Cruz seems to be modeling as herself, Stiller doesn’t break character once, and the cover is just evidence of all of the really, really, ridiculously good-looking-ness to come:


Shot by photography legend Annie Leibovitz, Stiller and Cruz recreate some of the most insane (and, perhaps as a result, iconic) photo shoots in Alexander WangRalph LaurenProenza SchoulerDolce & Gabbana, and more. In the accompanying interview, Stiller reflected on what it was like to write about an industry, saying that, for the most part, the writers of the movie were on their own, both in the fashion and film studio worlds. Until Zoolander, no one had really taken a humorous look at the emotionally unattached, bored, and narcissistic world of fashion. The resulting movie resonated with well-known designers like Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs, both of whom have had a role in the franchise in one or another. 

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Of course one of the photos would should Zoolander alongside Gigi HadidJourdann Dunn, and Joan Smalls. Just, of course. I mean, he is kind of a big deal in the modeling world, in case you didn’t know.

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But perhaps my favorite thing about this whole shoot is that it’s clear that Blue Steel lives. We got a small insight into its origin in Stiller’s Vogue interview:

“That look came out of me in the mirror at home, when I brush my hair or whatever. I guess with the selfie culture, it’s just a natural extension. Did I have any idea that it would live on? No.”

Did Ben Stiller just admit that Zoolander invented selfie culture? Probably. I mean, this is the perfect face:

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Honestly, it’s just fun to see a movie that gained such a rabid cult following after its release succeed to a degree in the industry it so wonderfully made fun of. It also just goes to show that a good old-fashioned walk-off (though, sadly, one that’s no longer to be led by David Bowie) is enough to teach someone how to slay a Vogue shoot. May this be a lesson to us all: even if you have to give yourself a wedgie on the runway, it might all be worth it in the end.

Oh, and when someone says that the files are in the computer, don’t break the computer.

Click here to see the entire photo shoot!

(Photos: Annie Leibovitz for Vogue)