The male model: How did we get to Zoolander?

The male model: How did we get to Zoolander?
(From left to right) Actors Owen Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Will Ferrell, and Ben Stiller attend the "Zoolander 2" World Premiere at Alice Tully Hall on February 9, 2016 in New York City.

From Funny Face via Absolutely Fabulous to The Devil Wears Prada, the fashion world has long provided prime fodder for parody. But nothing, it seems, is more entertaining than the mere concept of the male model. Paramount Pictures, the powerhouse behind the long-awaited sequel to cult comedy Zoolander, which opens in cinemas around the world on 12 February, is banking on it, following a steroid-injected promotional push that began even before a single scene had been filmed.

The film's lead characters Derek Zoolander (who describes himself, humbly, on his Instagram profile as "#1 MALE MODEL IN THE WORLD") and Hansel, as played by Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, were the talk of le tout Paris when they crashed the fashion capital's Valentino show in March 2015, not to mention the Interweb: the stunt swiftly went viral, garnering more than 100,000 comments on Instagram in an hour.

More recently, Stiller has landed four actual fashion magazine covers, both in role (giving his best Blue Steel) and as himself: US Vogue (February 2016) posing alongside female lead Penelope Cruz, UK Esquire (March 2016), L'Uomo Vogue (January 2016) and the 35th issue of V Man.

Fictional though he may be, Zoolander is the first male model to land a prestigious spot on the cover of US Vogue. Indeed, only six men have ever appeared there in the magazine's 124-year history, and all alongside women: From Richard Gere with then-wife Cindy Crawford in 1992 to Kanye West nuzzling Kim Kardashian, none have been models, per se.

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