I analyze my life in the strangest of ways, making me completely unaware as to how others may perceive me. What movies, music, or even fashion would others associate with my character? My interests are the most eclectic cluster of madness, but that’s what makes me who I am. Given the wide variety of inspirations and interests in my life, I think it’s time to pay homage to one of the greatest film of all time. One that fits my personality better than any other film on the planet, and one that makes me understand more about my own life. Although there are many films out there in which I love, none of them can compare to the pure perfection I find in the movie Zoolander.
Zoolander is a 2001 film starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, and Christine Taylor. Main character, Derek Zoolander (Stiller), is the world’s top male fashion model, famous for his signature look “Blue Steel”. However, his status is quickly downgraded when newcomer and arch nemesis, Hansel (Wilson), takes over the modeling scene, beating Zoolander for the prestigious Male Model of the Year Award. The shame of losing the award leads him to announce his retirement while at the funeral of his three best friends who died tragically in a “freak gasoline fight accident”. Fashion Mogul and villain of the movie, Mugatu (Ferrell), sees Zoolander’s naivety and vulnerability as an evil opportunity. Mugatu convinces Zoolander to walk the runway for his new fashion line “Derelicte”, with the plan of brainwashing him into killing the Prime Minister of Malaysia during the show. Weeks before the show, Zoolander is taken to Mugatu’s headquarters and conditioned to perform the assassination through hypnosis, with the song “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood being the trigger. With the help of his nemesis turned friend Hansel and reporter Matilda (Taylor), Zoolander must prevent this disastrous act from happening on the catwalk before it’s too late.
Now that we’re all on the same page, let me explain to you the history of my life in correlation to Zoolander. I was around eleven the first time I saw the film. I was intrigued by the commercials promoting it, so I asked my mom if she would rent it for me. A few days later, she brought home the VHS and I was more excited than ever to finally watch the film and hoped that it lived up to my expectations. At the time, I had a small TV in my room, equipped with a build-in VHS player. I had ventured off to my room later that evening, put the tape in, and began to watch the film I had been anxious to see.
When it was over, my mind was blown. Since I was only eleven, I’m not sure I even understood everything about the movie or why I liked it so much. I just knew that I loved it, and it was as if everything I had seen up until that moment didn’t matter. For the next few weeks, I watched nothing but Zoolander. My parents still don’t know about this, but while everyone else in the house was asleep, I would sit up in my bed and watch it over and over until the early hours of the morning and my young brain was completely fried by the sassiness of Derek Zoolander.“I can’t go to sleep until I see the walk-off one more time!” I was hypnotized. If I had to choose a moment in my life in which I made the crossover into the land of crazy, the great Zoolander phase of 2002 would be it. The late fees must’ve been epic by the time my mom had returned the tape (and I’m pretty sure it was broken from the number of times I repeatedly watched and rewound it). Soon after, she bought me my own copy because I was miserable without it.
I was completely oblivious to it at the time, but Zoolander possessed everything I would grow to love later in life; really really ridiculously good looking men with pale skin and dark hair, David Bowie, trashy fashion inspired by crack whores, and dry humor (the only kind I understand). There’s also wide speculation that Will Ferrell’s character was based off of fashion designer John Galliano (who is the official owner of my fashion soul). It catered to my future interests, and perhaps that’s why I loved right away. The film contained everything I loved before I fully understood what I loved, and watching it was almost like a subconscious glimpse into the future of where I would one day harbor happiness.
Over ten years later and Zoolander continues to be one of the only aspects of life that has the power to make me forget about everything else and just enjoy the moment-- something I have a really hard time doing. Humor is one of the most important aspects of life, and it takes an awful lot for me to genuinely be amused. The humor in Zoolander is intricately woven within the sassiness of fashion, which is the only kind of comedy I truly connect with. My bizarre obsession with this film may seem a bit strange, but I’m no stranger strange. It seems to be a theme throughout my odd little life, and I am eternally grateful for the existence of this more than perfect movie. If you haven't seen it, please do so. Watch it multiple times, until you're at the same level of crazy as me, and I'll be more than happy to gush about it with you.
“Let me show you Derelicte. It is a fashion, a way of life inspired by the very homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique.”