Before actor Ben Stiller played a security guard in Night at the Museum or a conceited gym owner in Dodgeball, he played a really ridiculously good-looking male model in the 2001 comedy Zoolander.
The film follows the aforementioned model, Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller), who feels like his star power is dwindling thanks to the rising popularity of Hansel (Owen Wilson).
After Zoolander announces his retirement, designer Jacobim Mugatu (Will Ferrell) attempts to brainwash the model to assassinate the prime minister of Malaysia, who plans to limit child labor.
Zoolander also stars Ben's real-life wife, Christine Taylor, as his on-screen love interest, Matilda Jeffries. His dad, Jerry Stiller, plays the model's agent, Maury Ballstein.
The movie introduced viewers to the Blue Steel look, along with very tiny cell phones and the power of a fashion walk-off. The star-studded comedy — which featured cameos from David Bowie, Winona Ryder, Lenny Kravitz, Gwen Stefani, Victoria Beckham, and Paris Hilton — celebrates its 20th anniversary on Sept. 28, 2021.
Keep scrolling to see nine of the best quotes from the movie.
Here are 9 of the best 'Zoolander' quotes in honor of the film's 20th anniversary.
1. "Did you ever think there's more to life than being really, really, really ridiculously good-looking?"
Even when Derek feels like he is failing in his modeling career and like he should pursue another venture, his confidence in his looks never wavers. This line comes several scenes after Derek tells Matilda that he knew he wanted to be a model since the second grade, when he discovered that he could "be professionally good-looking" as a job.
2. "Eugoogoolizer. One who speaks at funerals. Or did you think I'd be too stupid to know what a eugoogly was?"
The main reason why Mugatu targets Zoolander for his brainwashing plan is because the model isn't exactly known for his smarts. After his three friends perish in a gasoline explosion, Zoolander has a hard time pronouncing the word "eulogy."
3."Sting would be another person who's a hero. The music he's created over the years, I don't really listen to it, but the fact that he's making it, I respect that. I care desperately about what I do. Do I know what product I'm selling? No. Do I know what I'm doing today? No. But I'm here, and I'm gonna give it my best shot."
During his intro package for his VH1 Fashion Awards nomination, Hansel gets deep about his heroes: Richard Gere and Sting. While he doesn't say why Richard Gere is an inspiration, his comments about Sting speak for themselves.
4. "The original Greek word 'model' means 'misshapen ball of clay,' and I try to think about that every time I go in front of the camera."
Like Hansel, Zoolander is also trying to sound profound and philosophical when he talks about his career at the VH1 award show.
5. J.P. Prewitt: "Male models don't think for themselves"
Zoolander: "That's not true."
J.P. Prewitt: "Yes it is."
This exchange lightens up an otherwise-tense scene, when hand model J.P. Prewitt (David Duchovny) tells Zoolander that powerful figures have long used male models as assassins.
6. "You think you're too cool for school, but I got a newsflash for you, Walter Cronkite. You aren't."
Zoolander delivers this line right before his and Hansel's walk-off on the runway. The clever nature of the burn (Walter Cronkite was an anchorman for the CBS Evening News) is almost out of character for Zoolander.
7. "What is this? A center for ants? How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read if they can't even fit inside the building? I don't want to hear your excuses! The center has to be at least three times bigger than this."
When Mugatu tries to tempt Zoolander to work with him on the Derelicte collection, he shows him a model of what his Center for Kids Who Can't Read Good could look like. Zoolander thinks that the building is a full-size rendering, which is why he mentions the ants.
9. Larry Zoolander: "You're more dead to me than your dead mother. I just thank the lord she didn't live to see her son as a mermaid."
Derek Zoolander: "Mer-man!"
After one day in the coal mine with his dad, Larry (Jon Voight), and his two brothers (Vince Vaughn and Judah Friedlander), Zoolander realizes that he's not cut out for his family's business. He apologizes for his "perfect bone structure" and the fact that his hair looks better when it's not "hidden under a stupid hat with a light on it!"
Larry then expresses his disappointment in his son's career, and he references when the model played a sea creature in a TV advertisement.
Unsurprisingly, Zoolander only seems to take issue with his father calling him a mermaid instead of a merman.
When you're done perusing this list, you can celebrate the 20th anniversary of Zoolander with an orange mocha frappuccino.