Z is for Zoolander and Zoe Washburne



I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is.

What to say about Derek Zoolander? In the 2001 film of the same name we were introduced to a comedy take on the modeling industry, with the twist of being about men rather than women. Derek is the king of male models. However he is losing everything, too stupid to be anything other than be a male model and being outshone by his fiercest rival, Hansel. Even Blue Steel, his signature expression, cannot save him.

He is picked up by Magatu, an evil designer, who brainwashes Zoolander to kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia, to prevent him pushing for world wide reforms in child labour laws, which would push up the cost of producing clothing.

Derek is a stupid man, who doesn’t know what’s happening to him or why, but as he fights to protect himself and the industry he loves, he learns about the damage that the fashion media can do, how to get over a grudge and that he is capable of the depth required to create a center for children and to fall in love. In short he grows up. Somehow though I think that might all have gone away for Zoolander 2 next year.


[after breaking into a practically empty bank safe]
At last, we can retire and give up this life of crime.

For my final character, I’ve chosen Zoe Washburne from ‘Firefly’ and ‘Serenity’. Portrayed by Gina Torres, Zoe is Captain Malcolm Reynolds’ second in command on the spaceship Serenity. A no-nonsense woman that operated almost like a machine at times, Zoe was a soldier, a weapon. Probably the crew’s toughest member, she is fearless and would die or kill for Mal and her husband, Hoban ‘Wash’ Washburne.

Lethal with a gun – particularly her mare’s leg – as well as her wit, Zoe is as reliable a shot as she is with a deadpan comment. Essentially Zoe is Mal’s conscience. She is loyal and follows his orders most of the time, but when she disagrees with him, she usually has a very good reason for it, like if Mal has lost his way or is in over his head.

She is Wash’s protector as well as his wife, she is his ‘warrior woman’ and he doesn’t stand in her way at being that. Their relationship is real and refreshing, they are shown to be completely in love and devoted to each other, they don’t fit the stereotypical husband and wife roles, but they still fight and fall out on occasion.

Zoe Washburne is, to use the character own words, a ‘big damn hero’, a warrior who still manages to be a woman without being shoved into stereotypes and pigeon holes.


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