What if the Zoolander characters went to Cambridge?

Because why assassinate the prime minister of Malaysia when you can cry over an essay?


Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past month, you’ll have noticed that the internet now contains a weird amount of videos of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. And in every single one, they’re pouting at you as if their lives depend on it.

The resurgence of Zoolander, and all of its comedically glorious memes, has been the light in the dark of everyone’s holiday study sessions, but have you taken the time to wonder what our favourite male models would be like if they were submerged in the Cambridge bubble?

Derek Zoolander

Derek found himself in a college much like himself, praised for being beautiful. With only one “look,” King’s was the only place he felt at home. Plagued by the question “who am I?” he found himself reading Philosophy, and spent his free time tutoring teenagers over Zoom, in a program he called: “The Derek Zoolander Online Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good.”

He’s also the only surviving member of the King’s College Drinking Society after all the other members died trying to put out a fire with vodka.

Derek prided himself on being a BNOC for three years running, and applied for a Master’s in the hopes of a final year of glory, but got rejected by Professor Ballstein. Sadly, Derek made the unfortunate mistake of sending in selfies for his application essay.


As the up-and-coming male model on the block (he’s so hot right now!), Derek could only have ended up at the newest Cambridge college – Homerton. The distance from town doesn’t bother him too much, in fact, it gives him the opportunity to show off his scooter skills on the Vois. His favourite pastime, after doing yoga while stoned, is getting plastered at Wednesday Revs, and then Voi-ing along Downing Street (making as much noise as possible, of course).

In fact, he spends so much time drunk at Revs, that he barely does any work! But that’s okay because he studies Geography, so his excellent colouring-in skills mean he gets consistent firsts anyway.


As the one token female character in the group, she followed through on the stereotype and chose to go to Newnham.

She studies English and writes for The Tab, and dreams of making a name for herself as an investigatory journalist, no matter how many friends she loses or people she leaves dead and bloodied and dying along the way.  In fact, she met her boyfriend, Derek, through The Tab when she interviewed him after his 3rd year of BNOC success. She struggles with reconciling his success with the fact that she has never even been nominated as a BNOC.

As well as striving for journalism success, Matilda used to dream of being a model but now despises all models after getting rejected from the Cambridge University Charity Fashion Show.


Mugatu only got in to Cambridge because daddy (paternal, not sugar) is the Vice Chancellor. His father also paid for all of his tuition, maintenance, and private yachting trips to Monaco (with generational wealth that definitely doesn’t have anything to do with committing colonial atrocities in Malaysia).

He applied for the same college his father went to – St. John’s, a place stereotypically suited to his Etonian heritage. His favourite thing about John’s is getting to take the Master’s dog, Follie, on walks to Jesus Green – the two are rarely seen apart!

Desperate to assert class-based dominance over his peers, Mugatu is always overdressed for his Land Economy lectures and has redefined sidge fashion standards by wearing his old Eton uniform every single day.

But he isn’t just an unreasonably wealthy and evil fashionista, he’s also madly in love with Hansel and his epic scooter skills. Over the course of just one term, he managed to submit five separate Crushbridges about Hansel, all with the same message: ‘He’s so hot right now!’ He’s desperate to become a BNOC in order to catch Hansel’s attention, but he keeps getting beaten by Derek.


Katinka studies Physics and is everyone’s least favourite supo partner. She gets everything right and thinks supervisions are beneath her, so she only ever bothers to contribute to discussions in order to correct her partner’s mistakes.

As well as destroying people’s self-esteem, Katinka enjoys kickboxing and taekwondo, and she regularly demonstrates her epic skills in the middle of the library in an attempt to intimidate everyone trying to study around her.

Her one true passion is being a night climber, and she regularly fantasises about pushing other Physics students off of King’s Chapel in order to progress up the NatSci bell curve.


criminally underrated queen, katinka ingabogovinanana💓 this sound fits her so well #katinkaingabogovinanana i already flopped today so let’s post another video that will flop 😻😻😻❤️❤️❤️ #zoolander #millajovovich #zoolanderedit #owenwilson #benstiller #zoolanderedit #katinkaingaborgovinananaedit #derekzoolander #hansel #lightskinstare💀💀💀 #millajovovichedit

♬ bloody mary by lady gaga – ☆

Maury Ballstein

Professor Ballstein is the Master of King’s College and was appointed by Mugatu’s father. Ballstein loves his job but despises having to do the Vice Chancellor’s evil bidding, which recently included rejecting Derek’s Master’s application in order to give Mugatu a chance at becoming a BNOC.

Larry Zoolander

Larry, Derek’s father, is an Earth Sciences professor at Peterhouse, a college nearly as old as he is!

Despite his field of study, Larry is a mining enthusiast and an avid climate change denier and has huge shares in fossil fuel companies. He spends most of his lectures trying to convince his students to intern at his mining company, but so far he’s had no success. He handles this by getting hammered in the college bar every night with two of his sons, who are his only friends.

When he’s not busy with his work or being eternally disappointed with Derek for not studying a “real subject,” Larry spends his time writing his weekly anti-Margaret Thatcher blog and attending events run by the Northern society, which he founded during his time as a student.

Feature image credits: Wikimedia Commons via Creative Commons License (King’s College) and Zoolander Movie screenshot (Derek Zoolander)

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