You gotta love a guy — a bemuscled mensch of a guy — who’ll agree to be transformed into the haute couture model of the moment, a delicate slip of a girl, just hours after being introduced to six strangers. Actually, the assembled crew (photographer, stylist, groomer, various assistants, and editors) were a little concerned about Ben Stiller’s ability to model at all, since the first thing out of his mouth was, ”I can be a little stiff in front of the camera.” Turns out Stiller is one of those unassuming types whose genius sneaks up on you. Minutes after he’s facing the camera, he’s frontin’ gobs of attitude and looking a lot more like the actor who effortlessly turns himself into hilarious, dead-on parodies of Bono, Tom Cruise, and Daniel Day-Lewis, among others, on his eponymously titled Fox TV show.
Although the future of The Ben Stiller Show is dubious, thanks to lame programming (what’s up with that?), the 27-year-old son of comedy team Stiller and Meara is discussing directing and producing deals with several studios, which ought to console him. But even if that doesn’t pan out, surely he could parlay his newfound modeling talents into a career in fashion. Stiller laughs. ”On the show we satirize pop culture, so it seems like I have very eclectic taste — like I have taste, period. But actually my personal style is your basic jeans and T-shirts. I like to dress up and wear a suit, but I also tend to wear T-shirts even then, and I don’t shave — the old Miami Vice look. So there is some danger of my being marked as an ’80s throwback.” No need to worry. Style being the ephemeral thing it is, the ’80s will be back before you know it.