Simu Liu says channeling 'Zoolander' is how he gets through photoshoots

'I used to be a stock photo model so this is a bit of a glow-up for me personally.'
December 9, 2021 4:39 p.m. EST
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Kim’s Convenience alum, Marvel superhero, and Toronto’s own Simu Liu has had a banner year. Just recently, he's manifested the biggest blockbuster hit of the pandemic, had a wildly-successful turn as SNL guest host, rubbed elbows with Kim Kardashian at the Met Gala, and just this week, he won a pair of People’s Choice Awards, including Action Movie star of 2021. 

It’s hard to believe he began his career as a stock photo model (started from Shutterstock, now we here), so last week, he exclusively spoke with Etalk on the set of a photo shoot for outerwear line Nobis to chat about all his accomplishments and admitted how much he was relying on a certain Ben Stiller movie to do his thing as a male model. 

"Zoolander was one of my favourite movies growing up and we used to make fun of 'Blue Steel' and it's just so interesting how much now I have to channel that Blue Steel," Simu explained. "Most people watch Zoolander ironically, but I was just like, 'That guy gets it. That guy knows what's going on.'" 

“You know, I used to be a stock photo model so this is a bit of a glow-up for me personally! I feel like it's like a full-circle moment,” he said, adding he has a deep love for Nobis, an Asian-Canadian-owned fashion label.

While big, new things are happening to Liu every day, one thing is constant—the Toronto Raptors. You might notice that Simu's voice is sounding a little rough. Turns out, it’s because the night before, he was cheering his heart out for the Raptors at Scotiabank Arena.

“I was at a Raptors game and now I'm paying the price for it” he joked. “But you know what? No regrets, cause you always gotta support the Raps. We The North!”

Of course, it’s easy to understand how his shift from local Toronto actor to international movie star has changed his career trajectory (“I hit so many, kind of, career milestones and personal goals that I thought I would hit like 10 years from now!”). Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings may have earned a whopping $432 million at the box office but Simu says it’s the small, off-camera moments where he’s really feeling the shift.

Like, NBD, but he actually hung out with Kim Kardashian at the Met Gala. Okay, maybe he just accidentally touched her arm, but still.

“I didn't really strike up a conversation with her,” he admitted. “I just don't didn't really know how to engage her. I don’t really know how to connect with someone like Kim Kardashian, like, ‘Hey do you like travel?’”

Why yes. Yes, she does.

Despite the glitz and glamour, Simu says staying grounded is a top priority for keeping some normalcy in life.

“It's just so important to keep my friends with me,” he said. “It's so important to keep my family along for the ride.”

“You got to just keep the things that keep you human and keep you grounded close as well.”


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