Derek Zoolander’s life-changing TIME cover story is as fictional as he is, but that doesn’t mean plenty of other real models have appeared inside the red border.
Cover stories about fashion designers have been a staple since the magazine’s first years—here’s Elsa Schiaparelli in 1934. But it wasn’t until the late 1940s that Lisa Fonssagrives, who TIME identified as “the highest-paid, highest-praised high-fashion model in the business, considered by many of her colleagues the greatest fashion model of all time,” made cover-worthy news for wearing clothes rather than creating them. And, unlike in Zoolander, the models who made the cover were not being mocked but rather acknowledged as driving forces behind big businesses, global trends and even popular interest in science.
As Zoolander 2 heads to theaters on Friday, here’s a look back at some of the TIME U.S. covers on which that fictional plot line might have been, well, modeled.