In the film Zoolander, David Duchovny’s character (J.P. Prewitt, the world’s greatest hand model) explains how the fashion industry has been behind every major political assassination over the last 200 years. “And behind every hit, a card-carrying male model”.
Prewitt tells Zoolander that Kennedy was killed because the Cuban embargo halted the shipment of Cuban-manufactured slacks, an “incredibly popular item at the time”. When Zoolander complains that Lee Harvey Oswald wasn’t a male model, Prewitt says, “You’re goddamn right he wasn’t. But those two lookers who capped Kennedy from the grassy knoll sure as shit were”.
And before Kennedy there was Lincoln, who wanted to free the slaves. Without their free labor “prices would have gone up tenfold on the powdered wigs and leg stockings” worn by early American leaders. “So the powers that be hired John Wilkes Booth… the original model/actor”.
It is pretty funny fictional stuff. In reality neither John Wilkes Booth nor any of his conspirators were male models (duh), but judging by this picture of Lewis Powell at least one of them could have been. Powell was a Confederate soldier who along Booth conspired to assassinate Lincoln, Secretary of State William H. Seward, and Vice President Andrew Johnson. He was just a dumb kid who got involved with the wrong people and was born in the wrong century. Today he could be doing movies. Or at least Sears catalogs.
Powell failed in killing Seward and three days later was arrested at the boarding house ran by Mary Surratt, mother of co-conspirator John Surratt. They were all hanged for the assassination of Lincoln. Powell was 21.