Thirstory: Getting Down and Dirty with Zac Efron

By
Photography Mikael Jansson

Published July 13, 2020

Welcome to Thirstory, where we whet your appetite with pages from the Interview archive that were almost too hot to print. This week, we unearthed our April 2009 cover story starring Zac Efron. 

Last week, Netflix debuted its new docuseries Down to Earth with Zac Efron, which follows the actor as he pursues sustainable living practices in eight different cities around the globe. Unbeknownst to the streaming service, the television show also debuted Efron’s reemergence into mainstream media as a bonafide daddy, and our contribution to this transformation can’t go unrecognized. 

Back in 2009, the Interview editors harvested the High School Musical star in an April cover shoot titled “Dirty Zac,” captured by photographer Mikael Jansson. In the spread, Efron is literally down to earth—his body slathered in dirt and soil, and soaking up all of the replenishing nutrients of a good watering. Normally we’re prone to killing the most low-maintenance of house plants, but in the case of Troy Bolton’s blossoming, it’s evident our thumb is greener than expected. 

In the eleven years that have passed since the photo shoot, Efron has evolved from a baby-faced Bulbasaur into a grisly, gorgeous specimen of a man. And as he travels from Sardinia to Costa Rica on Down to Earth, it’s obvious Efron is making the world his garden of earthly delights. You’re welcome.