Usually, discussions about body positivity and confidence are focused on women. With all the positive changes about incorporating models of different sizes for women’s wear, the question of whether this is also happening for men’s wear has naturally been brought to light. “Where are all the plus-size male models?” you might ask.
While women were constantly at the butt end of jokes on weight in the past decades, male privilege itself and the social stigmas surrounding masculinity are causing the significant delay in the body positivity movement for male bodies. But it’s not that hopeless today. An all-male plus-size fashion show is coming up in South Africa, and plus-size divisions for men have been popping up in a couple of modeling agencies every now and then.
To illustrate how the fashion world is slowly moving toward inclusivity, here are beautiful male plus-size models today.
Top Male Plus-Size Models You Should Be Checking Out
Known as the world’s first plus-size male model, Zach Miko signed to the internationally famous agency IMG Models, the agency of the likes of Cara Delevingne, Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, Gisele Bündchen, Miranda Kerr, Kate Moss, and Karlie Kloss.
At 6 foot 6 inches and with a 40-inch waist, Zach thought he was being pranked the moment he was discovered on Instagram. “I never dreamed it was even possible to be a model when I was growing up. I thought I couldn’t be a model any more than I could be the Queen of England, it just wasn’t an option,” Zach said in an interview. “I had moved to New York to follow my career as an actor when I booked a small print job. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, I was just happy to have my rent paid that month.”
A DM on Instagram from Ivan Bart himself, president of IMG Models, arrived at his inbox in 2016, and since then, his life has never been the same.
Comedian and American social media personality Josh Ostrovsky, aka the Fat Jew, has ventured into the world of fashion. With 5.8 million followers on Instagram, he’s a powerful presence on the photo-sharing site. Fashion didn’t seem like a likely move for Ostrovsky at first, but he has signed up with the model agency One Management. He appeared in a photo spread in Inked magazine’s May 2015 issue and was featured on the covers of the magazine Treats! in 2016 and Nude in 2017. He was featured in a runway show called the Dad Fashion show. It was a collection geared toward dads or men of all ages and sizes. He wanted to inspire men of his size to be comfortable in their own skin and know that it’s okay to have a “mediocre body and very, very high cholesterol, as long as you look great doing it.”
Two years after Zach Miko was signed to IMG’s Brawn division, Nemar Parchment joined in the ranks. If you feel like you’ve seen Nemar before, it might be because he models for the ASOS men’s plus-size line. He first majored in sociolinguistics but later applied for the London College of Fashion after realizing he wanted a more fashion-focused career. He was soon spotted by ASOS’s creative director, did a successful test shoot for them a few weeks later, and the rest is history.
Nemar joining IMG is a step forward for mainstream representation of plus-size male models, something he touches upon in his interview with AZ Magazine: “I feel like I represent the bigger guy, the black guy, the LGBT guy and people are really proud and really happy that they have some kind of representation.”
Hailing from the Bay Area in California, this Opera singer came to NYC to shake music halls with his powerful voice and somehow along the way became a brawn model. Frankel is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2011 and since then has enjoyed a busy career performing onstage around the world. In addition to his vocal career, he is a strong advocate for body positivity and is a plus-size model signed with State Management.
Well-trained, hip beard, well-groomed, wavy hair, the voice of an angel—that’s Alex Frankel, ladies!
Bridge Models, a London-based modeling agency specializing in plus-size women, is riding that wave for change with their newly minted men’s division. Steven is from Germany and was one of the first to have signed with this agency. “People want to see themselves represented in the media, and at the moment there is only one type of male model showcased,” says Steven Martin, the plus-size model recently profiled by BuzzFeed and the Irish Examiner. “This [approach] doesn’t speak to the average Joe [nor] the mass market, so it is time for change.”
Aside from a successful commercial modelling career, Steven also has a substantial following on Instagram, and it is easy to see why. His smouldering looks and selfie-taking skills have endeared him to many, and he has a strong sense of humour. He also has a sharp sense of style, and frequently shares style posts
Kelvin, also known by his blog name Notoriously Dapper, is a blogger, activist, and model. Residing in Columbia, South Carolina, he was prompted to start blogging after realizing the extent of the limitations that larger men face in fashion—not only in terms of clothing sizes but also in style influences. Because of this, Kelvin decided to become the inspiration that he desired. Now he regularly shares lookbooks and style guides, proving that size and style are not mutually exclusive.
Modeling alongside his fiancée, Laura Wells, Jesse McNeilly previously served as an infantry soldier in East Timor and Afghanistan. His fiancée got him into plus-size modeling, helping him sign as one of three males to Sydney’s BGM Models.
Since signing with BGM, McNeilly has shot for Johnny Big, Myer, and Big W and recently flew to Mumbai to appear in a plus-size campaign there.