Many have heard of famous plus-size women making waves in the fashion industry. There’s Ashley Graham, Marquita Pring, and Iskra Lawrence, all of which have landed major campaigns and appeared in fashion runways around the world. But one demographic that is often overlooked are male plus-size models. Zach Miko is looking to change all that by being the first-ever plus-size male model to sign with a major agency.
Standing at 6 feet 6 inches, 26-year-old Zach Miko has captured attention after signing with international modeling agency, IMG. He joins the ranks of internationally renowned models such as Gigi Hadid, Gisele Bündchen, and Kate Moss. Miko has reportedly been signed under their new modeling division, Brawn, which is described by IMG president, Ivan Bart, as a “body positive message.”
Zach Miko Gets Candid About Life as a Male Plus-Size Model
Even with the urgent need for more plus-size male models in the industry, major agencies around the United Kingdom have yet to create divisions for men sized XL and up. This is something that Connecticut-based Zach Miko acknowledges in his interview with The Guardian.
The Guardian: Why do you think plus-size male models have yet to move into the mainstream industry?
There has been a lot of support in women’s modelling—models such as Ashley Graham and Tess Holliday have been making huge waves. Seeing someone [like Graham], who would normally be shunned, was awesome. I always had my own body-image struggle. With men, there is still a lot of bravado and false masculinity to get through.
The Guardian: What do you mean?
You’re not supposed to care about how you look. If you have issues, you aren’t supposed to talk about it. It’s considered weak or un-masculine. Which is stupid. It’s about having feelings that make you human. I think, even now with the progression, you still have that 1950s male mentality of men being strong and emotionless.
Speaking to BuzzFeed, Miko shared his honest thoughts upon becoming a model. “Being a man of size, I never imagined for a minute that this would be a possible career,” he said. “Then Ivan told me about his dreams for the fashion industry: diversity, inclusion, evolution. I knew then I hadn’t just found an agency, I had found a home.”
In addition to that, Zach Miko is currently Target’s first and only male plus-size model and this also happened to be his very first modeling gig. “We have been told for so long that beauty is this one thing, but times are changing,” he said. “It’s a new conversation. Beauty comes in every variety. If you want to be a model, go do it. Dress up, take pictures, post on your Instagram, tell a story, be proud of who you are right now. Put yourself out there. You never know who is watching.”