Zach Miko has taken the fashion world by storm by simply being himself: a tall, normal guy who doesn't fit the mold of the typical male model. After becoming Target's first plus-size man to model their clothing, Miko sparked conversations around the world about body acceptance and inclusivity in media and the fashion industry. Seemingly overnight, he's become the face of the "brawny" man and shown other men and boys that it's OK to have a waist size larger than 32 inches and no washboard abs.
The Stratford, Connecticut native got his start in entertainment as a comedian, actor, and writer, and by the stroke of luck he was thrust into the national spotlight when he was chosen to model for a Target campaign. Now, he's adjusting to his newfound celebrity and has made it his mission to help other men become confident and comfortable with themselves, regardless their clothing size or build. When working, he's a consummate professional who aims to get the job done. On the personal side, Zach Miko is a funny guy with a warm heart and an awesome personality.
Here are 20 things you probably didn't know about Zach Miko:
1. Acting is Zack Miko's real passion. He graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and then moved from his hometown of Stratford, Connecticut to New York City to make his acting dreams come true. He's appeared in a number of movies and televisions shows, but what he really loves is theater. Zach Miko has acted in stage plays and musicals, as well as children's theater productions.
One acting project that Miko continues to work on is The Dreamstalks. It's a show as well as an acting troupe for children that's filled with music, laughter, and aims to be a great source of edutainment.
2. He was absolutely thrilled when he learned that he was going to become IMG's first plus size male model. When Zach Miko received the phone call letting him know the news, he immediately started dancing with his wife in their living room. His next step was to call his mother and father, and then he felt a great sense of honor and gratefulness. Zach Miko was humbled to be a trailblazer in the fashion industry, and he truly sees modeling as an opportunity to inspire other men to embrace their physical appearance, even if it doesn't meet the standard of being conventionally attractive.
3. Zach Miko's first shoot for Target didn't go smoothly. The shirts that he was to model came in a size medium, instead of the XLT and XXLT that he was supposed to wear. To get him into the clothes, each item had to be stretched by the set stylist and her assistant. When that didn't work, the shirts were cut open in the back and flaps were pinned in to allow for a better fit. Predictably, clothes clipped in place didn't photograph well at all, so Zach Miko had to be called in for another shoot. Fortunately, the right sizes were on hand that time and no similar mishaps have happened since.
4. He's a smart guy who understands the exact reason why so many fashion companies don't want to feature larger models or offer clothing for big and tall men: they think that most consumers don't want to see bigger bodies and find them unattractive. This line of thought puzzles Zach Miko -- and much of the general public -- as the majority of the US populace is overweight. He understands how ridiculous this industry myth is, and he's made it his job to combat it. Thus far, Zach Miko has proven what most people really think: seeing average and larger sized people in fashion ads and the media is a great thing that promotes acceptance.
5. Zach Miko is on the side of plus size female models, too. He attended New York Fashion Week and was taken by how beautiful the models size 12 to 16 looked. Miko likes to see inclusivity across the board and wants male and female models that don't fit the standard mold to win. He hopes other modeling agencies and fashion brands will continue to jump on the bandwagon and feature larger models in their campaigns, especially since consumers are really digging the new trend.
6. Becoming a male model has helped Zach Miko learn to love his body and who he is as a person, and he wants other men to start feeling the same way about themselves. Before he started modeling, Miko used to wish he were smaller, and sometimes thought about how it would be to get procedures to attain a smaller physique. His wife always tried to bolster his confidence, but Zach Miko was still discouraged by images of super thin and super buff male models, actors, and celebrities. After being chosen to model, he saw that his body was worth celebrating right alongside the guys with ripped abs. These days, Zach Miko doesn't wish he was smaller -- judging by the public's love for him, it doesn't seem that anyone else wants him to change, either.
7. Zach Miko's agent, Sana Hanible, is a huge part of why he became Target's first plus size male model. She got word from a friend who's a hair and makeup artist that Target wanted a big and tall guy to model for their campaign, and Sana instantly suggested Zach. The very next day, Miko went for a test shoot, Target liked what they saw, and he returned the following week for another shoot. He was asked to come back six additional times and the rest, as they say, is history.
8. Zach Miko has an impressive list of acting credits. Looking at his actor's resume, you'd think he's been in the game for decades, but it's only in the last five or so years that he's had television and film roles. Some of his TV credits include Shades of Blue, Undiscovered Country, Rock-Star Cafe, My Crazy Love, Sasketch Show, and Deadly Sins.
On the big screen, Zack Miko has appeared in a number of movies including A Leg Up, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Those in Glass Houses.
9. He's also earned credits as a theatrical writer and composer for his work with The Dreamstalks. The group produced a short called When I Grow Up, and Zach Miko both wrote and composed music for the video.
10. Zach Miko's favorite food is chicken wings, and he's especially fond of the ones served up at Astoria's Dillinger’s Pub. Some of the wing flavors available at the eatery include General Tso, traditional Buffalo, Teriyaki, and boneless Buffalo.
11. While he does believe in being as healthy as possible, Zach Miko is against attaining a conventionally desirable physique by unsafe means -- you won't catch him hitting the gym for tons of hours each day or taking unsafe supplements. Miko does lift weights on occasion, but most of his physical exercise comes from walking up and down the stairs to his fourth floor apartment and biking around New York City.
12. Target is the only fashion brand that Zach Miko is working with right now, but he's looking forward to teaming up with other fashion retailers in the future.
13. The one thing that Zach Miko dislikes about fashion photo shoots is the house music that's often played in the background. He's said that he would like to hear songs from heavy metal band Iron Maiden on his shoots, but Miko never requests that the music be changed even when he's asked if he has any music preferences -- he doesn't want to spoil the trendy mood of the shoots or disrupt everyone else's work flow.
14. Zach Miko is a pro football fan, and the New York Giants are his team. He's come to know many professional football players over the years, and he's been seen at Giants home games sporting his favorite jerseys and cheering like mad.
15. Finding clothing that fits him still isn't easy, even though he's now a well known model. Zach Miko describes going to stores and finding clothes that don't fit frustrating, and he's eagerly awaiting the day that larger and taller than average men will be able to shop freely.
Before modeling and gaining more confidence about his body, Zach Miko would wear the same outfits for five to ten years at a time because he didn't want to go through the embarrassment of clothes shopping. He never thought he'd actually feel good in his outfits until he started modeling for Target and got to experience well crafted, good looking clothing that's made to fit larger men.
These days Zach Miko has learned how to validate himself, he knows his self worth, and he doesn't shy away from buying new clothes. However, he prefers to stick to retailers that he knows will carry clothes in his size. His shopping motto: go where I'm loved and accepted, and leave the rest behind.
16. One of Zach Miko's favorite actors his Hugh Jackman, but he doesn't look to him as a role model as far as being confident in his own skin goes. For that, he sees John Goodman as an inspiration. When speaking about the comparison between the two, Miko said the following: "I love Hugh Jackman, I think he is incredible. And I think when most men think of masculine, Wolverine might be the very first image that pops into their head. That’s great, but I think it can be damaging to your idea of what handsome is. Most men still want to be Hugh Jackman. I want to be John Goodman. A man who is strong, confident, funny, handsome and any and all fans of Rosanne will know, downright sexy. Men have to love who they are."
17. Zach Miko actually does wear clothes from Target and the Mossimo brand. Though he lives in New York City, a fashion haven for those who are smaller in size, Miko doesn't often shop in town because there are so few clothing options available for plus size men. Instead, he orders online from Duluth, LL Bean, and, of course, Target. When he needs a suit, he hits up Men's Warehouse.
18. For anyone who's interested in Zach Miko's body stats, he's 6'6" tall, 275 pounds, and has a 40 inch waist. He's become IMG Model's first plus size male model in a division that they call Brawn. Brawn is for men who have waistlines size 39 and up and reflect the look of the average American male.
Signing a plus size male model was a revolutionary move for IMG Models, which only started signing female plus size models in 2014. The agency is the first in America to bring larger men onboard, and it's expected that other agencies will soon follow suit. Oversees, European modeling agencies have already begun to include plus sized men on the rosters.
According to IMG, Brawn represents body positive messages, diversity, and physical strength. The name is certainly fitting, and it turns out that larger guys prefer to be called "brawny" as opposed to "plus sized". Not long after Zach Miko came on the scene, there was a bit of a debate about what to call larger male models. Just as plus sized women have adopted "curvy" to describe their size, "brawny" is the chosen moniker for bigger men.
About being the face of IMG Brawn, Zach Miko says "..it’s like taking the first humbled feeling and multiplying it by 10. It is such an honor to be the first Brawn model signed to a major international agency. I hope there are a million more after me.”
19. Zach Miko's wife, Laura Miko, is his everything and he credits her with helping him gain the confidence to strike out and actually become one of the first plus size male models in the US. Though his agent secured his gig with Target, Zach's wife is the one who pushed him to go for it and try something totally new. Miko says that his wife made him feel attractive for the first time in his life, and she's the one who made him feel ok about his size.
When the two first met, Laura Miko says she instantly felt a strong connection to Zach. About her husband's physique and appearance, Laura Miko has said, "He’s got such a photogenic face, you just get lost in his eyes...He’s every man’s guy. The guy every guy wants to be around."
20. Zach Miko is having a blast as a male model, and almost can't believe he actually gets paid to do it. Miko says that modeling has changed his life, and not just financially. He never thought it was an option for him because he was larger, and now Zach Miko's focus is making men's fashion available to all guys of different shapes and sizes. So far, he's doing an excellent job.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker