Meet Target's Only Plus-Size Male Model Zach Miko: 'I Wouldn't Have Had the Confidence If It Wasn't for My Wife'
“I never understood why looking at big and tall clothing, they show me these Abercrombie & Fitch-style, really cut, really fit guys,” Miko tells PEOPLE. “These guys aren’t buying XXL tall T-shirts, these guys aren’t buying 42-inch pants, but they’re the guys you see modeling it.”
Miko’s inclusion on Target’s site is changing all of that.
“With everything that’s been going on with women’s fashion and body inclusivity and self-image, it’s interesting that male brands have [just started] stepping up to do the same thing,” he says. “It’s fun to be on the precipice of that.”
The 6’6″ New Yorker’s gig with Target was actually his first time modeling, and he explains that things didn’t start off so smoothly.
“There were supposed to be XXL and XL tall shirts, but instead regular mediums showed up, which doesn’t fit me!” he said. “The stylist actually had to cut every single shirt from the back up like a hospital gown, and then everything was pinned in place.”
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Despite this slight hiccup, Miko said he really enjoyed the overall experience, and said modeling has helped him improve his self-esteem.
“I’ve struggled with self-esteem and self-image issues my entire life,” he says. “Being an attractive person was never something I thought of myself. I think as a man, you don’t want to ever admit you have body image issues because it’s not considered masculine or macho, but everyone struggles with it.”
“Now I feel okay looking like I do and being like I am, but I never would have had the confidence to go model or do anything if it wasn’t for my wife,” he continues. “She’s who made me feel attractive for the first time. She made me feel okay with what I am.”
Accepting the person you are right now is a message he wants to pass on to anyone who is struggling with self-image.
“My main message to people is, ‘Why not now? Why can t you feel attractive the way you are right now?, ‘ ” he says. “It’s great to be more fit, more healthy, more active, but that doesn’t mean who you are right now is invalid, or that who you are right now isn’t an attractive person.”
Miko believes the fashion and entertainment industries need to broaden the types of people they feature.
“Our perception of beauty in society in so warped in that it’s only this one thing,” he says. “We need to keep seeing bigger, smaller. We need to see every body type. We need to see that every type of person is beautiful.”