Women have Ashley Graham, men have Zach Miko.
Zach Miko is 30 years old, 6’6″, and 130 kilos. Since 2016, he’s been a model under IMG’s Brawn division, and makes six figures a year. After the push for female body positivity and Health at Every Size movement, many modelling agencies began making spaces for plus-size men. Miko was the first to achieve mainstream success, being shot for The Iconic, Uniqlo, Nordstrom, and Target.
IMG Models’ Brawn division has seen a 15% revenue growth and model bookings are up 62%, with their models being part of campaigns for iconic brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Levi’s. It is important to note that these men are not simply included in shoots as a tokenistic attempt at diversity, they are often leading ad campaigns and are chosen specifically for their unique look and talent. Men like, as women do, to see representation of diverse body types.
In an interview for Marie Claire, Miko said:
“I grew up feeling terrible about the way I look… It’s so important to have this [body positivity] conversation now with guys so they can learn self-love and self-acceptance at an early age.”
Miko is right; plus-size men are often ridiculed in a way that intersects with toxic masculinity, and are often the target of jokes in movies and TV. Acceptance of oneself must also be helped by the cultural zeitgeist at large. Men represent 25% of individuals with anorexia nervosa.
Compared to women, male anorexia has higher mortality rates, in part due to frequent misdiagnosis or later-term diagnosis. Eating disordered behaviours such as binge eating and fasting are nearly as common among males as females. The rise of male body positivity and plus-size male models will hopefully lead to a more accepting culture surrounding all body types, regardless of gender.
Speaking to Newshub, Miko stated “I just think what wonders this [job] would have done for little Zach’s self-esteem growing up. You know when I was a kid, the only roles you see a big guy in on television is the villain, or the joke. There was no in-between.”
This is what the rise of Brawn modelling is truly about; creating a better world for the future, and showing that all genders can be celebrated at all sizes.
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