More than just a pretty face

Photos courtesy of Zach Miko

Like most men, Zach Miko wasn’t exactly aiming at the spot where he currently finds himself—a modeling campaign with Target, an interview on “Good Morning America,” offers for elite modeling contracts, and more than 50 articles about him published in just under a month.

How did life so rapidly turn on a dime for this 6 ½-foot-tall gentle giant? Yes, he bears a ruggedly masculine and handsome all-American face.  Yes, his wife is breathtakingly beautiful and uproariously hilarious, as well. The idea of becoming one of America’s first big and tall male models was never exactly a goal of Miko’s—but hey, he’ll definitely take it.

“I definitely consider myself an actor first,” Miko says. His eyes are sincere, and he speaks with a refreshing humility and graciousness.  “The modeling came completely accidentally.  Apparently Target was looking for a big and tall guy. A friend of my manager posted something on Facebook, and my manager gave me a call asking what size I am.” He gave her the measurements—and was given an offer an hour after the test shoot.

“I am also a writer,” Miko says, “mostly of scripts… screenwriting. The guys from ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ are my idols.  My dream has always been to write and star in my own show.  So modeling was never actually the goal.”

Miko is beyond grateful, however, for the opportunity that came along thanks to Target. “The fact that I am able to now talk about body positivity and inclusiveness and people actually now listen to me is something I never expected.” Miko admits to having body issues for his entire life. “I was a really chubby little kid. And that always sticks with you. So no matter how anyone else ever phrased it, I always saw myself as a fat, disgusting person. Middle school really stuck with me.”

All of that started to change when a director told him that it’s okay to be the big guy.  “I always see Chris Helmsworth playing Thor,” Miko says, “and the industry convinces you that you do have to look like that to work. Even with the few exceptions, those guys still have to play ‘the big guy’ to work. They never get to just be someone in the group—everything is tailored to draw attention to their size.”

When asked about role models, Miko says, “One of my idols is John Goodman, but he had to put in 35 years of a career to be considered a great actor and not just the big guy.”

When asked his thoughts on the stigma associated with size, his answer is simple.  “As a society we are conditioned to think that fat is an insult and skinny is a compliment, which is just ridiculous. They are both just adjectives. If I were alive in the Middle Ages, I’d be ruling a village somewhere,” he laughs. “But somehow we have become so much about image. It’s always looks first, and any casting director will tell you that.”

It is a topic about which Miko is rather passionate. “It’s almost always like a panicked conversation,” he says. “So I’ve been pushing myself as much as I can, because I know this success could just be a flash in the pan. So I really want to keep this conversation going as long as possible.”

While it looks like his modeling career may potentially open doorways to other opportunities, Miko isn’t planning on gathering his eggs into one basket. He is currently working on a comedy pilot starring himself and friend Karen Bray as The Dreamstalks—a jaded duo of children’s musicians who sing witty, yet brutal lyrics about the cold hard truths of life and lost opportunities. The series is being produced by Bruth Media, an Astoria-based artist collective that also functions as a high quality media lab—for which Miko also serves as the associate sound producer.

Whether in an ad campaign, shining on the small screen, or collaborating with fellow writers, I have a feeling we have only begun to meet the gigantic talent that is known as Zach Miko. Who says the best things in life come in small packages?



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