Zach Miko is model perfect as the face of Target’s “big and tall” section online, but Miko says it was not until he got the job – his first modeling gig - that he learned to accept his body.
“Everything fit right,” Miko, 26, tells “Good Morning America.” “I sat down with my wife and I was like, ‘I’ve never felt good about the way I looked before.’ Not okay about the way I looked. I felt good. I felt great about the way I looked. “
“I was like, ‘I like being the big guy. I’m happy to be the big guy. I’ve been trying to change for years because that’s what the industry is telling me to do and I don’t want to do that,’” Miko adds.
It was Miko’s wife, Laura, who he says initially gave him the confidence to pursue an acting career, even though Miko, at 275 pounds and a size XXL, says he was always told he was “too big" for roles.
“One time in particular, I got the lead in a miniseries and I thought it was going to be my big break,” Miko says. “We did three days of hair and makeup tests and then we had a producer’s last look and the executive producer walks in the room and the first thing he says is ‘Why is this guy so big? It looks weird.’”
“And I was on a plane the next day home,” Miko says.
Miko says he developed comedic skills after being picked on as a kid for his size while growing up in Connecticut.
“I grew up with a lot of body image issues,” he says. “I was always the big kid. I was picked on a lot but it made me who I was essentially, and I was always being funny because of it.”
The modeling gig with Target came completely by chance, the New York City-based Miko explains.
“It was luck,” he says. “My acting manager had a friend who was working as a stylist, a hair and makeup stylist, and Target was looking for someone who was big and tall so my manager rings her up and says, ‘I got one.’”
Now that Miko has an unexpected career as a plus-size model, he says he’ll have to cash in on a $500 bet he made with his wife early on in their relationship.
“My wife made me a bet for $500 that I would be on the People magazine top 100 sexiest men [list],” Miko says. “I laughed it off and then a couple of weeks ago I got a call from People magazine to do an interview.”
“We started laughing and I was like, ‘I guess maybe it’s not the farthest thing in the world,’” he says.