Gay plus-size representation has suddenly diminished and this model is showing us the proof

Written by | The Lens

January is a time for weight watching, dry drinking and fitness overload.

Thank gawd it’s February!

Some of us are simply large and in charge, no matter how diligently we exercise and calorie-count. So, why doesn’t pop culture reflect our plus-size perfection? It’s more of a question about aesthetics than appetites.

“Luxury is slower to pick up on inclusivity and diversity,” assesses Zach Miko in a recent Vogue Business interview. “Mainstream brands, the big box stores and fast fashion brands take their cues from the consumer more often.”

Miko has been credited as the first “big” A-list male model, scoring major brand endorsements such as Levi’s. In 2016, he signed with the newly minted Brawn division of the IMG modeling agency as his star was rising, pre-pandemic.

But then, 2020 happened.

COVID trapped us indoors. We all got bigger, and yet our role models got smaller. Miko watched as opportunities withered and vanished because plus-size representation was suddenly considered niche marketing.

“So many brands were cutting budgets, trying to figure out what was happening. The newest things got cut first.”

This is shocking news to us gays because we’ve been cherishing full-bodied bodies ever since Bear magazine rolled off the presses, hot and hairy.

Haute couture continues to marginalize our fave zaftig zaddies. Weight gain is judged harsher than sandpaper at a lube convention, but the fact remains: we are here, we are queer, and we happen to enjoy the occasional non-light beer!

The average adult is 15-20 pounds over their ideal weight. That just means we’re works-in-progress, honey. In the meantime, we should celebrate the beauty of every curve and bulge.

And as for the timidity of advertisers to (gasp!) actually sell us clothes that fit, Miko has one final missive: “How do they know there’s no demand when they’ve not tried?”

You heard him, folks. Meet us halfway and don’t skimp on the gay. Be well!



Last modified: February 6, 2022