By now I would hope that we TALLS have all heard of the bearded crusader who Target so 'bravely' hired as their plus size big and tall model, Zach Miko. ThereAreGiants obviously had to jump at the opportunity to speak with this very handsome, very tall (ish), and very bearded GIANT to hear what life is like infront of the lense as a model and a man of not model-like size. Mr. Miko is pretty damned awesome and I am truly grateful that he was happy to sit down with TAG and answer a few questions.
Homeland/Town: Stratford, CT
Have you found that being your height has been an obstacle or advantage in your acting or modeling career prior to your recent success?
Both. I feel like that is the worst answer ever but let me explain. For most of my career it has been a pretty huge obstacle, pun intended. I was told on countless auditions and callbacks that “we like you so much but the lead woman is 5’2”” or “we thought you were so great but the other guy is 5’7””. One time I was even casted in certain TV show, flown half way across the country, spent 3 days on set doing hair, make up and wardrobe tests. On the 3rd day the executive producers came in to do their “last looks” before we began filming. The head executive producer, who was also the owner of the production company named after himself, came in to the room, took one look at me and said “why is this guy so big? It looks weird.” Twenty minutes later the director comes up to me and said the producers had decided to go in a different direction. You get a lot of setbacks like that when you are as big as us and you don’t play basketball. However lately it’s been helping me out a lot. It took me a long time to learn but it’s about using what you have rather than working against it. As soon as I truly embraced being the “big guy” I have never been working or auditioning more. Thank god lumberjacks became cool again.
Being so tall, obviously we know finding clothes is difficult. Do you find that Target’s Big & Tall section is actually serviceable to GIANTS? Where are some places that you find to be reliable in finding clothes that fit?
I just ordered 7 pairs of pants from Target. If that doesn’t say it I don’t know what does. I wear pants with a length of 36 which most stores do not sell. Target has that length in every look and style of denim you could want. It’s a great feeling not to have to dress like the world’s biggest toddler anymore. Until I started modeling for target I really didn’t know of any reliable places to buy clothes, I’d go to some stores where a size in one style would fit ok, but the exact same size in a slightly different style was comical to wear. My Dad and I would always order pants from the LL. Bean catalogue, which was great if you love flannel lined jeans as much as I do. It’s like wearing pajama’s and no one else knows.
What size shoe do you wear? Where do you find shoes that fit you?
I actually only wear a size 13. Which for a guy my height is actually on the smaller side, hence my penchant for falling down more often than I should. Being size 13 I am lucky in the sense that that is usually the largest size that “normal” stores sell. Usually if I walk into any shoe store with my fingers crossed I have a 50/50 chance to get a pair of shoes. LL Bean always has my size, If that’s any hint as to who I’d love to shoot for next.
In light of your new Target campaign, do you/would you do custom?
I’m not quite sure what you mean by custom? Custom clothing? Hell yeah. Custom Photoshoot? Hell yeah. I’m up for most things as long as they remain legal and uncreepy.
What are some of your biggest Tall Guy Problems?
Hands down, hitting my head. On the Subway, on low hanging signs, on tiny doors in the cottages of Plymouth Plantation. It’s a constant. And God forbid you are wearing a baseball cap, cause then the tiny little button on the top digs in and causes more pain than you could possibly imagine. Also public transportation as a whole. I think I may have the strongest hips in the world. That’s how hard I squeeze my legs together on every subway ride as not to be accused of manspreading. And if I see one more tiny old lady in the emergency exit row on an airplane I’m going to scream.
What is the strangest thing someone has asked you about yourself or has said to you because of your height?
I’m always surprised at how uncreative people are. You get tons of the same ole “How’s the weather up there?” and “Did you play basketball?” Every now and then you get a cute old lady to ask you to get something on a top shelf, that’s always fun. Strangest things usually have to do with someone asking to climb me like a tree. I think seeing someone of my size ignites wonderful childhood memories of playful fathers and fun uncles. Your height ignites a primal need in them to ride on another person’s shoulders.
Do you feel as if though people treat you differently or behave differently towards you because of your height?
I feel like people are naturally intimidated by you. Being a big guy you are naturally a little stronger than others, simply because you are dragging this big ass body around with you everywhere you go. I think because of this people are usually give you a little bit of distance. If ever you are at a bar and a fight breaks out all of a sudden everyone else looks at you as if to say “aren’t you going to stop this?”. You essentially are never allowed to mind your own business if anything bad happens. You are automatically expected to do some act of heroics if anything bad happens. It’s pretty cool some most of the time, but one day I’m gunna be in a bank that’s being robbed and everyone’s gunna give me the “unarm the bad guy” look.
In The Giants Own Words:
I one time got to be Vince Vaugh’s fit model on a film. What that means is you get to try on every single thing they are going to wear during the film. I at the time was apparently the exact same height and shape as Vince. I tried on well over 40 outfits and pairs of shoes for him. I also sweat a little bit more than the average man. So I like to think that my sweat, and Vince’s sweat became one, and a little part of me was with him every day on set. Gross, but fun to think about while you watch The Delivery Man.