Why We Need Plus-Size Male Models



I was scrolling on Instagram, checking out random meme posts, as I do, when I came across a text post that asked a question that had never occurred to me: Where are the plus-size male models? I was suddenly struck by the fact that I had never seen a plus-size male modeling anything. And no, Larry the Cable Guy advertising Prilosec doesn’t count. So while I was usually at least somewhat aware of the goings-on of female plus-size icons like Ashley Graham and Tess Holliday, I realized I couldn’t even name one plus-size male model. Which is a darn shame, since I know lots of thick boys out there who need a style icon that’s not their weird Uncle Tim who wears loud Hawaiian shirts and the same khaki shorts to every outing ever.

So, I resolved to do some research, but before I did, I reached out to my best girl and fellow Her Campus writer, Rebecca Strobele, a wonderfully stylish plus-size woman in her own right, to see if she had run into this disturbing gap in the fashion industry. And, proving again just why she is my best girl, she had something for me. I believe her literal words were “Ha ha ha, nah, they exist. They just aren’t very publicized.” And then she proceeded to school me. From Zach Miko (@zachmiki), arguably the most popular plus-size male model, to lesser-known gems like Kelvin Davis (@notoriouslydapper) and Riccardo Onorato (@guyoverboard), she showed me model after model, each with his own style and energy, and each killing it!

Finding out more about all these amazing models didn’t make me feel better. In fact, I felt even more irritated. How could these men be out here, providing much-needed representation, and not be a topic of conversation at least once in my life before some random Instagram post brought them to my attention? Because if I don’t know about these men, I can bet you that a lot of plus-size guys looking for some positive representation of style and fashion haven’t heard of them either. And that’s really, really sad. But to add even more insult to that injury, I found it pretty much impossible to find a decent stock photo for the banner of this article that featured a plus size man. Clearly, there is something missing in representation.

You see, we focus so much on body positivity icons for young girls and women out there, but we have so few for boys and men. Oh sure, I am aware that women generally bear the brunt of the world’s shallow obsession with weight and visibly “fit” bodies, but that does not mean boys are exempt from growing up with body image issues. After all, as much as I love all the Chris-es, (Evans, Pratt, Hemsworth, and Pine), they must be intimidating as well as influential figures in the imagination of young boys. Or even the inspiring athletes that a lot of boys idolize, like Steph Curry, can be setting almost impossible body goals, especially for awkward, gangly boys still growing out of their baby fat. All of their heroes are impressive specimens of peak masculine form, and whether they’re aware of it or not, their expectations for their own bodies will start to rise higher and higher.

This is why body positivity and inclusivity is important not just for all the little, and not so little, girls out there, but for everybody out there. So, I encourage you to look up some plus size male models and support them as best you can. Whether that be just giving their Instagram a follow and a few likes, or pointing a plus-size guy in your life in their direction, I know that together we can give these guys a better platform to show that everyone deserves love and great fashion, regardless of size.