The Zakar twins are gay, Arab and living in America. What could go wrong?
How about their own Catholic mother trying to ‘de-gay’ them with ‘holy grapes’ while they were sleeping.
Since they accidentally came out in high school after a little mishap in the toilet with another boy, Zach and Michael are going from strength to strength.
They’re models, YouTubers and now entrepreneurs, with a hilarious and sexy YouTube channel.
‘We never assumed we would have a voice in the LGBTI community,’ Zach and Michael told Gay Star News. ‘We thought we would take this secret to the grave. It’s quite empowering to be naked and get a lot of negative and positive feedback.’
They added: ‘You don’t see a lot of Arab people embracing the gay thing.’
And what’s next? A sexy new calendar, an app and a new book.
Gay Star News asked the handsome gay twins about their coming out journey, the reactions they face on Grindr and their infamous foe, their own mother.
When and how did you both come out?
We both didn’t know that each other were gay. Zach was a jock who played rugby and I, Michael, was the artsy, loner kid. Zach was home with stomach flu for the week, from sharing my drink (he didn’t know stomach flu was contagious).
A junior asked me if I wanted to fool around in the handicap stall above the gymnasium. I agreed, not thinking if it was gay or straight, I was just excited. I met him in the stall during fifth period Spanish.
We were fooling around in the stall, when two jocks walk in and caught us. I ran back to class. The next day the rumor around school was Zach was caught in the bathroom with this junior, obviously cause we looked more like twins back in the day. When I got home, I told a sick Zach about the rumor:
Zach: ‘I thought no one saw me?’
Michael: ‘No it was me that got caught?!’
Zach: ‘No I was fooling around with him, but I didn’t get caught? WAIT, ARE YOU GAY?
Zach fooled around with the same kid a few days prior in the same stall, I was just the one that got caught. The kid is the one who actually started the rumor.
How did your parents react?
Most people would expect since we’re Arab that our dad was going to have a harder time, but it was the exact opposite.
Our dad’s a caregiver, so he’s a very mellow guy.
On the other hand, our mom threw holy water at us and ran away to her church for a week.
Do you ever go to Iraq? If so, what’s it like there for LGBTI people?
We have never been to Iraq.
In some parts of Iraq, people that are LGBTI are still getting stoned or thrown off buildings.
It’s a scary place right now, not just for LGBTI people. In other parts, you would be surprised how open it is.
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I’m a gay twin too, but my twin is straight! How has it been supporting each other?
It’s the most amazing support system.
If I didn’t have my twin through the process, I never would have made it. We turned a hurtful and sad situation into something funny.
We turned our coming out story into a dark-comedy memoir called Pray the Gay Away, coming out in 2018.
Because we had so much support with each other, we are in the process of creating an app called My Twin. The tagline for the new app is: ‘I had a twin when I came out and now so do you.’
The app hopes to reach out to others struggling during the coming out process or just needing someone to talk too.
Many people coming out usually feel like they are the only one. So this app is a support system for those scared to talk to a stranger or a close friend.
You both model – how does the fashion industry react to twins? Does it ever get competitive with one twin getting picked for something over another?
The fashion industry loves quirks.
Zach and I have a very odd sense of humor, so we find many people in the industry either vibe off it or hate it.
As for it being competitive – we are actually each other’s biggest fans. There are never any harsh feelings when one gets an ad, just a bruised ego.
The industry is tough because we aren’t the cookie-cutter looking models, but I love us.
How would you describe the fashion industry’s attitude towards LGBTI people?
With high fashion and runway, they love it all. But with catalog and commercial work, they still want that straight male persona.
We have been told before to tone down the flamboyance.
We have to ask – what is with the nun on your website? Do you want to explain ‘Pray the Gay Away’?
Yes, the metaphor for our book cover is that the nun represents our catholic mother. We’re poking fun at the whole situation.
The memoir hilariously and poignantly explores what it’s like growing up as gay, Iraqi twins in modern America.
Pray the Gay Away was inspired by the night mom (American name, Amy) snuck into our bedroom and force fed us ‘holy grapes’ she had blessed by a priest, determined to ‘de-gay’ us.
We face awkward sexual encounters, drug-fueled escapades, coming out to each other, and their biggest foe, their mom.
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What’s the creepiest message you’ve received on Grindr?
Zach: I’m done. I’m gonna delete my Grindr… and get it back in a week.
Michael: I’m gonna delete it, get it back, delete it, hate myself, get it back…
Pick-up line: *sends a picture of my brother’s dick*
Whats yours look like?’
‘I would tie you up to the bed and tickle you with a feather as your twin watches.’