Gay Culture Makers:The Zakar Twins

They’re twins, they’re gay, they’re authors, and they’re extremely handsome.

Michael and Zachary Zakar are authors and producers of Pray the Gay Away, a tale of two gay boys coming out to their very religious Iraqi mother. This hilarious and heartfelt novel was quickly snatched up and turned into a smash-hit theatre production.

This week, we got to talk to the boys about their work, what they’ve been up to over the last few months, and the every day life of a twin.

How is your day coming along?

We’re better now. We got in a huge fight earlier before a photoshoot. We were fighting on some random frontyard.  I threw a brush at Michael’s head and Michael threw a bottle of lotion to which exploded on me before entering the shoot. 

Tell me about the room you’re in.

We’re in Zach’s room catching up on emails. It’s plain.
I, Zach, like my room to be minimalist. 

How have you been keeping busy throughout Covid-19?

Thank God, we’re creatives. We have been going hard into book number two. Other than that.

Your coming-out story has been a rare journey between twin brothers – how do you continue to support each other in your daily lives as the modern day queer Mary-Kate and Ashley?

In our adulthood it’s less about supporting each other in our “gay” journey and more about being their for each other during those periods of doubt. Shit, being an adult is hard — mental break down every other week!

Pray the Gay Away is your first self-published novel – what was the driving force behind wanting to write your story?

We went to film school so we would always write interesting things that happened to us on sticky notes to later inspire us for a movie or show. And after we came out, the seven year journey that happened with our own coming out and our mother’s reaction caused about 200 sticky notes, which later led to the book. 

What was the hardest part about writing your novel?

Writing is the fun part. But being that we self-published, we found the marketing difficult. We assumed people would just “buy” it because we had a following.  

Pray the Gay Away chronicles Michael and Zach as they face awkward sexual encounters, drug-fueled escapades, coming out to each other, and their biggest foe – Mom, a woman who not only gave birth to what she calls one regret – but two. 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 the night Mom snuck into their bedroom and force fed them “holy grapes,” determined to “de-gay” them.

– taken from ZakarTwins.com

Was your mother involved in the creative process?
Did she know you were producing it?

Well the book was later turned into a campy stage play to which she did see, and loved it, but hated it at the same time because she was played by a female impressionater. 

What is your current focus as culture-makers for the LGBT+ community during such a difficult time in the US?

We want to showcase what it means to be gay, proud, Middle Eastern men. 

Writing, producing, acting, being shirtless at drag queen Christmas shows — what’s your favourite creative outlet?

Literally the order you put it in. 

What is something people generally don’t know about you both?

We fight every single day…. I think we need marriage counseling. 

Who is someone you would like to collaborate with in the future and in what medium?

We’d both like to world with Will Smith and re-do Aladdin. Michael is playing Abu. 

Where do you both see your art in five years?

Producing the projects we are in the middle of writing now. 

You’ve created a memoir, a play, and even an app to help support and empower the LGBT+ community – what’s next for you both?

Producing the projects we are in the middle of writing now. 

Thank you so much for your time – any final comments?

Follow us on Instagram for more updates, and be sure to buy Pray the Gay Away on Amazon!

Tune in next time, as we unwind with the very talented and oh-so-sexy Cazwell, to talk about his music, podcast, and all things gay. In the meantime, check out our other articles below.

Check out last weeks Culture Maker interview with LA party planner OLLY WOOD here!

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