Hunter McGrady is a beautiful Southern Californian model, who is on a mission to break boundaries in the fashion industry. Passionate about embracing and encouraging body positivity, she is at the forefront of a very important movement, which is changing the way in which the world defines beauty.
Many define her as a “plus size” model, but Hunter is far more than that. She was recently picked as one of Sports Illustrated’s ‘rookie of the year’ in their latest swimsuit issue, and blew everyone away with her gorgeous pictures. Making history as the curviest model to ever feature in the magazine, Hunter appears covered in body paint, in which she proudly shows off every inch of her beautiful body.
Hunter’s aim is to spread positivity amongst women, allowing them to truly believe that they too can be in love within their own skin. People come in all shapes and sizes, and each and every body shape is beautiful. One day, she believes that terms such as “plus size” will no longer exist, and that differences between body shapes will be accepted and embraced.
The model is also a keen philanthropist and has been involved with a special charity called 1 Heart 1 Mission for the past four years. The non-profit organisation provides orphans in Haiti with food, education and clothing.
We recently quizzed Hunter about the Sports Illustrated experience, how she’d like to see the fashion industry develop, her charity work and more. She even left an inspirational message for our readers – check it out below.
Congratulations on your recent Sports Illustrated Swimsuit shoot – you look stunning! What was your first reaction when you got the call?
Thank you so much! My first reaction was tears, then excitement, and I just remember feeling so proud, not because I booked it but for what this means for women around the world.
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This is a surreal moment for me. You guys I have been bursting to tell you all about this! I want to thank @MJ_Day for an opportunity like this to do the SI model search and for being a force in this industry and everyone at @si_swimsuit for promoting that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Beauty is not a number. It has no limits. I have never felt sexier than I did in this shoot. Thank you to @joannegair and team @therealmarissajade and @trendytribals for working your magic on my body. These women painted this suit for 12 hours and I never wanted to take it off. Women, for anyone who has ever felt uncomfortable or insecure because of rolls, or stretch marks, or cellulite, or acne, or felt like you didn't measure up because you weren't represented in the magazines–THIS IS FOR YOU! You are beautiful. You are STRONG. You are powerful and together we need to lift eachother up and inspire one another. There's too much going on on this world to let eachother fall by the wayside. Shot by another incredible woman- @josie_clough amazing sexy beach hair by @adammaclay thank you to my agents @uralucky1 @marissamuscari @ginabaronedirectorofficial @jaimegoldberg_ @wilhelminamodels for being such hard working and dedicated team! We did it ! ? #breakingboundaries #siswim
Whilst it was a swimsuit shoot, you were actually covered in body paint. How was that experience?
Yes! It was incredible! The whole thing took 12 hours. My call time was 2AM and we wrapped at 2PM. Surprisingly it flew by. There were 3 girls working on me and we just had so much fun the whole time.
It’s refreshing to see models like yourself and Ashley Graham break the boundaries when it comes to the modelling industry. How does it feel to be at the forefront of this movement?
I am so excited to be here. It’s needed. I wish this happened when I was growing up.
How would you like to see the fashion and modelling industry progress in the next few years?
I would love to be able to walk into any store with any of my smaller sized friends and be able to shop on the same rack. I think it will definitely get there.
Over the years, you have been a variety of different sizes. Have you always felt confident in your own skin, or was there a particular turning point for you?
No I went through a really hard time in high school. I was severely bullied, so much that I got home-schooled. The last three years of high school! The turning point was a job that I showed up for and they told me I was bigger than they thought and didn’t let me even try on the clothes. I couldn’t believe that this was happening to me and how many other girls this happens to.
If you could give your younger self advice, what would it be?
Stand strong in your convictions. Don’t let people push you around and don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re beautiful as you are.
You’re a body positive role model for young girls around the world, which is much needed. Who is your role model?
My mom! She is a goddess in my eyes and is a warrior. She has always held her head high and I have always looked up to her. I still want to be like her!
The Sports Illustrated shoot is one of your career highlights so far – what would be the next big pinnacle for you?
I would love to do a beauty campaign or break another boundary with a company that wouldn’t normally use a “plus size” girl. Victoria’s Secret? Guess? Call me.
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I just want to say thank you to everybody who has reached out to me, media outlets who have picked this up, and for all the kind comments–I am so overwhelmed with love. I want something like this to be a constant in the media. I want to see diversity in beauty campaigns, shoe ads, glasses ads, hair, jewelry, the list goes on.. I feel so lucky to be given this platform to connect with all of you amazing and beautiful people that I get to share these moments in which WE, collectively, are making history. Thank you a million times over. Body diversity is here to stay. I promise you this. Continue voting if you do want to see more of me in 2018 @si_swimsuit rookie class which would of course be such an honor! Link is in my bio! I love you guys so much. ?
Modelling has been in your blood since day one, having grown up as the daughter of a model. Did you ever consider a different job or has it always been your dream career?
I wanted to be a marine biologist for a little while. I am a water baby and grew up in the ocean!
As well as modelling, you’re an active supporter of 1 Heart 1 Mission. Can you tell us about your involvement with the charity, and why it’s so important to you?
Yes! They are an amazing charity. They are small but impactful! You know where the money is going and kids are so spectacular. I got crocs on board about 2 years ago to gift them all in the orphanage crocs and the photos I got back of the kids brought me to tears. They were so blessed. It puts things in perspective! We take a lot for granted and it’s so crucial to give back.
Finally, would you like to leave a few words of inspiration/advice for our readers?
Please do not compare yourself to anybody but your best self and know that you are beautiful and unique and there is and will ever only be one of you. Treat yourself with love and kindness.
Thank you to the beautiful Hunter McGrady for her time! Check out all the images from her Sports Illustrated shoot here.