Curve Model and Body Positivity Activist
Hunter McGrady is on the forefront of a very important movement in women’s fashion and women’s history in general. This gorgeous ‘plus size’ model was featured in Sports Illustrated’s 2017 Swimsuit Issue as the curviest model the magazine has ever had in their swimsuit edition. This year, Hunter has been selected for Sports Illustrated’s 2018 Swimsuit Rookie Class, and will be featured for the second year in a row in the SI Swimsuit Issue. In this issue, Hunter and a group of women of all shapes and sizes have come together using fully unedited photos to spread the message of being “sexy at every size.” Within the magazine, Hunter promotes her own body-positive #AllWorthy campaign, and proves to be an unstoppable representation of women of all sizes and colors.
Born and raised in Southern California, Hunter grew up in the Malibu Mountains. She is the child of a former model from Iceland and an actor/artist father. Hunter and her siblings were always home schooled, following their parents around the globe for their work and learning the ins and outs of the modeling and entertainment industries early on.
Hunter has deep rooted seeds at Wilhelmina, the agency where she is now signed. Her mother was personally mentored by the eponymous modelling agency founder, Wilhelmina Cooper. When Hunter followed her dream of moving to New York to pursue modeling, the voluptuous beauty quickly became a signed and working curve model and a part of the Wilhelmina family.
Hunter is extremely passionate about the body positivity movement taking shape in magazines, on social media and all entertainment platforms. She says, “The same industry that created this self-imposed ‘standard’ of beauty is now finally breaking those stagnant rules and setting women free of past antiquated beliefs and stigma.”
Hunter can relate to women of all sizes, having ranged from sizes 4 to 18 throughout her modeling career. Hunter’s hope is to communicate to women that they too can be in love with their own skin — making women feel strong, powerful and confident with how they look and who they are. She believes one day there will no longer be a division of “plus size” or otherwise, we will simply embrace our differences together.
Describe a moment that could’ve broken you, but didn’t. How did you get past the struggle?
After I shot Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, of course I was met with an incredible amount of positive feedback but with that always comes negative feedback as well. I had a flood of negative comments in my inbox and comments on Sports Illustrated’s page about my weight, the way I looked and my health. Instead of letting that get to me, I used it to fuel my fire and give me the strength to keep moving forward. Those people are some of the biggest reasons why I do what I do. They are the un-informed and un-enlightened.
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
You are worthy. You are beautiful in the skin you were given. You don’t have to try to change the body that was beautifully given to you because one day it will take you around the world to inspire people.
Who’s your biggest inspiration and why?
My mother. She has been through everything. Absolutely everything.
She has built empires and lost it all and built it back up again, but she never let any of her children feel as though we were going through it – all while teaching us the value of everything.
She’s never made me feel bad about my body. We were always told we were great and saying, “Why couldn’t/shouldn’t we be doing this or that?” I could tell my mom I wanted to be an astronaut today having never been to school for it and she would say, “Well, you can definitely do that!” She is the strongest, most compassionate fighter that you’ll ever meet in your life. Plus, she has better style than I’ll ever have.
If you could create a slogan for your life, what would it be?
Live fearless, love FIERCE, and act BOLD.
How do you define your purpose & mission in life?
I want to create a safe world where we can all walk down the street and not feel like we have any chains or shackles tied to us. To be set free of societal ideals that have been forced upon us for far too long.