Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Hunter McGrady is a force to be reckoned with.
After only 6 months postpartum, the model and mother of one posed for the iconic SI swimsuit issue, lending a voice to representation in the industry that has been lacking for years. We spoke with Hunter to find out more about her work with SI, her thoughts on what work the industry still needs to do in order to be genuinely inclusive, motherhood and what she’s been up to this year.
Firstly, congratulations! I know you had a baby last year. How’s motherhood been for you so far?
Good! I just I love him so much. It’s such a crazy concept still for me to grasp, when I say my son. It is bizarre, but he’s my heart beating outside of my body. I feel like I’m getting the opportunity to live life again. I am seeing things through his eyes for the first time.
You shot the SI Swimsuit cover 6-months postpartum- What do you love about working with that brand and how does it differ from others in the industry?
I feel like Sports Illustrated is doing the work; they’re putting their money where their mouth is. They aren’t just truly rich in that diversity category. But they’ve also just announced their pay with change initiative where they’re only working with people who are actually really moving the trajectory forward for women.
I’ve worked with other brands that don’t do the work, they just, use a plus size model for advertising, but then behind the scenes, they don’t actually make those clothes, they don’t actually support those kinds of things. I feel like that’s kind of been what a lot of, the fashion industry has been over the last few years. It’s just a lot of brands using the term “body positive” and “inclusivity”, “diversity” as a hot button. And not really, truly diving into what it really means.
What does body positivity mean to you?
It’s funny, because I used to use the term body positivity, so loud and proudly. But now I see so much toxicity around that. I think social media and society and just the entertainment industry as a whole has taken it and just muddied it in so many different ways. So now I prefer body neutral. I think that’s also a more digestible way of speaking on things. You don’t have to love your body every second of every single day and everything about it. You can just be neutral about it, you can just enjoy existing in your body and honoring it and every aspect in every part of your journey that is your body. And I think that is the most important thing.
How do you feel about labels in the industry? Like the term plus size? Do you think that’s something that’s good to have or is that just creating more, division?
There’s a part of me, where I am so proud to be a plus size woman and I think it’s so incredible. But then there is that part of me where I would love a time where I didn’t have to see my name with the word plus size underneath it every single time. It’s like, when I used to tell people I was a model, and they’d be like, huh? And I’d have to say, a plus sized model and only then it would click and make sense for them. And I wish I didn’t have to put that in it, in order for it to make sense.
For instance, I did a Health magazine cover for the January issue and they actually didn’t say anything about my size on the cover. It was just so incredible to see. How nice would it have been to grow up seeing that.
A lot of younger girls and boys struggle with self image and self love-if you could go back to your younger self, what would you tell yourself now?
I think to really be present, and not worry so much about the way you look, because it’s funny how much we think that matters. But at the end of the day, we’re such a selfish race in that, we’re all thinking about ourselves; no one’s actually looking at other people that much, or at least it’s less than we think they are. For instance, I used to go to the beach and think everyone’s staring at my stretch marks and my cellulite. But in reality we’re all really looking at ourselves the most. How we look. So yeah, I think not to worry too much.
You mentioned how the fashion industry still has a lot of work to do. What would you personally like to see happen in the next year, five years and just in the future in the industry?
I would like to see more Fashion designers actually making plus sized clothing. There’s just not enough out there. The demand highly outweighs what is available, and there’s just zero accessibility. I think that we really have a long way to go within that regard.
You created a line, All Worthy, with QVC that’s more inclusive, what made you start it?
I started All Worthy with QVC in 2019. We launched during the pandemic, which was not part of the plan, but you really were able to pivot through it all. I’m super excited, because we’re actually branching into another sector of it coming soon, which is something I’ve been really wanting to dive into. It’s just awesome!
I was the first to bring this kind of size inclusion to QVC and our sizes range from, extra extra small to Plus 5x. And then we have three inseams, because inclusivity doesn’t stop at just size, it also has height. I’m six foot so my girlfriend’s who are five foot one are not going wear the same inseam. It’s been awesome to be a little part of the change that’s happening in the fashion world.
What else are you working on this year that you can tell us about?
I am an ambassador for Olay, which is incredible because I love them as a brand. Again, it’s so nice as a plus size woman to be one of the faces of a skincare and beauty brand. That is something I never grew up seeing. It’s a one size fits all so I don’t know why it was ever an issue before. I’m also a Thinks ambassador, which is period underwear. I think having those uncomfortable conversations is so important and I just I love that I get these opportunities to work with these incredible brands and really make a change and do things that I love to do with incredible people.