When Hunter McGrady graced the pages of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit in 2016 at a size 18, she broke barriers as their “curviest model ever.” But the star insisted she doesn’t wake up every day feeling like a pinup.
“People often ask me, ‘What’s the secret to confidence, what’s the formula?’” said McGrady for her new cover story shoot with digital magazine Story + Rain released on Friday. “There is none. I still have bad days. To be quite honest, today was one of them. Yesterday was one of them, where all you want to do is lay around, and you don’t want to work on the things you have to do. You don’t feel so great about yourself.”
“It’s OK to have those days,” the 27-year-old continued. “I know it doesn’t define who I am and that confidence is a journey. I always say, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither is confidence.’ You’re going to be chipping away at it forever, but something beautiful is going to come from it.”
McGrady said her family never made her feel different at any point in her life. In fact, she was encouraged to embrace who she was, no matter her size.
Hunter McGrady says she responds to her critics with kindness.
“My mother never made my body an issue. Never,” McGrady told the outlet. “She always celebrated it. She’s from Iceland. We’re very comfortable with who we are in our bodies. She used to always say, and still does, ‘Talking about your body and your weight is so boring. It’s the least interesting thing to talk about. It’s the least interesting thing about you.’ That’s the mindset I grew up with. Thankfully.”
McGrady told the magazine’s founder and editor-in-chief Tamara Rappa on a recent podcast that when it comes to featuring plus-size models, the fashion industry has a long way to go.
“As a plus-sized model – you kind of have to demand the equal treatment and that is what I think [is] the hardest about it,” she explained. “You have to be very loud because you know whether or not we like it, things are changing but at a very slow pace. So, you know, you kind of have to make your space in this industry.”
Back in 2020, McGrady told Fox News that people still have misconceptions about plus-size models.
Model Hunter McGrady attends Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2018 Launch Event at Magic Hour at Moxy Times Square on February 14, 2018, in New York City.
(Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)
“A lot of people think that [plus-sized models] are able to eat whatever they want,” she said at the time. “They don’t work out. They just sit at home and lounge around. That is absolutely not the case. I work out with my trainer, and I train daily. People for so long have equated a larger size to be unhealthy. The truth of the matter is that I’m more healthy now than I’ve ever been in my life. It’s a stigma that needs to change.”
McGrady said she’s not only grateful for her body, but she’s refusing to change herself for any designer.
“I’m sticking to my guns,” she said. “I am who I am, and I’m not changing for anybody. But the pressure is out there. It may not be said to me personally, but you do see it on social media, on television and magazine ads. I really hope that changes.”