Sports Illustrated‘s annual swimsuit issue has always been a hot topic. Last year, size 16 model Ashley Graham graced the cover. The stunning plus-size model and television personality created a lot of buzz by becoming the most voluptuous woman to ever appear on the magazine. But Sports Illustrated is looking to push the envelope even more by unveiling their newest (and hottest!) centerfold yet—Hunter McGrady.
Hunter McGrady was picked from a Model Search Contest hosted by the magazine. She boasts the curviest stats in all of Sports Illustrated history, standing 5’11”, with a 45-inch bust and a 38-inch waist. McGrady’s involvement with the magazine marks yet another important step forward in creating a body-positive industry.
Hunter McGrady Embraces Her Curves in ‘Sports Illustrated’
Hunter McGrady is Sports Illustrated‘s newest star. In the midst of her stunning debut, the model has one request: don’t label her plus-size.
“‘Curve’ I find is a more glamorous way of saying it. ‘Plus-size’ has just gotten this dirty stigma. But I would love no labels at all,” 23-year-old McGrady told People. “I would love to be able to tell people that I’m a model and not have to clarify that I’m a plus-size model.”
McGrady is not the first model to shun the term plus-size. Several Australian models banded together to start the campaign #droptheplus back in 2015. They were prompted to start such movement after seeing a lot of skinny models advocate for body positivity. As for McGrady, she feels as if the term segregates her from other models in the industry, making fashion seem exclusive for those who fall under a size 0.
“I think it’s a form of segregation,” McGrady said. “I think it sets us back so many years, and I would love to completely get rid of it, and it may not happen, but we’re working on it.”
However, McGrady’s success did not happen overnight. When she was just beginning her career as a model eight years ago, she struggled to keep her body statistics below a size 5. McGrady recalls going through rigorous exercises and dieting to make her hips appear smaller. The stress took a toll on both of her physical and mental health and she ended up giving up on her dream.
As fate would have it, McGrady came across Wilhelmina Models, one of the few agencies in the United States that sign curve models. Since signing with Wilhelmina, she developed a successful career in the industry. McGrady posted this inspiration message on her Instagram to encourage women to chase after their dreams despite the odds stacked against them.
“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.”