Sunday 16 June 2019

Meet model Hunter McGrady, the curviest model to ever appear in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue

Plus size model Hunter McGrady
Plus size model Hunter McGrady Newsdesk Newsdesk

26-year-old model Hunter McGrady is the curviest model to ever appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue and it's all because of a model search.

The American model posed nude on the beach, wearing only a cut-out swimsuit applied by bodypaint, but said she had no qualms about the set-up as she no longer struggles with body confidence.

When she first began her modelling career as a teeanger, Hunter said she struggled to find work as a "straight sized" model despite being 5'11" and weighing just 115 pounds - that is, until she learned about the burgeoning plus-size modelling industry.

"It was actually Robyn Lawley, Tara Lynn and Candice Huffine on the Vogue Italia cover," she explained of her change in career path.

"I saw that and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, these women are so beautiful and they are my size.’ By that time, I had gained some weight and I was about a size 10-12(US).

"And that’s what kind of opened my eyes to the plus size world. I went into Wilhelmina and I got signed and from there, it was like one job after another. At first I thought my dream was crushed because I didn’t know about the curve or plus industry.

"And over the past seven years, people have started talking about it and it’s in the media now and I’m so grateful that Sports Illustrated is promoting it because it’s a movement that I’m so proud to be a part of."

The California native said she hopes her turn in the mag, which featured size 18 model Ashley Graham on the cover last year as well as a spread with curvy model Robyn Lawley, is to inspire women to love their body "at any size".

""My main goal is to get across to women that you are able to love your body at any size and that you're sexy and beautiful at any size. Beauty is not a size and I'm really happy that the industry is accepting body diversity," she said.

Hunter was named as the magazine's Rookie of the Year after she won a competition to feature.

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