Plus-Size Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Hunter McGrady Says Being Size 16 Made Her Career

Plus-size model Hunter McGrady says her modeling career took off when she went from size 2 to size 14 and gained weight.

Swimsuit model Hunter McGrady doesn’t like the label “plus-size.”

She thinks it segregates her as a talent.

Point taken.

There’s no denying, however, that her skyrocketing career is growing in size every day.

Her latest triumph is being featured in this year’s “Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition.”

Hunter is very clear on what has been the secret to her success.

Gaining weight.

She tells she spent hours at the gym and tried crazy diets to keep her 5’11” body at 114 lbs.  Even at that, as a size 2, she wasn’t getting jobs. She was told she was still too big.

She says, “My hips were always the bigger part of my body, and I was already so thin that I couldn’t keep shaving them down. I physically could not. And everyone was telling me that I could,” McGrady, 23, tells PEOPLE. “At that time I thought my dreams of becoming a model were crushed.”

She shared on her Instagram account just how miserable she was.

#flashbackfriday At age 15 I was told by 4 agencies that I needed to lose 3 inches off of my hips to be a model which would have put me at a size 00. I would desperately work out for hours and eat few calories per day, HOPING I could fit the bill. It wasn’t until 18 years old, 3 years of insecurities brought on because I thought I wasn’t good enough, that I wouldn’t measure up! I realized that my body was not built to be that thin. Today, I’m so thankful I’m able to pursue my dream and still promote a healthy body image. He will fill the desires of your heart! Chains are broken! I see it in so many young girls these days who are striving to have a thigh gap, or for their hip bones to stick out, or to fit a size 0. Not everyone’s body structure is made like that. Be the healthiest you, you can be. Be active, use the things God provided for you, focus on HIM and Embrace the body The Lord gave you! HE CREATED YOU IN HIS PERFECT IMAGE! You can’t deny his sweet creations!

A post shared by Hunter McGrady (@huntermcgrady) on

Finally, when she was about 18, she decided to accept her body the way it was meant to be.

“I love my body now. I love everything about it,” she says. “I’ve been an 18, I’ve been a 10/12, and I’ve been everything in between. Right now I sit at a 14/16, and I love it, because this is my God-given body.”

Hunter was a perfect fit when Sports Illustrated decided to feature body diversity in this year’s swimsuit issue.

She shared the magic of painting on a swimsuit in this video.

Hunter dedicated her SI shoot to every woman who has ever felt uncomfortable in her body.

She wrote,

“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!” she wrote.

“You are beautiful. You are STRONG. You are powerful and together we need to lift each other up and inspire one another. There’s too much going on on this world to let each other fall by the wayside.”

I think Hunter’s spirit and huge heart just might be the most gorgeous thing about her!

And if you like stories about overcoming obstacles, you might like my book,  “Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog.”

final front cover




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Plus-Size Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Hunter McGrady Says Being Size 16 Made Her Career

by DarynKagan time to read: 2 min
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