SI swim model Hunter McGrady talk turns
Fox411: Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Hunter McGrady describes pre-fame battle, tells curvy figure
Sports Illustrated new Hunter McGrady is happy to dive into her latest project, swimwear.
The plus-size model launches a new collection with the London-based lingerie brand Playful Promises and she is determined to make a big splash in the fashion world by offering a range of sizes.
McGrady, who at a size of 16 stunned the public when she posed in body paint and skimpy bikinis for SI, is eager to inspire women feel just as self-conscious to strip.
Fox News spoke with McGrady about the cooperation with Playful Promises and her journey to become a body image activist.
Fox News: What inspired you to launch a swimwear collection with a Playful Promises?
Hunter McGrady: I always wanted to do this for as long as I can remember. I was born and raised in Malibu. I’ve also worked with Playful Promises for and I love everything they represent.
And I thought that now, it was so needed. We need more swimwear for large sizes. There is not enough. I can really only count with my one hand, stores online, that I am able to buy swimwear. That’s a shame, but times are changing.
Fox News: do you think it is better for women of different sizes to be accepted in the fashion world?
McGrady: That is a loaded question, and here is why. I think we are definitely on that path of acceptance when it comes to all of the body measurements, which is great. And I’m excited to be in the foreground. But on the other hand, there are still designers still have a backlog of [that] do not take that chance. They miss the public.
You know, 67 percent of the women in America are a size 14 and now, this year, with a size of 16 and above. So they will miss more than half of the population. I think that we certainly have come a long way, especially within the last five years with brands like Michael Kors, Sports Illustrated – the big names are taking that chance. And it is for them to work. So I think that once more people start to do that, it’s going to catch on.
Fox News: Where is your faith come from?
McGrady: My confidence comes from me, inside. I had to really teach myself to love myself. It took a long time and it is a daily struggle for me. But I’ll do it.
I literally look in the mirror and I say to myself, “Hunter, you’re beautiful. That you are confident. You are strong. Your stretch marks are beautiful, your cellulite is beautiful. You are worthy of. You are worthy of to put on that bathing suit and strutting your stuff in front of everybody.” It takes one person to do that, so that other people can follow.
Fox News: can you describe that moment when you realized this was your “God-given body” and you’re going to embrace it?
McGrady: For the longest time, I struggled with myself and what my body looked like… It felt almost as if I were offending God, in my opinion, to not love my body. This is me 100 percent. This is the body I was given and I was really in the treatment of the poor. It is not conduct of the understanding. Not to eat. I was overloading. I speak very negatively. And it just really struck me. So God was a huge part of my entire transformation. Not only as a model but as a person.
That last moment was on a photo shoot. I was 16 years old and 6 feet tall. I was sent away and said, “We don’t think you’re going to be able to fit into these clothes.” I was not even given the chance to try them on. For me that was a real eye-opener. I realized that I couldn’t do for myself anymore. I had to stop sabotaging myself. There is no way this is now my life.
If this is what my huge modeling dream is going to be, I’m there. So I took that year, from 16 to 18 years old, and just really focused on myself, focused on my health, focused on my mental health, that is the most important… I had forgotten that Hunter was along the way because I was trying so desperately to someone else. Someone who society told me I should be. So it was on that photoshoot where I realized that I couldn’t do this anymore.
Fox News: How do you deal with the criticism today?
McGrady: There is always someone who says something negative about you. I get all the time. My mother and my father both taught me at a young age and they’re both in the entertainment industry – that you will never make everyone happy, so make yourself happy.
I also take matters in my own hands. There Is a section on Instagram, where you can block mean, hot-button words. And I have a huge list of words that I avoid, so there are no negative reactions on my Instagram, because I have control of that. I don’t want to see that.
Fox News: How did Sports Illustrated change your life?
McGrady: It has changed in so many different ways. I knew it was going to be a huge impact on my career. But even more important, it opened many doors for other women and men everywhere. It is permitted for me to tell my story and it has hopefully brought to light… the importance of body positivity and loving yourself. I knew it was a huge, huge accomplishment for the fashion industry. It is still spoken about… Just coming back for a second year was incredible. I think it’s so important to keep the conversation going.
Fox News: What went through your mind when you learned Sports Illustrated wanted you to be in their magazine?
McGrady: I was freaking out. (Laughs.) Honestly? I was not really shocked, because, why wouldn’t they want me? We need to actually start thinking about ourselves in a positive way. As women, we have to tear each other apart.
We tell ourselves that we are not good enough. We should have warped those thoughts and instead thinking, “They want me. I have all the skills they need, and I am here.” But of course in time, my first thought was, “Oh my God, I can’t believe this is happening. What an incredible moment for my career, but also for the story of my life.”