Plus-size model Hunter McGrady has a lot to celebrate as she becomes the curviest model to ever appear in Sports Illustrated‘s swimsuit edition.
The 23-year-old is one of the magazine’s Rookies of the Year, according to People, as the site states Hunter wasn’t always a curvy model.
“McGrady didn’t get her start as a curvy model. She spent years dieting to force her body to stay just around 115 lbs. despite her 5’11” height, because she thought there was no chance she would get modeling jobs at a higher weight.”
The article goes into detail of McGrady’s interview with Sports Illustrated as she discusses her early days as a model. Hunter says she didn’t get a lot of gigs despite being thin as she had larger hips than other “straight” models.
“I didn’t work very much as a straight sized model because I am a very hippy person.”
Hunter goes on to say it was when she was 19 and she saw other curvy women— Robyn Lawley, Tara Lynn, and Candice Huffine— on the Vogue Italia cover that she realized she could have a career as a plus-size model.
“…’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. And that’s what kind of opened my eyes to the plus size world.”
She then states she was signed with Wilhelmina and received one job after another. However, prior to landing these jobs, Hunter said she thought she had to give up on her dream of modeling as was curvier than the typical model.
“At first I thought my dream was crushed because I didn’t know about the curve or plus industry.”
McGrady says she’s grateful to SI for featuring women of different sizes as the world works towards body acceptance.
“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.”
According to People, Hunter said Sports Illustrated is the end goal most models strive towards. She added that she wants all women to feel comfortable in their skin as she poses in the swimsuit edition.
Okay guys now is the fun part! Voting is open NOW (link Is in my bio!!) to vote if you want to see more of me in the 2018 SI rookie class!!! Vote as many times as you want and repost!! I love you all and thank you so much for all the support. You have no idea how full my heart is today. It is crucial to continue this revolution that IS happening. The world needs more of this right now--more love and acceptance of everyBODY. You are beautiful in your skin. You are beautiful BECAUSE of your size--at EVERY size! I love you and THANK YOU. Go vote!! ????
A post shared by Hunter McGrady (@huntermcgrady) on
“The fact that they’re using a curvy model is beyond my wildest dreams. I’m doing this not only for me, but for every woman out there who has ever felt uncomfortable in their body, and needs to know that you are sexy.”
Hunter shared several of photos from the shoot on her Instagram as she celebrated the accomplishment with her 192,000 followers. In the first photo, McGrady says being featured in Sports Illustrated is a “surreal moment.”
“This is a surreal moment for me. You guys I have been bursting to tell you all about this!”
She then goes on to say beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and she never felt sexier as she did in the SI shoot.
“Beauty is not a number. It has no limits. I have never felt sexier than I did in this shoot.”
Hunter went on to dedicate the photo to any and all women who may feel insecure as media doesn’t represent curvier body types.
“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…”
As to be expected, Hunter’s followers celebrated the moment with her as they left comments calling her “amazing” and saying she looks great in the swimsuit photos.
“Congrats!!! I love seeing you live your dream! You look absolutely stunning I’m so proud of you!”
[Featured Image by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images]