Hunter McGrady On Body Positivity, Finding Love In The Digital Age + Why She Refuses To Lose Weight For Her Upcoming Wedding

Hunter McGradyPhoto Credit: Hunter McGrady

Hunter McGrady is having the year of her life.  The gorgeous “curve” model—who made her mark as the curviest model ever to be featured within the “Sports Illustrated” Swim Issue—will grace the issue for a third consecutive year this May. She’ll also be marrying the love of her life in June 2019 (she met him on Snapchat!) and has been a mouthpiece for brides who may be outside of the traditional cookie-cutter sizing and style.

Born and raised in the Malibu Mountains of Southern California, McGrady is the child of a former model from Iceland and actor/artist, Michael McGrady and model Brynja McGrady (who herself was personally mentored by the eponymous modeling agency founder, Wilhelmina Cooper); a major reason why Hunter herself signed with Wilhelmina when she decided to pursue a career in the modeling world.

Hunter has been a size 4 to 18 and can relate to women of all sizes. Her dream is to communicate to women that they too can be in love within their own skin, and be strong, powerful and confident.

Here, we talk to this fabulous body positivity advocate about the Swim Issue, finding love in the digital age and why—unlike most brides—she doesn’t plan on turning her wedding into a weight loss journey.

Hunter McGradyPhoto Credit: Ovidiu Hrubaru/

What does it mean for you to be included within SI’s infamous Swim Issue for the 3rd year in a row, especially when the issue focuses on diversity?

This issue is what I believe their most diverse issue yet. I am forever so proud to be a part of it because Sports Illustrated is changing the game and is on the very forefront of highlighting how beautiful and critical diversity is!

As a body positivity advocate, you hope to engage all types of women – not just those in the “plus size” community. Why is being inclusive of everyone so important to you?

From day one I have always said, body diversity is not just for plus size women. The very definition of diversity is “variety” and so it’s important to showcase all body types, all races, all heights, just absolutely everybody. Everyone should feel seen and heard and feel represented and however they identify, that they have a place in media, fashion, and the world.

Hunter McGradyPhoto Credit: Hunter McGrady

You met your fiancé, Brian Keys, on Snapchat – What was it like finding love in a digital age?

It was the last place I thought I would ever meet my husband, but this is the 21st century! It was so unexpected and wild and all happened so fast. He messaged me on a Wednesday and we met on a Friday and haven’t been without ever since!

Your wedding is just a few months away! How are you prepping and planning in between all of the madness of your career? Is there anything you can share with us about the big day?

It’s coming up so fast!! I really have been trying to not stress about it because I know that if I do, it’ll get to me. I’m not at all a “bridezilla” and am very go with the flow. I picked really great vendors that have similar vision as I do so I can kind of let them do what they see fit ultimately.

Hunter McGradyPhoto Credit: Hunter McGrady

Most brides go crazy with weight lost before the big day, trying to create the perfect illusion for that one day. As someone with body positivity, are you for that because it’s a one-day event, or against it and why?

A wedding should not be your weight loss journey. I always say, your fiancé asked you to marry them as you are! I see so many women get so stressed about being a certain size that they forget what it’s all about. At the end of the day It’s about you making this wonderful commitment with your partner.

What do you do every day to make yourself feel sexy, strong and amazing?

I love to do SoulCycle and get all sweaty! I always feel so great after and always pick the bike right up front facing the mirror! It makes a big difference!

Hunter McGradyPhoto Credit: Ovidiu Hrubaru/

What does Brian do for you to make you feel the same way? Can you share the most romantic thing he’s done for you recently?

He is the sweetest ever. I really am so blessed to have a man like him! He will buy me flowers just because or he’ll leave me a card when I get home from a work trip that says something like “Welcome home, I’ve missed you so much!!!” He is really thoughtful.

Did the spot in Central Park where he proposed have significance to your relationship?

It didn’t before but it does now! Anytime I see pictures of it or when it is in movies, I get butterflies inside. It’s such a stunning place! Now Bridge in Central Park!


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If there was one thing you would want others to know about body positivity, what would it be? What is truly important for every woman to know, and how are you trying to get this message across?

That body positivity means acceptance of ALL body types! I get the comment “this is what a real woman looks like!” On my photos and I think that’s the dumbest comment. A real woman is a real woman no matter what her size. We need to celebrate everyBODY!

What’s next for you career-wise this year? What are your goals for the remainder of 2019?

I would love to create a clothing line and continue to speak around the world. Both of these are in the works…