Plus-size model Hunter McGrady is unveiling her “God-given” body once again for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.
The magazine recently revealed the 25-year-old Los Angeles native will be appearing in the 2019 issue in a skimpy swimsuit for the first time.
McGrady previously appeared in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit during the publication’s 2017 Model Search where she posed in body paint. It took a team of several different women painting for over 12 hours to create the seemingly there suit before she frolicked on the beaches of Anguilla. However, Brazilian model Anne de Paula went on to win the fan vote.
Last year, McGrady also appeared in the magazine’s “In Her Own Words,” campaign, where other models painted important words on their bodies to promote female empowerment and body positivity.
“I’m so excited because this will be my third year in SI Swimsuit… but my first year wearing a swimsuit!” McGrady told the magazine, who has already completed her shoot in Costa Rica with photographer James Macari.
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit added that for this year, McGrady will “rock some barely-there bikinis and super-sexy one-pieces.”
In June, McGrady launched a swimsuit collection with London-based lingerie brand Playful Promises that offered an array of sizes. McGrady, a size 16, was eager to inspire other women to feel just as confident stripping down.
“For the longest time, I really struggled with myself and what my body looked like,” McGrady admitted to Fox News at the time. “It almost felt like I was 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 treating it poorly. Not feeding it correctly. Not eating. I was overworking it. I’m speaking extremely negatively to it. And it just really affected me. So God was a huge, huge part of my entire transformation. Not just as a model, but as a person.”
The road to being recognized as Sport’s Illustrated curviest model wasn’t an easy one. While McGrady comes from a family of models she described struggling to stay in shape in hopes of achieving similar success.
McGrady, who launched her modeling career as a teen, stopped at age 16 after she was turned away from a gig and told she wouldn’t be able to fit into the clothes that were meant for a photoshoot. She was about a size 2 at the time.
“I took those years off, from 16 to 18, and just really focused on myself, focused on my health, focused on my mental health which is the most important thing,” she explained. “I had forgotten who Hunter was along the way because I was trying so desperately to be somebody else. Somebody that society told me I should be. So it was at that photoshoot where I realized I couldn’t do this anymore.”
McGrady ultimately discovered the world of plus-size modeling and never looked back. She credited Sports Illustrated Swimsuit for embracing her body and proudly flaunting it in its pages, adding she was “freaking out” after receiving the news.
“It changed my life in so many different ways,” she said. “I knew it was going to have a huge impact on my career. But most importantly, it has opened so many doors for other women and men everywhere.
"It’s allowed me to tell my story and it has hopefully brought to light… the importance of body positivity and loving yourself," McGrady continued. "I knew it was a huge, huge feat for the fashion industry. It’s still being talked about… I think it’s so important to keep the conversation going… What an incredible moment for my career, but also for the story of my life.”