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Hunter McGrady wants you to celebrate your body.
The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model recently partnered up with QVC to launch a size-inclusive clothing line titled All Worthy, which ranges from XXS to 5X. The body activist was hands-on in the design process of her collection to ensure shoppers can both look and feel their absolute best, no matter the occasion.
But that’s not the only way the 27-year-old has been making waves. McGrady caused a stir when she proudly flaunted her "quarantine body" to her 654,000 followers on Instagram, urging people to have compassion with themselves while isolating amid the coronavirus pandemic. The picture has since garnered more than 42,000 likes.
McGrady spoke to Fox News about why she’s sharing her “quarantine body” on Instagram, the misconceptions people still have about her, the inspirations behind All Worthy and what audiences can expect for her upcoming SI issue.
Fox News: You recently flaunted your “quarantine body” on Instagram. What’s the story behind that picture?
Hunter McGrady: I have a friend named Anastasia Garcia who is a plus-size photographer. She messaged me one day and said, “I’m seeing a lot of negative talks. What are your thoughts on this?” I agreed with her. She then said, “Let’s create a moment.” She has some girls to post their “quarantine body” on Instagram and say, “Listen, let’s stop putting so much pressure on ourselves.” We don’t need to make this time more stressful than it already is. We’re in a situation that none of us could have possibly prepared for.
We’re still trying to wrap our heads around it. We’re still trying to make sense of quarantine and figure out what this new normal is. And so many people are already struggling with body image. So when Anastasia asked me to do this, I was so on board. And it just created this chain reaction. Girls would reach out to me and say, “This photo made me feel so much better because I didn’t work out for four hours even though I have the time now.” A lot of us are frankly exhausted right now. I think it’s important to continue that self-love journey even in quarantine and self-isolation. Now is the time to really embrace your body, no matter where you are on that journey.
Fox News: What advice would you give to those who are feeling discouraged during these unprecedented times?
McGrady: I’ve been telling people to lay off themselves and be kind instead. Whether you’re working out for an hour or two a day, or just laying around -- find the one thing that makes you smile. For me, I have a playlist and I just turn up the music every single day. It gets me moving. I also go outside and get some sun on my face, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Right now a lot of people are using social media, and there’s a lot of positive things to be found there. It’s a wonderful way to connect with others and get creative. But I think it’s also just as important to disconnect so we don’t become so overwhelmed. It’s important to remember you’re not alone. We’re going through this together.
Fox News: You’ll be appearing in the Sports Illustrated issue for the fourth time. How does it feel to know SI just can’t get enough of you?
McGrady: Oh my God, it’s amazing. Every single year I’m so humbled to be included in such a huge publication. And every year they just outdo themselves. MJ Day, the editor, understands the need for diversity in media. She was really the one who made the decision many years back to include Ashley Graham on the cover and kick off this movement. It was a wonderful move that really opened a lot of people’s eyes to see that we need to see different bodies. We need to see different races, different heights, different shapes, different varieties of people. I can say this year will be more diverse than ever and I’m really proud of it.
Fox News: How was shooting this year’s issue different from the others?
McGrady: For some reason this year, I really went in feeling my absolute best. Any kind of insecurity I had just went out the door… Every year I shed a little bit of that insecurity because let’s face it, we’re all human. I love myself, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have any insecurities. But this year I feel like I really let that out the door and went in feeling with this feeling of just being the best that I can be. And I just had fun with it. I’ve already seen some of the photos and they’re amazing. I just feel really, really great about this issue.
Fox News: What are some misconceptions you feel people still have about you and what’s the reality?
McGrady: I think a lot of people think that [plus-sized models] are able to eat whatever they want. They don’t work out. They just sit at home and lounge around. That is absolutely not the case. I work out with my trainer and I train daily. People for so long have equated a larger size to be unhealthy. The truth of the matter is that I’m more healthy now than I’ve ever been in my life. It’s a stigma that needs to change.
Fox News: What inspired you to launch a clothing line?
McGrady: Even before I started as a model, I’ve always been passionate about clothing and design. And being part of this industry, it just felt like a seamless transition. And I’m really proud that this collection is so size-inclusive. We’re going from size XXS-5X. We’re really catering to a wide array of women. And this is something that I have talked about in every single interview. I believe every line should be size-inclusive. I dream of a world where I can go shopping with my girlfriends and we can all find the same garment in different sizes. Fashion doesn’t end in a certain size. And a lot of us want the same things. So contributing to that has been a dream.
Fox News: How difficult has it been for you to find fashion-forward outfits in your size?
McGrady: Very difficult. There’s always been a kind of notion that you have to cover up certain things. You can’t wear this, you can’t wear that. This is good for you, this is not so good for you. So my options have always been limited. Shopping was always stressful for me and it would give me so much anxiety. Or if you’re invited to a red carpet event, it should be an exciting time. But for me, it’s more like, “I’m going to have to dig deep to find something and hopefully I’ll get lucky.” That or I need to get something custom-made. We’re in the year 2020 and I think it’s time to put that archaic thinking aside, that idea of larger women not having beautiful options.
Fox News: When it comes to the designs, where did some of your inspirations come from?
McGrady: I really looked at what I needed and what my followers needed. I had asked them this past year and a half about what they felt was missing from their closets or things they wish they could enjoy, too. I received so many responses and the creativity came from that. What’s so great about this line is that there’s honestly something for everyone. We wanted to have a wide array of pieces because that was so important. You don’t have to be a plus-size woman and feel you’re missing out because you just can’t find certain things. Missing something from your closet? I’m going to create it for you.
Fox News: At this point in your career, do you still face any kind of pressure from designers to lose weight?
McGrady: That’s still very prevalent in this industry. But I think people have learned that I’m not going to change myself for you. I’m sticking to my guns. I am who I am and I’m not changing for anybody. But the pressure is out there. It may not be said to me personally, but you do see it on social media, on television and magazine ads. I really hope that changes.’