In what feels like an endless scroll of unattainable bodies and faces on Instagram, model and activist Hunter McGrady is the “it” girl you never knew you needed. She’s taking over the fashion industry in more ways than one, and remaining humble af while she does it.
Her new fashion line, All Worthy by Hunter McGrady, recently launched with QVC. Think style meets comfort, with no limitations. With inclusive sizes ranging from XXS to 5X, McGrady is at the forefront of an important movement in women’s fashion and history—style for everybody, regardless of their size.
When she’s not designing beautiful clothing, you can find McGrady gracing the pages of Sports Illustrated, using her platform to uplift others, and donating her time and efforts to charity work.
I caught up with McGrady to ask her about her experience as a fashion model, what working in the industry was like for someone who’s not a size 0, what inspires her to keep going, and more.
On Her Journey As A Model
“So, I started in this business when I was 16 years old. I was six feet tall and about a size two. I was consistently told to lose weight off my hips, to lose inches, I mean—it was just a constant, ‘change this, change that.’ I was a kid, I wasn’t even developed, and I was still being told to lose weight. From ages 16 to 18, I tried being a straight-sized model and it was just really going against my natural body and how it was supposed to sit. It was also going against everything I started to believe in. Fast forward, I took a few years off, and at age 20 I started plus-size modeling. I had no idea about it because, again, this was something that was still very new. I never grew up seeing plus-size models. It was just not something that was in my magazines. I started plus-size modeling at size 14. I really had grown into my body and learned to love it after therapy and self-love, and finding who I was. Now I’ve been modeling for gosh, seven years.”
On Inclusive Brands
“To be completely transparent, there’s not a ton . I’ve always been a fan of Christian Siriano, he gets it every time. He always puts plus on the runway, he dresses the plus-size actresses. It’s funny, because I am friends with a couple of these girls who go to the Golden Globes, The Emmys, The Oscars, and we always joke about, “that’s it.” Of course, Jason Wu dresses larger, and there are some others as well, but it’s still very small. We are progressing, but very slowly. I would love to see more high-end designers jump on this train because, I mean, it’s 2020. 72% of America is a size 16 or above. The demand is outweighing the supply. I would love to see these companies take this chance. I think it’s a beautiful thing, bringing in a new fresh customer who has the money and is willing to spend. I still can’t go shop on Fifth Avenue or in SoHo… it doesn’t exist for me, and that’s crazy.”
On Areas Of The Industry That Need Improvement
“Brands across the board. Things you wouldn’t even think about. I mean, even finding underwear and lingerie for a larger girl is so hard, I can’t even tell you, and that’s a necessity. I always encourage brands to make a change, make a change past XL . That’s not inclusive. I’m talking like really go up- 2X, 3X, 4X, 28, 30. Go larger, because the customer is there, and she WILL buy.”
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I’ve seen lots of negative “self talk” during this time, especially about our bodies. I think so many of us are feeling the pressures of having to fill every hour and every minute of the time we have right now. The truth is, we are going through a traumatic crisis and we may have the time in our days but most of us do not have the mental capacity. This is an event that none of us could have ever prepped for and our minds are still trying to wrap our head around this. I ask that you be kind to your body, Nurture your body, Love on your body fiercely,respect it, and even better, be PROUD of it. It’s getting you through this time! I stand with @anastasiagphoto to stop the body shame and love yourself, even during times of crisis. Here’s #MyQuarantineBody ❤️
On Her Own Brand, All Worthy
“I was so fed up with plus-size women getting basically cut from fashion and not having fashionable things to wear. I felt like we were always put in something that was an afterthought. What is great and cool about my line is that it is designed from a plus-size perspective, and then sized down. In fashion, you will typically find the opposite. I just wanted to create fashionable pieces that look fabulous on everybody, and I believe that fashion is for every body, every size, every age. I was so sick of talking to my girlfriends that were smaller than me and saying, “omg, I love this dress, where did you get it?” and them naming a store where I could never shop. It’s nice to be able to have the same exact item, whether it’s XXS or 5X, where it costs the same too. For the fall line, I wanted to create something cozy and comfortable. I love mixing fashion and function… A lot of us right now are home, which is kind of perfect, because my whole aesthetic is kind of comfortable. I had already thought about this prior , and now we’re home, so it works.”
On Social Media And Its Impact
I think social media can be such a blessing but can also be such a curse. I had to learn that I have the power to follow people who make me feel good, people who resonate with me, people who are authentic. I can’t be in Bali every day with a fruit basket in the water with my boyfriend, that’s just not my realistic life. It looks fabulous, but for the majority, that’s just not what it is.
I had to do an and say, ‘ok I want to follow people who make me feel great,’ because I was noticing it was kind of seeping in, and I know this is the case for a lot of other people. This measuring up. ‘Why am I not doing XYZ? How come they did this?’ I think that social media is one of the biggest catalysts right now in the mental health problem in our world, and now we’re moving into TikTok and Facebook, and of course, it’s so fun… and I am not saying don’t look at that stuff, but just be cautious of who you are following. Follow people who have your same values and morals, people that make you feel good. We have the power to do that.
I know I try to be as realistic as I can on social media. I mean, the other day I was talking about nipple hair and butt acne—things that are opening the door for this conversation in women. I got such an overwhelming response of people being like, ‘wow I felt so alone in this.’ It was really eye-opening to me because we really shouldn’t . Social media can be this place to have these conversations. It’s important to find those people that, again, make you feel good and make you feel heard. That’s what we all want at the end of the day, to feel heard.”
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LETS TALK ABOUT BUTTS!!!! Earlier today I shared a story basically telling my followers that I don’t remember a time where I DIDNT have some kind of ingrown or pimple in between my legs and on my butt. I got an influx of DMs from both women AND men saying that they felt they were the ONLY ones to experience this. Welp. Let’s normalize it!!!! I’ve never in my life had a smooth, pimple free butt, I’ve never had smooth inner thighs that didn’t have discoloration or ingrowns, and I’ve never been without cellulite and stretch marks! It’s important to remember that what we see on social media is quite literally a “perfected” version of ourselves (I’m guilty of this too sometimes) and because we’re so used to seeing that in others, we feel alone in instances like this but alas, You’re very much not alone. Let’s be butt pimple friends, welcome to the club 😆❤️
On Using Her Platform For Good
“I think the most important thing when you have a platform, you have a responsibility to talk about things that you are passionate about. Anything across the board, that is how we are lending our voices these days. I have used my platform to be loud about equality, body positivity, different movements, mental health, and as far as the fashion industry goes, I have no problem calling people (and brands) out who I find are hindering the progression of fashion and moving forward and inclusivity. Inclusivity across the board. For the last three fashion weeks, I have taken a stand and not attended any fashion shows that weren’t inclusive. Let me tell you, I had to turn down 60+ shows and I think that has been very eye-opening.
I encourage my friends to put our money where our mouth is. Dollars speak. We have to support brands that support us in our everyday life. Even my girlfriends who are women of color; I want to support them and buy from companies who are supporting them. There is still a long way to go.”
On Her Role Models And Influencers You SHOULD Follow
I have to shout out some of my girlfriends. Katie Sturino (@katiesturino) is one of my very very close friends. She keeps it so real—there is zero B.S. behind anything she does. Sarah Landry (@thebirdspapaya), she is absolutely amazing. She is a mom of three with one on the way, and she has a totally different perspective. She’s not plus, but she’s just a beautiful human. I love Maxey Greene (@maxeygreene), she has a really fun perspective. Right now, she’s pregnant, but she’s plus-sized, another thing that is never talked about in the media. You never see it. How your bump maybe doesn’t look totally perfect—so any plus-size pregnant mommas that have come to me, I’m like, ‘omg go check out Maxey. She’s amazing, she’s glowing, she’s a goddess.’ I would go through who I’m following, because I’m very proud of who I follow, and everyone has a very positive message.”
On Tips For Loving Yourself
“At 16 when I was told I had to lose weight, and then losing the weight and being so small, that really ended up being a huge detriment to my mental health. I struggled with depression and anxiety my entire life. I went to therapy and my therapist said, ‘Hunter, I want you to take a shower, I want you to take your makeup off, I want you to slick your hair back and look at yourself in the mirror naked and tell yourself 10 things that you want to love about yourself.’ I thought it was so crazy and sounded so silly, but whatever I am just going to appease her. I went home and I did it, and I broke down and felt very emotional. I realized that that’s what I needed to continue doing, and I’ve done it every single day since (not naked after the shower) just looking at myself in the mirror and doing affirmations. Telling myself how worthy I am to just see even another day here. My body has taken me here, my heart is still beating. Affirmations truly changed my life. The way our mind works, our mind follows, and what we tell it is what we believe. So, if we were so convinced the sky is gray, we would think the sky is gray. Think about that with your body, tell yourself how beautiful you are, how worthy and valued you are. That is one thing I have done for 15+ years and I always tell people, listen, it changed my life. Do it, trust me I know it sounds silly. I do it when I’m driving and everyone probably looks at me like I’m a cook but I don’t care because it’s what we need.”
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Maybe one of my favorite pictures of all time of me. I knew taking it that it would be. I felt sexy, I felt sure of myself, and utterly confident. You know, sometimes I don’t feel this way during shoots. I’m human, I have bad days and good days. I have days where I feel like a bad photo is inevitable because i don’t like my hair or my clothes or my poses, or my body, but then I look back and realize it wasn’t the photo, it wasn’t the hair, it wasn’t the clothes, or the poses or the body but rather the way I was thinking about myself that was the problem. Again, I’m human! We all have these days, albeit sometimes mine get captured. I always try to enter every day, every shoot, every encounter with the intention to have confidence, energy, and grace. ❤️
On Four Consecutive ‘Sports Illustrated’ Spreads
“The fourth time feels like the first time. It’s still just as surreal and it’s still such a “pinch me” moment. I never thought as a size 18, which I am now, that I would be in a magazine like Sports Illustrated, but that just goes to show how amazing Sports Illustrated is. They really have been at the forefront of this entire inclusive movement. The reaction is always incredible. I get women being like ‘thank you so much’ because it’s nice to feel represented. I’m like, ‘don’t thank me, thank SI.’ It takes these publications to put women like me in them. We need to be seen, representation matters. It’s been amazing and I feel very proud to be a part of that family. Every year I feel like it’s more and more diverse.”
Another day, another unnecessary opinion getting posted on the internet. I can say that, as someone whose unnecessary opinions get posted on the internet all the time. In my case, they tend to trend towards things like the pivotal Best Kiss Award at the 2005 VMAs or why Love Island is the most important show in the history of television. You know, harmless stuff. But in the case of English journalist Tanya Gold, unnecessary opinions tend to include things like campaigning against a sports brand for having the audacity to show some love to a criminally neglected audience: plus-size women.
In an piece for The Telegraph titled “Obese mannequins are selling women a dangerous lie,” Tanya Gold rails against Nike for the inclusion of plus-size mannequins in their flagship London store. Except, according to Gold, these human-shaped crimes against humanity are not just plus-size: “the new Nike mannequin is not size 12, which is healthy, or even 16 – a hefty weight, yes, but not one to kill a woman. She is immense, gargantuan, vast. She heaves with fat.”
“She heaves with fat” is the kind of thing I whisper while I watch my cat try to climb onto the windowsill in my bedroom, but yes it’s also a totally acceptable thing for a grown woman to say about an inanimate object built to showcase clothing.
Hey @Telegraph #tanyagold this plus size athlete has run 5 marathons, an Olympic triathlon, 2 tough mudders, a 42 mile ultramarathon and hundreds of other races and ALL in this Fat size 18 body!! If you are ever in need of some coaching to help you with your worthyness call me!!! pic.twitter.com/RWZBW1B1Vj
— Too Fat to Run? (@Fattymustrun) June 10, 2019
Before diving into this mess of bigotry masquerading as concern, let’s get something straight really quick. The plus-size mannequin, while an inclusive and realistic representation of many women and a progressive step in the fashion industry, is first and foremost a savvy business decision. Nike launched a plus-size collection in 2017. Since the addition of these mannequins, searches of “Nike” and “plus size” have sky-rocketed. As a brand that is no stranger to using controversial statements to boost sales, a move like this shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Does any of that negate the positive effect these mannequins have had on women who finally feel like they’re being catered to by one of the world’s biggest brands? That’s a conversation for another day. (But the answer is no, it doesn’t.)
After insulting the plastic person that has apparently ruined her life, Gold pivots to her apparent hatred of the advertising industry, complete with a quote from Don Draper. You know an argument is about to be relevant when it’s building its foundation on a TV show that ended four years ago.
“Advertising has always bullied women, but this is something more insidious.” As someone who works in advertising, I find this line of attack equal parts tired and one-dimensional. But we don’t even have time to focus on that argument before Gold starts listing all of the different body-ideals foisted upon women by the media, ranging from “the spindly, starved creature” to “the Kim Kardashian.”
It’s no secret that women are held to an unrealistic beauty standard, one that has a tendency to drastically impact our entire lives. But using that idea as a basis to justify fat-shaming is both hilarious and misguided. This woman got so turned around in her own logic that she stumble onto a trail leading towards actual rational thought.
You see, somehow, on the way to her argument as to why overweight mannequins shouldn’t be allowed in public, Gold has outlined the very reason that they serve as a beacon of hope to so many: because they’ve never been featured there before. That plus-size mannequin is standing proudly (or as proudly as she can being headless and also not alive) next to a size two mannequin in a major location of a global brand. That’s a big deal for a lot of people, which naturally means someone had to try and tear it down.
But Gold is too busy to notice that because she’s out here, leading a crusade against everything from Nike to the advertising industry to porn to video games to Kim Kardashian for unfairly dictating women’s appearances….all while writing an op-ed attempting to unfairly dictate women’s appearances.
“I would never want a woman to hate herself for what she finds in the looking-glass,” says Gold. Unless that woman is overweight and looking for athletic clothes to wear so that she can perhaps change that fact. Or to lounge in around the house because they’re comfortable. Or to wear because she’s a f*cking human and is allowed to buy overpriced athleisure just like the rest of us.
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but overweight people need workout clothes, too. Just because someone is large does not mean they are unhealthy. Big women can run marathons and lift weights and do sports and live their lives and perhaps punch women who try to tell them otherwise in the face if they are so inclined. And even if they are unhealthy, it’s not up to some woman with a word processor and access to a short-sighted editor to decide what they get to wear.
Wow @Telegraph – nice job with the Tanya Gold click bait. I look like that @nike mannequin, and I’ve done a 10k, a half, & a marathon this year. And there’s another 10k & a half coming up. If you think obese women can’t run you’ve clearly been living under a rock. pic.twitter.com/Pb2rFM5sRd
— Tegwen Tucker (@tegwentucker) June 9, 2019
Perhaps it never occurred to Gold that these mannequins, this kind of mainstream representation from a fitness brand, could give overweight people the confidence to actually start exercising. The road to wellness is daunting and overwrought with obstacles as is, God forbid Nike try and make it a little smoother for people who are already inclined to avoid it.
Gold’s outrage is built upon the fact that this “fat acceptance” movement will stop overweight people from trying to change their lifestyle, but she also doesn’t want to give them the means to do so. Almost sounds like she cares less about their well-being and more about being an intolerant asshole.
TL;DR: Hate Nike? Then don’t shop at Nike. Hate plus-size people? Then don’t be plus-size. But also maybe try not being a giant piece of sh*t while you’re at it.
Images: Twitter (@tegwentucker, @Fattymustrun)
Something I can’t stand is when people say, “oh yeah, that’s cute but I could never wear that.” I don’t believe in that. I think the most important thing when it comes to clothes is fit—as long as it fits in the correct spot, then regardless of your shape or size, you’ll look amazing. Like in The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants, there are clothing items that can fit anyone and everyone (though probably not the same exact item). Here are some of summer’s trendiest items that literally will look good in, and how to fit them.
1. High Waisted Jeans
I am so obsessed with high waisted everything right now, whether they’re skinny jeans or mom jeans. The key to wearing high waisted denim is making sure that the high waist part hits the smallest part of your waist and that the fabric isn’t clinging too tight to your lower stomach. This might be hard to find if you’ve got a long torso, but when in doubt, always size bigger. I carry my weight in my stomach, so I always have to size up if it’s going to hit my waist for the perfect fit. Also, try sitting down while trying them on, because your stomach will pooch out more. If you can’t breathe, size up. If you really can’t find a good fit, go a few sizes bigger and get them taken in to fit perfectly. The benefit of high waisted is that it’s basically like wearing Spanx: it holds everything in and you don’t have to worry about looking bad in an unflattering photo angle.
Modcloth Karaoke Seamstress Skinny Jeans in Black Wash
BDG Mom Jean – Vintage Wash
Another super in-right-now trend for anyone and everyone is wearing a bodysuit. You can find them in all shapes, sizes, colors, and they are universally flattering (especially with your high waisted jeans). The downside is when you have to pee at the bar and you either have to take off all your clothes or you can’t get those little snaps to click back together because you’re drunk. Oh well. The key to pulling off a bodysuit is to make sure it fits perfectly—meaning, it should not be trying to give you camel toe or molest you in any way, it should not be a risk of exposing a nipple, and the straps should stay put without cutting into you. Bodysuits are a tricky fit since they hit so many areas, but finding the right size is totally worth it. Plus, they suck everything in for a seamless silhouette. Again, when in doubt, go bigger because only you can see the size label, but everyone can see how ill-fitting your clothing is. ALSO, you can just buy a chic one piece bathing suit and wear it as a bodysuit: two for the price of one, and you’re ready for any impromptu pool parties.
Forever 21 Plus Size Plunging Lace Bodysuit
Overalls are sooooo trendy right now, and they also look good on everyone, including those poor pregnant bitches currently growing
parasites babies. The fit varies from totally shapeless to tight and cropped, but like with all of these items, fit is so important. Fit your overalls based on the “pants” portion—not too tight in the crotch, not sagging in the ass (unless they’re completely oversize in which case, you’re good). THEN put on the top part and fit the straps. Most of these have adjustable straps, but if they’re sliding off or cutting into your shoulders, that is not cute and you need to size up. I love overalls since they’re such a statement outfit with minimal effort. You could wear them with T-shirts, your new bodysuit, or an off the shoulder top.
City Chic ‘Over It All’ Distressed Denim Overalls
SPEAKING of off the shoulder, this look is soooo popular rn and is flattering for anyone. You can do a top that has elastic around the shoulders and the rest is flowy, or something more fitted, something cropped, a dress—the possibilities are really endless. There are so many ways to find something you’re comfortable in that is still on trend. Just make sure your top is not cutting off your circulation, or so tight that you can’t put your arms up. That’s like the opposite of Randy from A Christmas Story, but just as traumatizing. On the other hand, it has to be tight enough so that you don’t accidentally give a free show while reaching for your skinny marg at happy hour. You need to plan (and charge) for that kind of shit.
BP. Woven Stripe Off the Shoulder Top
5. Matching Sets
A well fitting matching set is the best go-to outfit. I have this one I love from Forever 21, and it’s basically like pajamas. A matching set is any coordinating top and pant (or skirt, or shorts) combo, and the key to fit is making sure both parts hit in the right spot. If you’re going for a crop or high waisted, both items should fit at the smallest part of your waist, and please dear Lord, make sure you do not have camel toe. I do not need to see your labia, kthanks. Sidenote: Can someone explain to me why we can’t just have inclusive sizing for everything? Why are there separate plus-size and under-plus sections? This SAME OUTFIT comes in S-3X and I had to provide two links because it’s divided by the plus section. Let’s just have all the same shit in every size. Wtf is wrong with this?? /rant
Forever 21 Plus Size Glen Plaid Tube Top & Pants Set; Forever 21 Striped Glen Plaid Crop Top & Pants
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Images: Modcloth; Urban Outfitters; Nordstrom (2); Forever 21 (2)