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.”
It’s no secret that for most people, dating is a dumpster fire of an experience. Many of us have wasted months, sometimes years, on a “relationship” as likely to succeed as Jax and Brittany’s marriage. Maybe you tried to have a mature and thoughtful DTR conversation and were met with some version of “I don’t want to put a label on things” or “I’m just not ready for a relationship,” or you’re too afraid to broach the subject because deep down you know the answer will be some version of either. Even when you do take a break from the app hellscape, it seems like every person you like eventually pulls the same crap. How do you break the cycle if you’re fed up with the merry-go-round and looking for something more serious? Lucky for you, Dr. Betchina George* has some advice.
DON’T Just Take What You Can Get
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that at some point you’ve found yourself waiting to hear from a person you like for longer than is reasonable. Maybe, like my younger self, you’ve even gone so far as to delete his or her number from your phone and consider such person
dead a lost cause. Of course, as soon as you proceed to get on with your life, the deadbeat in question miraculously resurfaces, whether it’s with a last-minute request for a date or a booty call well after you have made plans with friends (or, better yet, your couch). As much as you may want to respond and make yourself immediately available, resist the urge. Why? Because doing so reinforces a mentality of scarcity. Relationship expert and certified bae, Matthew Hussey, explains that when we operate out of a mindset of scarcity, or a fear that we don’t have other options, we allow ourselves to accept behavior that is bad or less than what we deserve. It’s self-defeating because the person you’re trying so desperately to hold onto will end up valuing you less. Don’t settle for someone who is not willing to invest in you. Someone who is worth it will gladly do so, and someone who is not will disappear, freeing you up for the right someone. You may need to wait it out and be alone for some time, and if so, you should learn to get comfortable with that, which brings me to my next point.
DO Keep Yourself Occupied
When I was in graduate school and experiencing a particularly dry spell in my dating life, I picked up a copy of The Rules, a book detailing, you guessed it, rules that a woman should follow to attract the right kind of men. Though I found most of the advice to be outdated and problematic, one idea stuck with me: the importance of staying busy. The authors advise the reader to keep busy before a date to avoid too much pressure and expectations. I would go further and argue that the idea of keeping busy should be applied more broadly to the life of any single person looking to meet a partner. So many of us become consumed with the anxiety of finding someone that it permeates almost every aspect of our lives, with virtually every outing tinged with the hope of meeting someone interesting. Instead of enjoying ourselves and our friends, we anxiously survey the crowd hoping to make a connection, and if we don’t, we feel disappointed and even more anxious. It’s important to prioritize yourself and the things that you enjoy doing, even and especially when those things have nothing to do with the pursuit of a romantic partner. When you immerse yourself in the activities you enjoy, the pressure starts to lift, and you begin connecting with your authentic self, making you far more likely to attract the right kind of people. What’s more, you’ll be an even better partner when the time is right because you’ve cultivated a sense of independence that exists outside the context of a relationship.
DON’T Mistake Anxiety for Butterflies
Too often, we make excuses for the sh*tty men people in our lives by insisting that all is okay because the doucher in question “gives us butterflies.” Unfortunately, this problematic idea is perpetuated in pop culture generation after generation. One notable example is in the Sex and the City episode “I Love a Charade,” which ends with one of Carrie’s more nauseating quotes, which you’ve likely come across on Instagram courtesy of the annoying girl from high school you still inexplicably follow: “Some people are settling down, some people are settling, and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies.” Carrie dubs this feeling “zsa zsa zsu” (vom) and proclaims that she definitely has it with Jack Berger, a man who eventually dumps her via a Post-it Note. What Carrie was actually experiencing was insecurity from not knowing where she stood, yet like many women before her, she mistook that unsettling feeling in the pit of her stomach for euphoria. Equating uncertainty with excitement is on par with telling young girls that the boys who are mean to them “like them.” It’s untrue at best, and incredibly damaging at worst. Instead of encouraging such feelings of anxiety, we need to recognize them for what they are: a red flag. Conversely, we also need to reprogram ourselves to stop writing off every guy that treats us with respect as “boring.”
DO See A Therapist
Often, the pattern of pursuing dysfunctional relationships over functional ones stems from a fundamental feeling of inadequacy or unworthiness. In other words, the feeling that you don’t deserve a loving and healthy relationship. This belief is often subconscious, so it’s worth doing the hard work in therapy to get to the root of the issue. Working with a good therapist is an excellent way to overcome untrue and limiting beliefs, because it allows you to recognize the thoughts and feelings that spur your actions and recognize and reprogram the negative patterns of behavior that no longer serve you. An objective third party can help you see where you are making the same mistakes, and why you are doing it, and empower you to course correct and take control of the dissatisfying parts of your life. Yes, therapy is a commitment of both time and money, but who better to invest in than your badass self?
DO Practice Self-Love
I know it sounds touchy-feely, but hear me out. We have all heard some version of the old cliche that you can’t love another person until you love yourself. But WTF is self-love? Self-love is the process of coming to love yourself without conditions. It sounds simple, but few of us do it in practice. Start paying greater attention to your thought patterns. You’re likely to find that you beat yourself regularly with all the ways you aren’t good enough. Maybe you think you’d be more attractive to others if you were______ (prettier, skinnier, more outgoing, insert your go-to flaw here). Maybe you torture yourself by making comparisons to others who seem “perfect.” Whatever the ritual, it’s cruel and hardly the way you would treat someone you care about. So why is it okay to do it to yourself? It’s also important to forgive yourself for your past. Maybe you dated someone who was emotionally abusive, or your partner cheated on you. Whatever the “failure,” it’s important to acknowledge it, forgive yourself, release it and grow from it. The more you give yourself a break, the way you would with anyone else you love, the more likely you are to attract healthier partners and prevent future self-sabotaging behaviors.
If there’s one theme I hope you take away from this article, it’s that you must always value and invest in yourself. Each of us deserves the kind of relationship that makes us happy, whether it’s totally casual or completely serious. Sound off in the comments if you have any other tips on how to break the f*ckboy cycle.
*Not an actual doctor.
Images: Brooke Cagle / Unsplash; Giphy (5)
Paddling the pink canoe, hitchhiking south, feelin’ yourself… whatever you call it, we’re here to tell you that masturbation is an essential part of your self-care routine—and way more fun than a bath bomb or a yoga class (unless it’s goat yoga, obvs). Like sex, there’s always room for improvement. Whether that’s adding a toy, switching up your technique, or just making more time for masturbating. Here are 7 solo sex tips to super-charge your solo play.
1. Use Lube
Squeeze a small dollop of water-based lube onto your index and middle fingers, and use them to lightly massage your inner labia and clitoris. If you tend to get wet easily, you might not need the slippery stuff for this. But when it comes to insertable sex toys, we’re telling you—wetter is always better.
2. Explore Your Body
It’s easy to head straight for the most obvious erogenous zones, but incorporating other parts of your body can add a whole new level of intensity to the experience. Stroke and squeeze your nipples, caress your thighs and stomach, run your fingers through your hair… basically whatever feels good at that moment. You might discover a sweet spot you never knew you had.
3. Take Your Time
Masturbation can feel a little functional sometimes (anyone else do it when they can’t sleep?). We get it. Some days all you want is a speedy release, especially if you’re busy and all you can think about is… getting busy. (Sorry, had to.) Long, drawn-out solo sessions can be amazing, though, especially if you’re into being teased. Try lightly stroking everywhere except for the places you want to touch most—until you can no longer stand it. Or try “edging”, which means masturbating and stopping each time you’re about to come. Do this again and again, building arousal and anticipation until you can’t wait any longer. When you finally give in, it’s gonna be totally worth it.
4. Change Your Technique
Your tried-and-tested technique might mean an orgasm is a dead certainty, but what about if you had a whole heap of self-pleasure tactics in the bag? Always rub your clit in a circular motion? Try tapping it instead. Do you usually lie on your back? Try grinding against a pillow on your front. Learning to appreciate varying levels of pressure and different speeds also means that when you’re with someone else you won’t be waiting for them to touch you in a certain way—you’ll just enjoy the ride.
5. Get A Sex Toy
Kudos if you already have a rabbit vibe burrowed in your bedroom drawer or a bullet vibe that’s barely ever out of charge. If you don’t, it’s time to add some motorized fun to me-time. Buying yourself a toy is an empowering act of self-love. Plus, there are hundreds of thousands of options to choose from. A word of warning, though—while reaching for your rumbliest vibe might be a speedy route to the Big O, it’s easy to become reliant on your favorite setting to get you off. Try banning toys from the bedroom every now and then to get back in touch with your body.
6. Play With Temperature
Speaking of toys, this one is a game changer. Stimulation through heat or cold gives the body a rush of sensations that are translated into arousal. Dip your temperature-responsive glass or metal dildo in ice water or warm it before you use it (always test it on your arm to avoid hurting yourself). Some lubes and balms offer the same sensations. Try a tingly, peppermint oil-infused orgasm balm like Lovehoney Bliss Orgasm Balm, or smooth Sensuva Ice Cube Flavored Cooling Nipple Balm over your nipples for an almost-instant cooling effect.
7. Do It Together
Mutual masturbation with a partner—where you pleasure yourselves but don’t touch each other—can be seriously hot. There’s something erotic about seeing someone you’re into lose control. It’s also a great way for you to see how each other’s bodies respond to different types of touch. For lots of people, showing someone what usually happens in private can feel incredibly intimate, and even a little scary at first. But, getting out of your comfort zone and sharing such an intimate act can boost your confidence and make you feel like a straight-up sex goddess.
For more sex-positive tips and tricks, plus a foreword from Killer and a Sweet Thang’s Eileen Kelly, download Lovehoney’s free, fully interactive e-book, UNI:SEX.