You’ve seen Hunter McGrady everywhere – the 23-year-old model has been named the “curviest” model to grace Sports Illustrated‘s Swimsuit Issue. (Those body paint photos aren’t easy to forget. Hubba hubba!) Hunter started modeling at 16, coming from a long lineage of models in her family – her mother, grandmother, and aunt were models; her father is an actor. But after being told she was too big at a size two, she took a hiatus from the industry for a few years. She’s now a part of Wilhelmina International’s Curve division and has appeared in campaigns for Lane Bryant.
Being a plus-size model has its challenges, first being the term “plus-size,” according to Hunter.
“A size six, in New York, on a modeling board, would be considered plus-size. Fourteen is what really works in the plus-size industry, but it starts at six; I mean, that’s insane,” Hunter said. It’s problematic that “regular sizes” are limited to zero, two, and four, especially when research shows that 67 percent of women in America are size 16-18. “That’s 17 percent more than half the population,” Hunter reiterated. “So why is it just now becoming such a big thing?”
The term “plus-size” also has a connotation that Hunter feels separates her from other models, when the reality is the only difference is her size. “I would love to just be called a model. I think that labeling plus-size, curve, full-figure, whatever it is . . . I understand that some people need that clarification,” Hunter said. “For me, I’m just a model. I show up, I do the same job as everyone else, I get paid the same, everything is the same. You wouldn’t say, ‘size zero model so-and-so.'”
Further, people tend to think being a curve model means having fewer restrictions or, according to some of the comments on a version of this video that appeared on Facebook, that curve models are “unhealthy.”
“I think people think that we can get away with looking however we want. They’re like, ‘Whatever, she’s a curve model. She doesn’t have to work out, she doesn’t have to eat well.’ Which isn’t true. I have a personal trainer, I eat clean. But on the other spectrum, there is a pressure to have the Coke bottle body, to be really tight. Someone’s always going to want you to be thicker,” Hunter said.