The model appears in SI's latest swimsuit issue, and she certainly knows a thing or two about body confidence.

By Julia Malacoff

If you've been following all the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue news, you probably know that they've been killing it with inclusivity this year. Yes, the mag is still featuring their usual straight size models (and probably always will), but they're also including gold-medal-winning athletes, a supermodel in her 60's, and tons of other badass women of all different shapes and sizes. One of the notable new models this year is Hunter McGrady. Why? She's strong, curvy, and outspoken about body positivity. Our kind of girl! (Want to see more awesome body confidence? Find out why Ashley Graham is not ashamed of her cellulite.)

McGrady's journey to plus size modeling is an inspirational one. She started out as a straight size model (meaning she would need to adhere to size requirements, typically 0-4), but struggled to stay thin enough for industry body standards. "Although I was 115 pounds and I'm 5'11-I was very very tiny for my height-I could never get rid of my hips," she told Sports Illustrated. "When I was about 19, I learned about plus size modeling. It was actually Robyn Lawley, Tara Lynn and Candice Huffine on the Vogue Italia cover. I saw that and thought, 'Oh my gosh, these women are so beautiful and they are my size.'" If you ever needed proof that showcasing body diversity in the media makes a difference in how people feel about themselves, there you have it.

Since then, McGrady has really found her footing in the plus size modeling industry and is more confident than ever. In an emotional post sharing how proud she is of the shoot, McGrady said: "Women, for anyone who has ever felt uncomfortable or insecure because of rolls, or stretch marks, or cellulite, or acne, or felt like you didn't measure up because you weren't represented in the magazines-THIS IS FOR YOU! You are beautiful. You are STRONG. You are powerful and together we need to lift each other up and inspire one another. There's too much going on in this world to let each other fall by the wayside."

She is totally right. There are so many parts of life that are *way* more important than the number you see on the scale or whether or not you have perfect skin. Here's to hoping that women who see McGrady in SI will feel just as inspired to reach for their dreams as she did when she picked up that glossy years ago. (If you need a little confidence boost, these women will inspire you to love your body, just as they love their own.)


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