‘Curviest model ever’ walks fashion's most inclusive runway

On Friday evening, women gathered to watch curvy models rule the runway during a fashion show laser-focused on the plus-size community, put on by Loft. Models as famous for their curves as for their faces marched down the runway — Hunter McGrady, Stella Duval, and Ali Tate Cutler, to name a few — plus three newbie models plucked from the crowd.

Loft officially entered the plus-size market in February 2018, with a stylish line of dresses, trousers, blouses, and more in the brand’s signature bright-color palette and floral prints in sizes 16 to 26. The brand this fashion show to kickoff to theCURVYcon 2018, a conference focused on the plus-size community and live-streamed on Yahoo Lifestyle on Sept. 7 and Sept. 8.

These moments are monumental for the body-positive movement, and McGrady previously told Yahoo Lifestyle that they allow women to think, “’OK, I am beautiful as I am, and I am worthy, and I am enough,’ and I think that’s so powerful.”

Hunter McGrady, known as the “curviest model ever” to appear in <em>Sports Illustrated</em>, walked in the Loft fashion show at theCURVYcon. (Photo: Getty Images)
Hunter McGrady, known as the “curviest model ever” to appear in Sports Illustrated, walked in the Loft fashion show at theCURVYcon. (Photo: Getty Images)

McGrady’s level of body confidence and positivity appears to be second nature now — after all, she has landed covers for Sports Illustrated (where she was called their “curviest model ever”) and a campaign for Icelandic Glacial, and has even launched her own plus-size bathing suit line — but her road to self-love didn’t happen overnight. She began her career modeling at 16 years old as a “straight-size model,” she says, a size 2 and 6 feet tall.

One day, her whole world changed. “I got turned away from one of my jobs for being too big. And so I … took four years off to really just grow into my body, eat healthy, [and] nourish myself because I was so unhappy before. And during that time, I really learned to honestly and truthfully tell myself positive affirmations because our mind is so important and it’s so powerful.”

These positive affirmations were central to McGrady’s success in achieving self-love. She says she would look in the mirror and say, “Hunter, you are loved. You are worthy. You are powerful. You are beautiful. You are heard.”

But not every day is easy. “I still wake up … when I don’t want to go get out of bed. I don’t want to do anything.” According to McGrady, on those days, the most important thing you can do is “renew your mind and really make it part of your thought process.”

That’s the reason style influencers CeCe Olisa and Chastity Garner Valentine created theCURVYcon, which is in its fourth year. This year is headlined by Gabourey Sidibe, WWE’s Nia Jax and Nikki Bella, and Dietland‘s Jen Ponton.

“TheCURVYcon’s goal is to uplift women in a way that will stick with them for the rest of the year,” Valentine and Olisa told Yahoo Lifestyle. “Gabourey Sidibe and Nia Jax have conquered their spaces in spite of what the norms are for their industries, showing our attendees they did not let their size dictate their accomplishments. They have both dominated their industries and opened the door for other women and young girls to pursue their goals in these spaces. We are so proud to have these two forces to be a part of theCURVYcon.”

Yahoo Lifestyle live-streamed theCURVYcon 2018. Check out our full coverage, here and catch another great moment, below:

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

‘You can be unhappy with it or thank God for what you have’: Curvy influencer shares key to success
‘Cycle of abuse’: Model Katie Willcox on what it’s like to be neither plus-size or straight-size
WWE star Nia Jax on how sports gave her confidence: ‘My body had its purpose’

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