'Curviest model ever' Hunter McGrady wants to change fashion industry’s sample size to stop 'setting people up for failure'

Hunter McGrady made her fourth appearance in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit this year in addition to launching her clothing line called All Worthy, making 2020 a year for the books. But the model turned entrepreneur isn’t quite celebrating until she works to break a dangerous industry standard that is the sample size.

Deemed the “curviest model ever” in her first appearance in the iconic publication back in 2017, McGrady tells Yahoo Life that she is grateful for each opportunity she’s gotten to appear in SI and the platform that it has provided her.

“It’s always a pinch-me moment ... I still can’t believe that I’m in this issue and now for four years in a row. And every year, the magazine just gets more diverse and more inclusive, and I’m so proud to be a part of a brand that gets it,” she says. “My passion lies in so many different outlets and I think that’s what was so powerful about it. They really opened these doors for me and helped me make a name for myself.”

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With the recognition that she received as a plus-size model in the magazine, McGrady garnered an audience and began to create a community based on the need for more inclusivity throughout the industry. She even started a viral hashtag #AllWorthy that appeared on her posts and encouraged others to adopt the saying.

“After the very first issue of Sports Illustrated came out that I was in, I just remember sitting on my couch thinking, ‘16-year-old me would have never thought that I was worthy of this.’ But then I kind of got my gears turning and was like, ‘Well, why do I think that? Because we’re all worthy of these beautiful things,’” she recalls. “We’re all worthy of success, we’re all worthy of feeling wonderful about ourselves.”

Now, McGrady is spreading that message even further after launching a clothing line with QVC appropriately called “All Worthy” back in April. Within the past five months, the 27-year-old has provided stylish selections for women ranging in sizes XXS to 5X. Still, she hopes to make a lasting impression on the industry beyond her current consumers by changing what’s known as the sample size.

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“The sample size, in my opinion, is completely antiquated. I think that it really needs to change. I think that even the term just causes so much stress for people,” she says. “Even as a plus-size model, the sample size is about a 14. That is so silly, it puts so much pressure on the models to have to conform to this unrealistic ideal. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shown up to set, even when I was a size 14, and every brand fits different. And if the 14 didn’t fit me, they would send me home. You’re almost setting people up for failure.”

McGrady already has a community of women and notable brands to support her initiative. But, if she’s learned anything from 2020, it’s that “change is happening.”

“Change happens when people speak out against it, right? I’m not afraid to go to the top and say, ‘Guys, this is ridiculous,’” she says. “I just want women especially out there to know that we’re all worthy of feeling empowered and being powerful and being loud and having our voices heard and being valued.”

Video produced by Kat Vasquez

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