This week, the two sat down for a Q&A published on The Big Bang Theory star’s lifestyle website Grok Nation in honor of McGrady, 23, who appeared in February’s Sports Illustrated‘s swimsuit issue as the publication’s “curviest” model, wearing nothing but body paint.
The 5-foot-11, size-16 beauty reflected on her early days of modeling when she tried to adapt to the industry’s rigid weight restrictions, telling Bialik: “You know what? It wasn’t normal for me, and I knew that all along, but I thought that was what I had to do to be a model. So I wouldn’t eat, and I would work out for four hours a day. And I tried to keep my hips at 36 inches, which is now my waist size! I kept trying to convince myself to keep it up by thinking, You’re never going to be a model if you can’t keep starving yourself. It was just something that I could not keep up.”
At age 16 and a size 2, McGrady recalls the “turning point” in her career when she walked into a booked modeling job, only to be dismissed by the director, who said, “We didn’t realize how big you were.” McGrady told Bialik, “I was so angry, and I thought, This is not how I’m going to live my life.”
After taking a three-year break from modeling, during which McGrady felt like “I’m going to eat pasta if I frigging want it!” she signed with Wilhelmina Models and her career skyrocketed — she went on to appear in campaigns for Lucky, Lane Bryant, and Bare Necessities. But her most important role may be body-positive advocate. On Instagram, McGrady keeps her 336,000 followers posted on her workout regime and her previous struggles with body image.
McGrady tells Bialik that to reach her current size, she abandoned her diet of “a lot of salad with no dressing” and began eating three meals a day. “I felt really beautiful in that,” she told Bialik about her body. And that includes McGrady’s stretch marks.
Bailik chimed in, “I was a very late bloomer, and my breasts grew very quickly, so I have stretch marks on my breasts, but I didn’t have stretch marks until I birthed my two children. I’m going to be really honest with you: I don’t love my stretch marks the way you do. I just don’t.”
McGrady replied, “For women who have had kids, to me those stretch marks signify that you are able to carry a child in your body; it’s so powerful! Your stomach grew because of it, and that is, excuse my language, f***ing badass!”
There has been endless speculation as to whether Bialik, who plays a neurobiologist on The Big Bang Theory, wears a “fat suit” on the show, and she has spoken passionately on the pressure to remain thin in Hollywood, saying on her website, “The norm has become a seamless, fat-free, streamlined body. Like we are made of plastic … like we are mannequins, really. That’s the look.”
The two women clearly share a vision for female empowerment. “My main objective is I want people to feel comfortable around me,” says McGrady. “I want people to look at me and my body so that if they can relate to me in any way, that hopefully they can go about their day and not stress, that if they put on a bra and there’s a little bulge on the side, it’s not a big deal.”
Read more from Yahoo Style + Beauty:
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