Trilby Beresford
Updated Feb 22, 2017 @ 11:32 am
Credit: Instagram/Hunter McGrady

We were super eager to see this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for the simple reason that it was the magazine’s most diverse swimsuit edition to date. It featured women of more shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and ages than ever before, and one of the issue’s standout stars was “plus-size” model Hunter McGrady.

And she just gave us more reason to love her, because McGrady spoke up about why she’s happier at a size 16 than she ever was at a size 2.

Talking to People magazine, she admitted that she expended a tortuous amount of energy trying to look like a “standard” model as a teen, but it just didn’t feel right for her body. “My hips were always the bigger part of my body, and I was already so thin that I couldn’t keep shaving them down. I physically could not. And everyone was telling me that I could,” she recalled, adding that her modeling dreams were slipping away.

But then, something clicked, and McGrady began to accept her body and it’s curves. Her dress size has changed many times over the years, and she now sits comfortably at a size 16.

McGrady notes that her change in perspective actually started leading to more work — including Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, which she’d had her eye on from the beginning. “I always told myself that one way or another I was going to get in there,” she said. And she did.

These days, McGrady is a champion for body-positivity and all round healthy living. “I just want women to see this and feel inspired and feel sexy and feel like they can own their body and own their skin. And men, too!”

via giphyWe’re feeling so grateful for this woman. She’s experienced professional and personal ups and downs, but has truly emerged on top. Keep doing you, Hunter! Taking a page out of your book.