Hunter McGrady Explains Why Size Inclusivity Is So Important: ‘When You See It, You Can Be It’

The six-time SI Swimsuit model just landed on the front of the 60th anniversary issue.
Hunter McGrady was photographed by Yu Tsai in Mexico.
Hunter McGrady was photographed by Yu Tsai in Mexico. / Yu Tsai/Sports Illustrated

Hunter McGrady is living her cover girl moment to the fullest and inspiring an entire generation of women at the same time. The SI Swimsuit model, who made her debut with the brand in 2017 and has now posed for the issue six separate years, just landed on the cover of the 2024 magazine—an extra special one too, as it marks the 60th anniversary of the franchise.

While on the red carpet of the launch party at the Hard Rock Hotel in New York City on May 16, the 31-year-old reflected on what the moment meant to her, and how she hopes to use her platform and cover girl status to amplify her core messaging.

“I’m so excited to finally be here ... [it’s] the big night. The energy is electric. I hope that women everywhere know that they are so much more than their size, than their body, than the way that they look,” she said about what she hopes women take away from her cover snapshot and why size representation matters. “They have a story to tell. We all do. And I hope that people see themselves in this cover [and] in each of these covers, because when you see it, you can be it.”

The mom of two also participated in a 60th anniversary legends phoot shoot, featuring 27 powerful, trailblazing women who have impacted the industry and the brand in a profound way.

“I think that [my younger self] would just be beside herself [seeing where I am today]. I never grew up seeing anybody that looked like me. I never grew up feeling like I could ever do something like this. I think that she would just be pinching herself,” she added. “I can’t believe not only did I get to shoot with, like, Tyra Banks, Christie Brinkley, Roshumba [Williams], all these legendary, beautiful women, but [also] for the message and the evolution of Sports Illustrated, it was just such an incredible collective group of women. I truly believe in what [SI Swimsuit is] doing. I think that they are the leaders of change. They are going to change the industry, media, everything. They always have been since the jump. And this is only the beginning.”

Hunter McGrady
Hunter McGrady was photographed by Yu Tsai in Legends - Hollywood-FL. Dress by: TADASHI SHOJI. Shoes by: BRITT NETTA. Jewelry by: Charlie Lapson and Ettika / Yu Tsai/Sports Illustrated

Ananya Panchal