Hunter McGrady is a polarizing figure for us. Even in the two photos of her above, she appears vastly different.
Hunter, as I’m sure almost everyone knows at this stage, is a tall, plus size model and arguably the most famous plus size model doing her thing at the moment. I had planned to write about Hunter as an inspiring woman because the shoe fit (she’s tall, and plus) but when I thought about it she hasn’t particularly inspired me. I also talked to Kaitlin and Sarah, our other site contributors, about this, and they actually had very differing opinions on Hunter.
With this in mind, we put together a joint article going into exactly where we stand on Hunter.
There’s a fair bit to unpack here, so just follow our train of thought, so to speak!
kaitlin: conceited, privileged, and no idea what it’s like to grow up fat. that’s hunter.
Don’t get me wrong, y’all. I followed Hunter for a while. At first I thought hey, there’s a big girl making waves, cool. Then I watched interviews with her and learned a bit more about her past, and quickly changed course on that.
From past pictures I’ve seen, Hunter was a stick growing up and throughout her teens. This was because she was trying to “make it” as a traditional runway model. When women like Ashley Graham first brought the term “plus size model” into the zeitgeist, my theory is that Hunter decided to change tact and gain weight to pursue what she thought would be the next big thing. How could she understand the plight of the plus size woman growing up? I cannot relate to her as she has no ideas of the struggles the rest of us would’ve faced growing up fat, she seems to have simply adopted “being curvy” because it’s cool.
In her interviews she appears almost boastful about her career, being featured in Sports Illustrated or in the below clip being interviewed about being the first plus size model to be on this bridal magazine cover.
sarah: we shouldn’t hate hunter because she’s used weight gain to get famous
I’ve seen the pics from way back when where Hunter was a size 2 or something. I’m aware she used to be skinny, and now she’s fat, but that’s no reason to hate her. She is 6 foot tall and let’s be honest, she is probably 300lbs. This is an incredible role model to have! Irrespective of how she started and how famous she’s got, which is not really her issue at all, to see a woman of that size continually featured in mainstream media as a force of good for fat women makes me feel incredibly proud and liberated.
kaitlin: even if she is 300lbs, you’d never think so from her photos
This is one of my pet peeves with a lot of plus size models. You see the images they put out on social media and they’re always of angles that make them look slimmer, or worse, they’ve been photoshopped to avoid cellulite. A trademark Hunter pose is to put her legs one in front of the other, making her appear slimmer. If you look at candid photos of Hunter, she appears much bigger than she would have you let on. Why is she so afraid to show this exactly? One can only speculate she is 1) being told to do this by the brands that she works with, or 2) she doesn’t like being “too fat.” Either way, not a role model for me.
sarah: it’s not uncommon for even confident plus women to struggle with body image
I agree that Hunter could show “more” when it comes to the images she puts on social media. She was very candid with some of her postpartum pictures but yes, she does choose angles/shots that reduce her size in pictures.
The thing is, we’ve all done this as big women. Even women with our confidence still struggle with appearing like a “giant” in photos, because well, we are. I can’t fault someone for choosing images they want, but agree that Hunter does look bigger in some of those examples you mentioned.
so, what are hunter’s measurements?
- Height: 6 foot
- Weight: An educated guess is 275-300lbs
Thanks to my lovelies for offering up their arguments and rebuttals on Hunter. I guess if she’s causing this much conversation, she’s doing something right?
I’m not going to fall too strongly on either side of the debate, hashtag journalistic integrity, but I agree with Kaitlin’s points that Hunter is not super representative of most plus size women. I also think she is absolutely a role model for lots of bigger girls out there. Comparing her to Ashley Graham, who as Kaitlin said essentially started the “plus size model” phase of culture, she is vastly bigger than Ashley and it would be good to see her not shy away from showing photos where she looks larger.
I wrote about plus size models who don’t particularly represent lots of bigger women here, and it is an issue. Examples of models who embrace their cellulite and size really well without the Instagram edits are women like Ali Weber, Susan Curry, and Mikayla Wain. I hope we start to see a trend of more models adopting this approach in future.