Hunter McGrady says people 'have the idea that plus-size models sit around all day eating brownies': Here's what she actually craves

·5 min read
Hunter McGrady says she learned the importance of family dinners as a child.
Hunter McGrady says she learned the importance of family dinners as a child. "No matter what, we sat around a table together, and I wanted that for my family, too," she shares. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

Because food connects us all, Yahoo Life is serving up a heaping plateful of table talk with people who are passionate about what's on their menu in Deglazed, a series about food.

Finally, it seems, the entertainment and fashion world has warmed up to women with curves.

Superstar designer and Project Runway host Christian Siriano's muses include This Is Us star Chrissy Metz and the voluptuous Christina Hendricks. Ashley Graham is just one supermodel that has made plus-size runway looks de rigueur on stages from Paris to New York to Tokyo — plus she just gave birth to twins, and has made no bones about the reality of her new mom-of-three bod on her Instagram feed.

The new SI Swimsuit issue features model Yumi Nu as one of its cover stars, and inside, Hunter McGrady — blonde bombshell and new mama to baby Hudson — also graces its pages with her steely smoldering stare and dangerous curves.

"I think people have this idea that plus-size models sit around all day eating brownies, while other models starve themselves and work out all day," McGrady tells Yahoo Life. "That's just not the case. I've been every size, from a two to a 22, and I was at my unhealthiest when I was a size two."

The reality of McGrady's eating habits? She sticks to an almost-vegan diet, since her husband is vegan. And her almost 1-year-old son, Hudson, she says, "eats the best out of all of us."

"He eats so clean and healthy," she shares. "He always has a protein, a starch and a veggie, but it's been so exciting to watch him taste and learn new foods."

McGrady doesn't love cooking, but having Hudson rekindled her love of being behind the stove or assembling a salad with plenty of new flavors for her son to try. "He just tried salmon the other day and loved it," she says. "We always have dinner together the way my parents and I did. No matter what, we sat around a table together, and I wanted that for my family, too."

When she was pregnant, her main aversion was to plain water. "It was so weird because usually I can't get enough water during the day," she says. "But during my pregnancy I only wanted carbonated water — which I normally hate — as well as black beans right from the can and white cake."

Even though a clean eating lifestyle is McGrady's bread and butter — so to speak — she's in love with comfort food. When entertaining, it's all about the warmth and ambiance of the food on the table and the friends around her. "I love hosting dinner parties, but I have to serve the food people really want," she says. "I can't stand when I go to a dinner party and it's all fussy finger food. I'm all about bringing the comfort."

In her home city of Thousand Oaks, Calif., McGrady's like any good California Girl: Her favorite restaurant is Cisco's, a half-century-old traditional Mexican spot where her family would gather for almost any occasion.

"That restaurant is full of memories for me," she says. McGrady says the servers at Cisco's have seen her grow up from a little girl to the adult she is now, bringing her own family there when they visit her hometown. "They remember me as 2 or 3 years old, and now they're gray-haired," she says. "That's where we went for every birthday, every graduation."

McGrady's family is unmistakably close to her heart. When asked who she'd want to have dinner with, she immediately mentions her late brother, who passed away after an accident last year. Her favorite family tradition is the cookie exchange her father started years ago that she's now taken on hosting. This comfort-food devotee's favorite cookie should be no surprise: classic chocolate chip. "It's gotta be a little crispy around the edges and mushy in the center. That's just perfect," she says.

Since giving birth to Hudson in June 2021, McGrady's life — and body — has changed, and she comments on her Instagram feed about the trepidation she felt diving back into the SI Swimsuit issue with her new postpartum body.

"Six months postpartum, forever proud of these moments and this team and this body that has blessed me beyond measure," she says in her photo reveal post, where she's crouching in the sun-kissed waves wearing a bright yellow swimsuit. "I wasn't sure how I was going to feel going into this after just having a baby … but then I thought, you know what? Hell yes! For mamas or anyone who feels like they can't be sexy or that they can't wear the swimsuit … wear the damn swimsuit."

Her outspoken support of women of all sizes and postpartum bodies extends to her new partnership with period-panty brand Thinx and their new Moist Panties campaign. The campaign seeks to dispel the stigma behind vaginal discharge and periods with McGrady as the spokesperson.

She openly sings the praises of the Thinx Super-Hi Waist full-coverage panty, which helped her through the postpartum bleeding after a vaginal birth. "It was nice to feel normal and like I wasn't in a diaper," she says.

"I don't mind talking about things that make people uncomfortable, including vaginal discharge and other feminine hygiene issues," says McGrady. "I love that Thinx is trying to create a safe space around talking about these things. I want to raise my children in a world that's more comfortable speaking about what happens with women's bodies."

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