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Hunter McGrady felt like ‘superwoman’ posing for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit six months postpartum

Plus-size model Hunter McGrady said she felt like ‘superwoman’ posing for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue six months postpartum, despite admitting that she knew her body would look ‘wildly different’ than it did before.

In 2017, McGrady, now 29, made history when she proudly became the ‘curviest’ model (at size 16) to appear in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

She has modeled for the magazine five times in total, but when she stepped in front of the camera to pose for the outlet this time around, she said it was a completely different experience for her. 

McGrady recently became a mom – welcoming her son, Hudson Tynan Keys, in June 2021, with her husband, Brian Keys – and she said modeling just six months after giving birth made her feel much more ‘beautiful, empowered, confident, and powerful.’

Plus-size model Hunter McGrady said she felt like ‘superwoman’ posing for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue six months postpartum

She said modeling just six months after giving birth made her feel much more 'beautiful, empowered, confident, and powerful'

She said modeling just six months after giving birth made her feel much more 'beautiful, empowered, confident, and powerful'

She said modeling just six months after giving birth made her feel much more ‘beautiful, empowered, confident, and powerful’

‘I went into this knowing that my body would look wildly different than before and yet that is what excited me the most,’ she told the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue this week.

‘SI has loved me during all stages of my life. From a 22-year-old just breaking into this business to now a new mom.

‘I have always felt celebrated and felt like SI was my safe space to show up, be me, and have a platform for women of my size to be heard and valued.’

McGrady added that despite her body going through ‘so much’ in the last year – including giving birth and the ‘trials of a pandemic’ – she still makes sure to ‘appreciate every moment’ she has with it. 

‘My body the last year has gone through so much whether it be a loss, the gain of life, or the trials of a pandemic I still show up and appreciate every moment that I have with it and honor it in a way now in a way that I never have before,’ she continued.

‘I felt more beautiful, empowered, and confident than I ever have before and I remember texting my sister during the shoot saying, “This feels different, I just feel so beautiful.”

‘I felt like I had come home and was exactly where I needed to be. I felt really powerful on set.’

She has modeled for the magazine five times in total, but when she stepped in front of the camera this time around, she said it was a completely different experience for her

She has modeled for the magazine five times in total, but when she stepped in front of the camera this time around, she said it was a completely different experience for her

The new mom said she went into the shoot knowing her body would look 'wildly different than before,' but that was what 'excited her the most'

The new mom said she went into the shoot knowing her body would look 'wildly different than before,' but that was what 'excited her the most'

The new mom said she went into the shoot knowing her body would look ‘wildly different than before,’ but that was what ‘excited her the most’

McGrady (pictured during her pregnancy) added that despite her body going through 'so much' in the last year, she still makes sure to 'appreciate every moment' she has with it

McGrady (pictured during her pregnancy) added that despite her body going through ‘so much’ in the last year, she still makes sure to ‘appreciate every moment’ she has with it

McGrady recently became a mom - welcoming her son, Hudson Tynan Keys, in June 2021, with her husband, Brian Keys

 McGrady recently became a mom – welcoming her son, Hudson Tynan Keys, in June 2021, with her husband, Brian Keys

McGrady, who has also launched her own clothing line with QVC called All Worthy, landed partnerships with brands like Fabletics and Olay, and started her own podcast with her sister, called Model Citizen, said she is now ‘stepping into a new version’ of herself after becoming a mom.

‘I think now I’m stepping into this new version of me, this new body, this new me that’s a mom, and I feel really powerful and strong,’ she explained. ‘It feels a little bit different this year, but it feels better than ever.’

Although it was hard to leave the six-month-old behind when she went to Belize to do the photoshoot in December, she had her husband’s full support, which made it a lot easier. 

‘It was my very first time leaving him at home which was hard, but it was actually really wonderful,’ she gushed.

‘My husband kept telling me, “Listen, this is what you love to do. You have to fill your cup, too, and do what you need to do and get to Hunter and who that is because that goes hand in hand with being a mom.”

McGrady admitted that she didn't see herself posing for a swimsuit magazine so soon after giving birth, especially because her body 'wasn't exactly where she wanted it to be'

McGrady admitted that she didn’t see herself posing for a swimsuit magazine so soon after giving birth, especially because her body ‘wasn’t exactly where she wanted it to be’

McGrady wants people to know that you can have it all - you can be a mother and focus on your career at the same time

McGrady wants people to know that you can have it all – you can be a mother and focus on your career at the same time

She said that splitting her time between parenting and preparing for the shoot made her feel like 'superwoman'

She said that splitting her time between parenting and preparing for the shoot made her feel like ‘superwoman’

‘And so, it was my first trip away from him, but I felt like I was leaving family to go to family.’

McGrady admitted that she didn’t see herself posing for a swimsuit magazine so soon after giving birth, especially because her body ‘wasn’t exactly where she wanted it to be.’

‘If you would’ve told me that I was going to be shooting for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit six months postpartum, I would’ve been like, “Yeah right,”‘ she joked.

‘It just wasn’t on my radar, but that just goes to show how much of a powerhouse Sports Illustrated is and how they really are driving that inclusivity and that need for visibility of women of all stages in their lives and all body types. 

‘I honestly felt the best I’ve ever felt … I feel really good and empowered.’

McGrady, who previously opened up about being fired from jobs for being too big when she was a teen, fully embraces her body now.

And she wants people to know that you can have it all – you can be a mother and focus on your career at the same time.

She explained: ‘I think we grow up in a society that pretty much tells us you can’t have it all, especially as women.

Although it was hard to leave the six-month-old behind when she went to Belize to do the photoshoot in December, she had her husband's full support, which made it a lot easier

Although it was hard to leave the six-month-old behind when she went to Belize to do the photoshoot in December, she had her husband’s full support, which made it a lot easier

She gushed: 'My husband kept telling me, "This is what you love to do. You have to fill your cup, too, because that goes hand in hand with being a mom"'

She gushed: ‘My husband kept telling me, “This is what you love to do. You have to fill your cup, too, because that goes hand in hand with being a mom”‘

When it comes to being a mom, McGrady admitted that she's still figuring it out day by day

When it comes to being a mom, McGrady admitted that she’s still figuring it out day by day

'I definitely feel like I’ve gotten my footing with it and gotten in the groove as far as knowing my son and what he needs and his personality, but every day it’s something different,' she said

‘I definitely feel like I’ve gotten my footing with it and gotten in the groove as far as knowing my son and what he needs and his personality, but every day it’s something different,’ she said

‘We have to pick one thing and it just goes to show whether you want to be a stay-at-home mom, whether you want to work, whether you don’t want kids, whether you want to be a mom and work, whatever it is, you can have it all. 

‘And I think that there’s just something really spectacular about that and empowering.’

She said that splitting her time between parenting and preparing for the shoot made her feel like ‘superwoman.’

But when it comes to being a mom, McGrady admitted that she’s still figuring it out day by day.

‘I always tell people, “We don’t know what we’re doing.” I feel like motherhood is basically, no one really knowing what they’re doing together and figuring it out along the way,’ she added.

‘I definitely feel like I’ve gotten my footing with it and gotten in the groove as far as knowing my son and what he needs and his personality, but every day it’s something different. 

‘There’s no rule book. I learned that very quickly. I’m just going to cruise with this and see how it goes.’ 

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