'Sports Illustrated' Swim's Curviest Model Is Happier at Size 16 Than Size 2

Someone commented one of my posts this morning saying "stop hating on skinny people" and to that I replied "pull up one post where I have ever shown anything but love for every BODY and I will label myself a fraud." What I promote is not strictly being curvy. Do i support it and think you should Rock it out? yes. Do I think if you're thin you should rock that out as well? ABSOLUTELY. What I promote is a HEALTHY BODY IMAGE. Ive been on both ends of the spectrum. I was not happy or healthy when I weighed 114 lbs. and starved myself to make other people happy. I was living for what I thought I was supposed to look like. If you are naturally born with a stature like that then that is wonderful. I am not, and I will never apologize for that. I promote being the best you. Get honest with yourself! Love your body, don't ever hide it or apologize for it. Like I've said many times before, skinny, curvy, athletic, short, tall, black, white, blue, whatever you are. You are perfect. Don't let anyone tell you you need to change. If you're happy, don't change a damn thing about yourself. #effyourbeautystandards #nowrongwaytobeawoman #curves #athletic #skinny #beautiful #wilhelminacurve #daretobedifferent #imnoangel

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As a 16-year-old model, Hunter McGrady spent hours in the gym and starving herself to try to maintain her slim, size 2/4 frame. The teen was really unhappy, however, and wasn't even booking any modeling jobs, despite all her hard work.

"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," the 23-year-old told PEOPLE"At that time, I thought my dreams of becoming a model were crushed."

When she did get gigs, they didn't go well.

"I walked into one of my very first modeling jobs at a size 4. They looked at me and said, 'We didn't realize you were this big,' and they sent me home," McGrady said. "And I was so upset,  and so livid, that I was getting picked at, already, at just a young 16 years old."

Exhausted trying to force her 5'11" figure to be something it clearly wasn't, the model decided to accept her real shape, including all her curves.

MORE: 'Sports Illustrated' to Feature Their First Curvy Swim Suit Model

"I love my body now. I love everything about it," she said. "I've been an 18, I've been a 10/12, and I've been everything in between. Right now I sit at a 14/16, and I love it, because this is my God-given body."

Four years ago, McGrady heard about curve modeling and went to Wilhemina Models and they signed her on the spot. Right away, she landed incredible jobs with Lucky Brand, Bare Necessities, Lane Bryant and more. 

But her big dream? The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.

"I always told myself that one way or another I was going to get in there," she said.

She got the coveted call in December and made a major splash when the issue came out this month.

"It's a moment — not just for me, but for women in history — to be in this issue. Finally, we're being heard," McGrady said. "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!"

Well said!

For the perfect one-piece swimsuit for your body, check out our list of chic Womanista approved picks!

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