AP featured image
Contestants greet onstage in the swimsuit completion during the first night of Miss America 2018 preliminaries in Atlantic City, N.J., Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. (Tom Gralish/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

 

WARNING: For informational purposes only, this article includes images of scantily-clad women.

Sports Illustrated is doing something big.

The July 21st Swimsuit Issue spotlights 27-year-old Hunter McGrady, who’s being called the magazine’s “curviest model ever.”

Over the weekend, she shared a few pics online.

Recalling one particular moment from the shoot, Hunter wrote thusly:

“When I look back on this shot from My @si_swimsuit shoot I remember being so in the moment and feeling so strong, and so confident more-so than ever before! … [I] know that the woman who for so long hasn’t seen her body represented will hopefully feel seen, heard, and understood.”

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When I look back on this shot from My @si_swimsuit shoot I remember being so in the moment and feeling so strong, and so confident more-so than ever before! I took the months, and weeks, and days, and even hours leading up to this shoot to really hone in my “why” and really setting my intention for this shoot. Of course i always know I’m going to get killer, beautiful shots with SI but most importantly I know that the woman who for so long hasn’t seen her body represented will hopefully feel seen, heard, and understood. I can’t wait to see the rest of these shots from this extraordinary trip to Bali which absolutely changed my life (I had a serious eat, pray, love moment) the issue hits stands July 21st! ❤️ photographer: @yutsai88

A post shared by Hunter McGrady (@huntermcgrady) on

“Every time the magazine comes out it is a ‘pinch me’ moment,” she said in another post.

“Thank you [editor MJ Day] for consistently being a catalyst in the way our industry is changing.”

In May, she told Fox News that posing for SI stoked her confidence:

“Any kind of insecurity I had just went out the door… Every year, I shed a little bit of that insecurity because, let’s face it, we’re all human. I love myself, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have any insecurities. But this year, I feel like I really let that out the door and went in feeling with this feeling of just being the best that I can be. And I just had fun with it. I’ve already seen some of the photos, and they’re amazing. I just feel really, really great about this issue.”

The model also explained that she’s an avid exerciser — it’s just a misconception that those kinds of girls are thin.

And that large is less healthy:

“I think a lot of people think that [plus-sized models] are able to eat whatever they want. They don’t work out. They just sit at home and lounge around. That is absolutely not the case. I work out with my trainer, and I train daily. People for so long have equated a larger size to be unhealthy. The truth of the matter is that I’m more healthy now than I’ve ever been in my life. It’s a stigma that needs to change.”

In an interview with Fox News, the outlet asked, “How did you learn to embrace your curves?”

Hunter aimed and fired:

“[I]t took me a few years to really get there and fully embrace myself, my curves, my stretch marks, my cellulite — all the things that just make me who I am. For me, it was positive affirmation — quite literally standing in the mirror and telling myself, ‘Hunter you are worthy, you’re enough. Your stretch marks are beautiful, your cellulite is beautiful. These are the attributes that make you who you are, and there’s only one of you. … [Y]ou’re special in your own skin.’ And, you know, it took me a while to learn that, but through the help of therapy and family and friends and, you know, mental health help, I, you know, got there. And it’s amazing.”

She added:

“[T]hat doesn’t go to say that I don’t have days where I struggle, because, you know, we’re all human.”

Either way, her 2020 sandy supremacy’s nothin’ new — she’s graced the pages since 2017:

Things sure have changed since the 90’s:


In addition to this year’s touted geometrical triumph, the magazine’s making waves by other means.

July’s edition also features Kathy Jacobs, 56:

Good for her.

But neither Kathy nor Hunter has a chance to make the biggest splash this time around.

How ’bout a tsunami? I give you the magazine’s real maker of waves: Valentina Sampaio, the first man to grace the 56-year-old bikinifest.

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I am excited and honored to be part of the iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. The team at SI has created yet another groundbreaking issue by bringing together a diverse set of multitalented, beautiful women in a creative and dignified way. I was born trans in a remote, humble fishing village in northern Brazil. Brazil is a beautiful country, but it also hosts the highest number of violent crimes and murders against the trans community in the world—three times that of the U.S. Being trans usually means facing closed doors to peoples’ hearts and minds. We face snickers, insults, fearful reactions and physical violations just for existing. Our options for growing up in a loving and accepting family, having a fruitful experience at school or finding dignified work are unimaginably limited and challenging. 💜🧡💛❤️💚

A post shared by Valentina Sampaio (@valentts) on

Top that, girls.

It wasn’t so long ago that SI’s annual installment looked like this:

But time stops for no one, and progress seems to be spinning our world faster by the second.

Hold on tight, or you might just get thrown off.

-ALEX

 

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