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Sports Illustrated model Hunter McGrady blocks 'fat, ugly, beached whale' comments: 'Sorry, bullies'

Natalie Hage is covering all things curvy for Yahoo Lifestyle. Read her articles for an honest take on navigating the world as a plus-size woman, and follow Hage on Instagram for more. 

Hunter McGrady is exploding in the plus-size scene. Whether you know her from her powerful painted-on swimsuit photos in Sports Illustrated’s 2017 Swimsuit Issue or more recently on the runway for big names like Chromat and Torrid, the world is her stage right now.

Hunter McGrady’s sexy red-carpet look. (Photo: Getty Images)

I got the opportunity to talk to her backstage at Torrid’s first runway show and it was such a delight. She was a commanding presence with such a gentle, fun demeanor. We got to gab about how it feels to be represented during New York Fashion Week and her own self-love journey. She shared that she’s struggled with confidence in the past, especially because she started modeling as a size 2. Her body grew as she became older and she tells us, “Everything kind of grew out for me. I felt really sexy. This is the body that God gave me and I felt just very comfortable with myself.”

It hasn’t always been so easy, though. Hunter let us in on parts of her life that weren’t filled with such confidence. “I struggled very badly with depression when I was younger.”

Everyone, not just plus-size people, can have body insecurity. How do we deal with it, though? Especially in times of internet hate and trolls that love to bully us? I asked Hunter this and she had a very fascinating answer: She doesn’t give them a chance to be mean to her. Literally. “There’s a place you can go [on Instagram] and put in what comments you don’t want. I put in everything from ‘fat,’ ‘ugly,’ ‘beached whale…’ You can’t put that on my page. Sorry, bullies. You don’t have that option.”

Sorry, bullies — you’re not welcome on Hunter’s social media

Instagram has allowed users to moderate their comments since September 2016, but it isn’t a widely known feature. Instead of having to block comments altogether users are able to filter out words they do not want to appear. “This feature lets you list words you consider offensive or inappropriate,” as it’s described on the Instagram blog. “Comments with these words will be hidden from your posts.”

It’s dumbfounding to me that even someone as stunning and successful as McGrady is has to deal with that kind of hate and it goes to show that no plus size person is spared. Taking that power away from people who only want to bully others is amazing. I just hope that one day, we won’t need to do that and people will allowed to live their lives unapologetically.

I picked Hunter’s brain about plus-size fashion myths that she wanted to dispel. “I am such an advocate for wear what you want. I will wear the skimpiest bikini. I don’t care if you see my stretch marks or my back fat or my rolls, I rock it out. We can do it!”

Meeting Hunter was such a great part of a wild, perfect week. I can only hope people take some of her energy and confidence and apply it to their lives too.

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