'Curviest model ever' Hunter McGrady talks being a plus-size bride: 'Give me the tightest, sexiest dress'

The “curviest model ever” to be featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is breaking another barrier for curvy women by becoming the first plus-size bride to cover The Knot.

But Hunter McGrady, who has fought for years to be represented within an industry that favors straight-size women, still says there’s a lot of work to be done in plus fashion — and it starts with supporting brands who are doing it right.

In an exclusive interview with Yahoo Lifestyle, the 26-year-old shared that she was “elated” when asked to do the fall fashion cover of the wedding publication, and saw it as an opportunity to start an honest conversation.

“I really wanted to allow people in to say, ‘Listen, these are the struggles of dress shopping. This is what I went through. This is why wedding planning was either hard or easy for me, whatever it is.’ And just being a plus-size woman getting married,” McGrady said.

One of the biggest pieces of advice that McGrady offered as a plus bride was about throwing away any feedback that people had given about shopping for a wedding dress to flatter her figure.

“Everyone always told me my whole life, ‘You’re a bigger girl, don’t wear anything skintight, we don’t want to show off those curves. Don’t wear anything covered up to here because it doesn’t look great on your bust,’” she explained. “So naturally, I’m like, well give me the tightest, sexiest dress for my ceremony and then give me a high neck for my reception. I was like, I’m gonna go against the grain because I love those two things.”

Still, she admitted that throwing away those preconceived notions of what a plus bride should look for in a dress didn’t make it easy to find one that she loved. Instead, she had to make hers custom with Watters for just the right fit.

“I still can’t just go down to Soho or Fifth Avenue and shop. That doesn’t exist for me,” she continued. “But yet, 70 percent of America is a size 14 or above.”

And while Fashion Week events like TheCurvyCon — a three-day convention that brings together celebrities, body-positive influencers and their fans to celebrate diversity and fashion inclusivity — show that there’s progress being made in embracing body positivity on the runway, McGrady is not surprised that the exclusive Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is rumored to not be taking place this year.

“There’s women who are literally desperately saying, ‘Please, please, please get bigger sizes, showcase trans women,’” she said of the feedback facing the lingerie brand.

But instead of being fixated on what’s wrong with brands like Victoria’s Secret, McGrady stays focused on those who are doing right by women of all shapes and sizes — namely, Savage X Fenty by Rihanna.

“I mean they had every woman on the runway and it was blasted around the world because people were like, ‘Wow. This is what I want to see,’” McGrady noted. “Support people who are doing it right. I think we’ll get there though, I’m very optimistic.”

Go to TheCurvycon.com to buy tickets for the 2019 convention.

Visit Yahoo Lifestyle on Friday, Sept. 6 and Saturday, Sept. 7 to watch our livestream of TheCurvyCon 2019, and follow us on Instagram for some fun activations before the event!