Hunter McGrady made history in 2017 as the curviest model—a size 16—to ever appear in Sports’ Illustrated’s swimsuit issue, amplifying her platform for body positivity and inclusive sizing. Ahead of her wedding, she opened up to Glamour about the pressure put on brides to lose weight, why she thinks that’s bullshit, and how she focused on feeling confident and excited—not thinner.
When I was younger, probably 18 or 19, I used to watch shows like Say Yes to the Dress, and Four Weddings and hear women say over and over “Well, this is great, but I’m planning on dropping about 30lbs.” I remember thinking, When did your wedding become your weight loss journey? Society is always trying to dictate what a woman’s body should look like and that’s especially true when women become brides. We’re told we have to lose weight, that our arms have to look a certain way, that we need to change everything about ourselves before we walk down the aisle.
Planning your wedding is supposed to be so much fun, but the emphasis placed on weight makes it tainted, stressful. I made a vow with myself and my fiancé that I would not get stressed over this wedding—so I called bullshit on the idea that I should lose weight for my wedding.
When I started dress shopping, one of the first questions sales people asked me was if I was planning on staying this size for the wedding. It made my heart sink. I walked in feeling confident and dreaming of a dress that was romantic and whimsical and suddenly all I could think was, Wait a second, should I lose weight? I even had salespeople say that they could cover certain areas to hide my hips or my tummy. Are you kidding? I want to accentuate my curves! Here’s another thing: we need to start educating the people that work in retail about how to speak to customers, because if they want to help, they need to do it the correct way.
Not every woman is ashamed of their body. We need to stop pushing that narrative.
The sizes on wedding dresses don’t help. In the wedding world, the number is actually higher than the sizes of your street clothes. I’m a size 16/18, but in a wedding dress I’m a 22/24, which is wild to me. As women, we’re constantly pressured to fit into a certain size. There’s so much pressure placed on the number inside your dress and we’ve been told our entire lives that larger numbers are bad—society has brainwashed us to believe that being anything larger in a number-size is worth freaking out about it, and that’s bullshit.