Hunter McGrady on Tyra Banks, What Helps Her Skin Post-Pregnancy and Posing With Ice Cream in a Bathing Suit

Hunter McGrady on Tyra Banks, What Helps Her Skin Post-Pregnancy and Posing With Ice Cream in a Bathing Suit featured image
Courtesy of Baskin Robbins

Within moments of hoping on a Zoom with Sports Illustrated cover star Hunter McGrady, we were bonding over our shared hairstylist, Kennedy Trisler, and how basically no one else is allowed to cut our hair. Other things we both share a love for? Eating ice cream in our bathing suits, hydrating skin care and Tyra Banks.

“They’re down for the baddies,” McGrady says of her recent partnership with Baskin Robbins to promote their Beach Day flavor. “I also love that they’re using a plus-size woman because ice cream is not one-size-fits-all. I always tell people and brands that things like makeup, ice cream, shoes, fruit, whatever is not one-size-fits-all, so let’s showcase everybody.”

I want to hear about how you’re feeling after being on the cover of Sports Illustrated and receiving such positive reactions, including those from Tyra Banks. I saw your post about how her comments healed you—tell me a bit about that.

“That was absolutely incredible. I did not expect that post at all from Tyra Banks. It came in late at night, and I was like, ‘Whoa, I cannot sleep after this.’ I think that one of the messages that I got from a lot of women healed a bit of the girl growing up watching America’s Top Model and feeling like, ‘Oh, gosh, I don’t know if I’ll ever get that kind of validation.’

I think the number one thing I want to get across is that people keep being like, ‘Oh, but wasn’t she part of the toxic culture?’ We cannot put that on one person. This is the culture that raised all of us, even her. And when we know better, we do better. You know? So it was a very, very cool, surreal experience. She is absolutely the best, and it was very exciting.”

When do you feel your best, most confident, happiest self?

“Going back to Baskin Robbins, we were shooting for the campaign yesterday. And I was in a swimsuit, and I was on the beach, and I was doing what I love. I was modeling, I was at the beach, I was in my body, eating ice cream, truly living my best life.

I think that if I could tell my 16-year-old self to do that, I would because I used to just really look at life as a bystander and not jump in with two feet fully and be fully myself and live authentically and do the things that I actually love. In that moment yesterday when we were shooting, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that this is my life.’ I get to do this, and love it, and just be fully true to who I am now.

I feel like old me would have really never even thought of that—being in a bathing suit and eating ice cream. The way I grew up was in a toxic diet culture, and you had to look a certain way to wear a swimsuit and also don’t touch that, no on the calories. We’re living our best life now. That is like old news. We are beach day baddies.”

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

“Definitely Beach Day, which is coming out again July 1st. It is a fan favorite. It is absolutely iconic. If you are someone who just likes a sweet treat, this is for you. It’s a salted vanilla flavored ice cream, and it has caramel drizzle and caramel-filled chocolate turtles and graham crackers.

And they are now coming out with, not just a cone, but with a shake, and then you can also buy it in a quart, which is so exciting, and there’s even merch, which I just got, and it’s so cute. They gave me a sweater that says ‘Beach Day baddie.’ And I’m like, yes, I am a Beach Day baddie in my Beach Day merch eating my Beach Day ice cream. It’s absolutely incredible, and it’s like a beach in a cup or a scoop or a quart.”

What are some beach day essentials you always pack?

“I think my main thing is always coverage like sunscreen, hat, umbrella. I like to keep it simple. I love to bring my sweet treat—I think that that is so important. I feel like that is such a nostalgic time for me—being at the beach and eating ice cream, and that is so synonymous with summer. Now, having two kids of my own, our favorite thing to do is go to the beach, eat ice cream and chill. I always say less is more at the beach. Don’t go lugging a bunch of stuff. Just enjoy it. All you need is a towel and ice cream.”

Do you have any skin-care favorites you always turn to?

“Yes, oh my gosh. I recently have been super into Clarins products. I’m not affiliated with them at all. I just love them and have been using them.

As I had children, my skin changed drastically. It used to be super oily and breakout acne-prone. Now, it’s the absolute opposite. It’s dry and flaky and crusty and dusty, so anything super moisturizing is for me.

I’m also huge on micellar water. After I wash my face, that is my ticket because I just don’t trust the water coming out of my faucet, and I like to double up. And then a really great lip balm is my go-to —just a nourishing, sun protectant lip balm.”

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