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When things feel especially dark, it’s important to have coping strategies (thank you, therapy). Mine include listening to the Steven Universe soundtrack on repeat, kissing my cats’ ears, and seeking out people who have their head screwed on right. Hunter McGrady is one of the latter: The supermodel, body positivity advocate, podcast host, and Olay ambassador has a million balls in the air, yet prioritizes helping women of all sizes feel seen and worthwhile.
So while McGrady says she had the classic pregnancy glow pre-birth, her skin turned a bit of a mess afterwards with a smattering of dark spots and melasma. To take one stress off her plate, the supermodel partnered with Olay to create a bundle of easy, accessible, result-oriented skincare. For Mother’s Day, McGrady hopped on a Zoom call with InStyle to discuss her favorite products, how motherhood has shifted her idea of beauty, and how she stays strong through the tough days.
I would love to start by hearing about your experience of new motherhood and some of the challenges and highlights.
“Oh my goodness. It’s been such a whirlwind, but it’s been better than I could have imagined. I’m so in love with this little human — he has changed me as a person. Like the way he looks at a leaf, I ‘m like, oh my gosh, he’s so enamored with this, and this is how I should start looking at things.
I will say there are those struggles that go along with it though, of feeling like you really don’t have that alone time anymore, feeling like you’re really outside of your body. This body that I have known for so many years looks completely different now… I’m learning every single day. Every month brings us new challenges, but also brings the most special experiences and memories.”
It upends everything. With the Olay partnership, how were your beauty routines helpful during this process?
“I’ve been using Olay way before I ever worked with them. My mom still uses Olay, and my grandmother. I have grown up around their products my whole life. It was the very first product that was ever introduced when I was a teenager and I started learning about skincare.
As I was going through pregnancy, my skin was beautiful and glowing and amazing. And then I had my son and I was like, ‘Where did my glow go? Where did everything go?’ I had dark spots on my forehead — which was melasma, I had bags, I had spots — I had all the things. I went to Olay and was like, ‘What can I do? What products can I use that are easy, functional, and going to actually work and make a difference?’
It’s been easy to just have that routine as my little self-care time; I think it makes such a huge difference. I’m not wearing any makeup right now — I wasn’t comfortable enough to do this before using [these products].”
What makes you excited about Olay and your favorite products?
“Olay is just so near and dear to my heart… I know Olay’s products are amazing because I’ve used them for the last 29 years, and I also appreciate what Olay is doing for the world. They’re not Photoshopping any of their images, and want the same from influencers.
They really, truly care about diversity and inclusivity, and on top of that, their products are good. The product I love the most of the entire bundle is the Regenerist Whip Face Moisturizer, if you need one thing in your life that is your holy grail. I have to stash it away from my husband.”
You talk about beauty standards online and on your podcast. I’m wondering, has motherhood shifted your idea of beauty at all?
“It’s funny — when you become a mom, you’re so focused on this one person and the way that they’re living their lives… I see the way that Hudson loves himself. He smiles and he giggles and points at himself, he tries to reach himself. And I have really been taken back quite a few times of like, ‘Oh my gosh, we all felt that at one point in our life, we all felt that pure love for ourselves and wonderment.’
And so I’ve really had to look inward and do the work, and say, ‘Where along the line was I told to lose that?’ Yes, I’m confident, and yes, I love my body, but I still have those days — because I’m human — where I don’t love it so much, and where I don’t feel so comfortable and confident. I really have to say, remind yourself of that childlike wonderment. Before society told you what you had to look like and be like, and think of that young girl who didn’t care about what her body looked like, who didn’t even know what stretch marks were. Hudson looks at my stretch marks and he loves them. So, I’ve really appreciated my body in a new way. It also created this life that I love so much.”
How do you handle those low body image moments, when they do happen, to set a good example, but still be human? What do you tell yourself?
“I have to look at it in the way of, it’s a shift. I’m meeting this new body every day. We continuously do it as humans, as we age — our bodies change and weight fluctuates. Honor that and say, this has gotten me 29 years of life. I feel bad some days, but I feel really beautiful other days. Look at the places I’ve gone with this body, look at the things I’ve done. Look at the success I’ve created with this body.
My sister, mom, and husband are the first to remind me, and just really writing that down helps. I have a gratitude journal that I’m constantly filling in. And if I ever have a bad day, I just go back to it.”
I love that. Outside of yourself, how do you think the beauty and fashion industries are doing with representation?
“I get asked this question quite a bit, and I always wish I could say, ‘We’re there! We did it,’ but we have a long way to go as far as representation. I think that big brands making statements, like Olay and Sports Illustrated and other brands saying, ‘We don’t care what was the norm, this is what it should be’ — it takes them for other people to say, I see what they’re doing. I see the success that brings, and I’m going to give that a go… We’re not where we started, but we have a long way to go.”