“When I was younger, I would have loved to have seen something like this—I would have loved to have seen more real women being their true, authentic self, and being praised for it,” is how supermodel Hunter McGrady describes why she’s pairing up with Olay’s Campaign to Maximize Women, a mission dedicated to encouraging more women to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
The 27-year-old, who has always been a steadfast supporter of the body-positive movement and confidence for women overall, says she sees this moment in time as one of heightened female empowerment. “We are so badass and so worthy of success. For far too long, women have been told to fit into a certain box and to shrink themselves and essentially minimize themselves. We’re screaming from the rooftops, saying, ‘We have a voice. Our voice is valuable.’ We’re allowed to take up space in this world, whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally. We deserve that space.”
The best beauty advice I’ve ever received: I started really loving beauty at a very young age—I would say as early as five or six years old. My mom was a model and my grandmother was a model, so everything was about having healthy skin and all that good stuff. I was always around it and I wanted to be just like them. I very vividly remember my mom teaching me how to apply moisturizer. She said, “You’re going to want to basically take it up, always go up—as you go toward your scalp, go up, up, up, and do it on your neck, too. Never forget your neck.” That has stuck with me for 20-plus years.
The beauty advice I give my 10-year-old stepdaughter: She loves playing with makeup and skin care, but my best beauty advice is, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re wrong, whatever you do.” Of course, beauty is not just on the outside—it’s on the inside, too—and I am always reminding her of that.
The beauty advice I wish I could give to my younger self: Not to do so much! When I was younger, I was constantly trying to look different and look like the models I was seeing in magazines. I would go to school with a full face of makeup, and I had a very rigorous [laughs] skin-care routine. I was like 16 years old, and I didn’t need it. I would tell myself to enjoy it and don’t do so much!
The advice I give to other women: I’ve been in this business for 15 years, and in just the last two years I’ve seen a drastic change in the way women are feeling and talking about themselves—that is such a huge win. It mainly goes back to social media and media in general. We’re really starting to see a lot more authenticity, which is crucial and important for our psyche. We need that. Whether we believe it or not, we are constantly being fed these ideals, and when those ideals are not relatable, you get down on yourself.
The advice I give to myself every day: Confidence is something I work on every single day. It’s not a final destination. You’re not just going to wake up and end there and become confident. There is no perfect formula. However, it is available to all of us if we want it. I am such a firm believer in positive affirmations—literally talking to myself in the mirror. It’s a very interesting feeling because I’m really tapping into my inner-woman and my inner-spirit and telling her the things I love about her. “I am valuable. I am worthy. I am enough. I am beautiful.” When you do that, your mind changes in beautiful ways.
“This unretouched photo of me (left) brought me to tears. I remember being younger and thinking, ‘I’ll never get skin like these girls. They have no peach fuzz. They have no redness.’ To see myself in that light is really remarkable.” Right: Hunter’s mother and grandmother