Go Away With ... Hunter McGrady

Celebrity Travel by Jae-Ha Kim

Modeling runs in Hunter McGrady's family. Her mother, aunt and grandmother all modeled. And she, too, started modeling when she was 16. At nearly 6-foot tall, McGrady grew disheartened when agents told her she should trim a little fat from her already gaunt, size two body. Now 23, McGrady is one of the most popular "plus size" models, having recently appeared in Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit issue. Based out of Manhattan, McGrady stays in touch with her fans via social media. You may follow her on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/HunterMcGrady) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HunterMcGradyModel).

Q. Where did you shoot your Sports Illustrated swimsuit pictorial?

A. We shot in Anguilla, which was absolutely magical. I felt like I was in a dream land. The weather was dreamy! I hadn't been there before and was able to go back just two weeks after I shot SI to shoot another swim campaign. I wanna vacation there!

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. Venice, Italy. I could ride a gondola and eat gnocchi every day, please! Bring stretchy pants, because you'll be eating decadent food every day that you can't say no to. Go on all the gondola rides and then make your way to Florence, Italy.

Q. What untapped destination should people know about?

A. Galinhos, Brazil. I just shot there and basically stayed in a treehouse. It was pretty spectacular. There are no cars on the island. Their mode of transportation is dune buggy, horse and boat! Stunning sand dunes and beaches!

Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?

A. My first trip was to Europe. My dad was filming a movie there, so we were able to travel around to Berlin, Rome, Venice and Florence for a month. I didn't appreciate it like I do now.

Q. What's the most important thing you've learned from your travels?

A. Make sure you double and triple check that you have all your documents, have a bit of cash available and extra phone chargers!

Q. Have you traveled to a place that stood out so much that you felt compelled to incorporate it into your work?

A. Well, I traveled to New York from Los Angeles, where I am from, so much that I ended up moving to New York!

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A. I love Santa Barbara when I am in California. It's a home away from home, where I can just lounge on the beach in peace.

Q. Where is the most romantic destination?

A. Venice! The water, the scenery, the singing, the streets, the food! It's a place you will "re-fall" in love.

Q. If you've ever gone away for the holidays, which was the best trip?

A. Disneyland. I want to go to Disneyland every holiday. It's always magical.

Q. What are your favorite hotels?

A. Four Seasons (http://www.fourseasons.com). They are incredible everywhere you go. The W hotels (http://www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels/index.html) are really chic and modern, too.

Q. What are your five favorite cities?

A. Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle -- go Seahawks! -- Venice, Vancouver.

Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?

A. Santa Barbara.

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A. I would love to go to Iceland. It's so stunning. I'm Icelandic and all my extended family is out there, but I haven't made it out yet.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. Phone chargers, laptop, a pair of sweatpants, Weleda Skin Food, comfy pajamas.

Q. What would be your dream trip?

A. A romantic getaway to Iceland, or Bali or both.

Q. What are your favorite restaurants?

A. I love this place called Peacefood Cafe (http://www.peacefoodcafe.com/) in New York City. It's vegan and, although I'm not vegan, it's scrumptious! I also love The Cheesecake Factory (https://www.thecheesecakefactory.com/). There are so many dang options.

Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?

A. Reese's! I pick some up whenever I'm getting on an airplane or on a road trip.

Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?

A. I look at the best adventures they have and their best restaurants; two key things to have down.

Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?

A. My best vacation memory would be traveling to Europe with my family, and I don't have any worsts! You're on vacation! How bad could it be?

(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at www.jaehakim.com. You may also follow "Go Away With..." on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)


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