Gracie Hunt: An In-Depth Look at a Game Changer

Meet Gracie Hunt: fitness enthusiast, blogger and above all, a true game changer. For many students, getting involved outside of college might seem like a daunting task, but Gracie faces it head on, spending her time participating in service and philanthropic organizations, as well as balancing schoolwork, a nonprofit and family commitments. I had the privilege of sitting down with Gracie and discussing everything from her goals to service, but above all of that, how she stays grounded in her identity and faith.

 

Gracie is currently a Sophomore majoring in Journalism, and is the daughter of Clark Hunt, an SMU alum who played and was the captain of the SMU Men’s Soccer team, as well as Tavia Hunt, former Miss Missouri Teen USA, Miss Kansas USA and second runner-up to Miss USA, all members of the prominent Hunt family.

But what exactly is a college experience? Most of us define it in various ways, but Gracie doesn’t define hers’ as a “typical” one. Characterizing her lifestyle outside of the classroom as busy would be an understatement, but that doesn’t stop her from giving 100 percent effort in everything she does.

She told me, “I am using my voice and my platform to bring about change and to leave this world a better place,” and she’s definitely accomplishing that.

Currently, she’s involved with multiple off-campus responsibilities, such as working with the Kansas City Make-A-Wish Foundation, NFL Play 60, planning charity events with the Chief’s Women’s Organization, participating in a committee for the Circle of Red/American Heart Association and is a global ambassador for Special Olympics. In addition, she started her own nonprofit, Breaking Barriers Through Sports, which aims to provide community, teamwork and involvement for children through soccer, and funds sport courts for children in schools around the Dallas area.

On top of that, she also currently holds the title of Miss Texas International 2018 and was previously Miss Texas Teen International in 2016.

However, underneath all of those commitments, staying grounded and focused is very important to her. Gracie describes herself as a goal and future-oriented person with a strong work ethic but still looks to her faith and family to assist her in the ups and downs of life.

On Faith and Family:

She says, “What keeps me grounded first and foremost is my faith and my relationship with Jesus Christ and then having a solid family that believes in me, that encourages me in what I want to pursue, and that gives it to me hard when they know that [I] need to improve in this area. They’re not going to be afraid to tell me that. I want people in my life who will sharpen me, as the iron sharpens iron, so one man will sharpen another when you’re rooted in Christ.”

As far as family goes, Gracie says her influences are her mom, her dad, and her grandmother. She describes her relationship with her mom as a unique experience because they’re “best friends” and shares that they’re a team, especially regarding pageantry. Additionally, she notes that she was always a daddy’s girl, and calls her dad an inspiration, who “loves God first, loves his wife second, and loves all of us as a family better than anything I could’ve ever hoped for.” She also expresses that her grandmother is the “most fabulous grandmother ever, who is fun and optimistic and is really the matriarch of [my] family.”

On Identity and Overcoming Difficulty:

As a former soccer player, Gracie had always felt like she knew what her future plans were going to be: playing in college. However, with the news of a fourth concussion, her plans were forced to change.

“When you’re that age, you don’t really know what you want to do with your life, you may or may not even know where you want to go to college, but you have your sport,” she explained, “But for me, that was all taken, and it really forced me to reevaluate what I wanted to do. It was incredibly painful to feel like your identity is something you no longer have control of.”

Yet, she still confidently defines part of her identity by sports, affectionately describing herself as the “Chief’s girl.” She says that sports are a huge part of who she is. Ultimately, she illustrates her identity by her faith, family, sports, pageantry and everything else in between.

Gracie also shared with me some of her favorite words to live by. Two of her favorite sayings are “Do not lower your standards, but lengthen your patience,” and from the 2015 “Cinderella” movie, “Have courage and be kind.”

Ultimately, does she regret having the lifestyle she does, even when people could comment on her “atypical” college experience? No. She says that she has made some of her most amazing friends at SMU so far and has been able to grow and learn in a college setting.

“I did mature fast. I have lived and done a lot of things, and so that’s made me internally mature more quickly, but I think it’s so important to enjoy every step of the journey that you’re on, because life is not about wishing the moment away until you get somewhere you want to be, it’s about taking in each moment each day.”

 

Check out Gracie’s health, fitness, and lifestyle blog, Living Gracefully.

All photos via Gracie Hunt.