Gracelyn “Gracie” Hunt is the granddaughter of the late Lamar Hunt, a businessman best known for founding the American Football League in 1960. She is on hand at Super Bowl 2021 to cheer on her family’s team, the Kansas City Chiefs, as they take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in what is the Chiefs’ fourth appearance ever in the NFL championship game.
Here’s what you need to know about this blonde beauty who is sure to be cheering hard in the owner’s box on Sunday, February 7.
1. Gracie’s Family Has Ties to Many Different Professional Sports Leagues
While her grandfather’s biggest claim to fame is probably founding the AFL, the league that would eventually combine with the National Football League to form the NFL as we know it today, Lamar Hunt is also behind several other professional sports organizations.
He co-founded North American League Soccer in 1968, which was the predecessor to Major League Soccer. Hunt founded Major League Soccer in 1993 and it has been growing ever since, currently boasting 26 teams. Within MLS, Hunt founded the Kansas City Wizards, the Columbus Crew, and FC Dallas.
Hunt also co-founded World Championship Tennis and was the founder and owner of the Kansas City Chiefs until his death in 2006. At that time, his four children — Sharron, Lamar Jr., Daniel, and Clark — took over joint ownership of the Chiefs, with Gracie’s dad Clark taking on the role of chairman and CEO of the professional football team.
2. Her Mom Is a Former Beauty Queen and Gracie Followed in Her Footsteps
Gracie’s mom is Tavia Shackles (pictured above, center), who grew up in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, a Kansas City suburb. She got her start in the Miss Lee’s Summit pageant and went on to be crowned Miss Missouri Teen USA in 1990. At the national pageant, she made it to the Top 12 alongside future actresses Ali Landry (Miss Louisiana) and Bridgette Wilson (Miss Oregon); Wilson eventually won the pageant.
Gracie and her younger sister, Ava (pictured above, left), have both followed in their mom’s footsteps, albeit in Texas because that is where the family’s primary home is. In 2017, Gracie, a student at Southern Methodist University, competed in the Miss Texas Teen USA pageant, finishing fourth runner-up. Then in 2018, Gracie was crowned Miss Texas International and little sister Ava won Miss Pre Teen Texas International 2018. During her reign, Gracie also hosted the Miss California International pageant.
And the two sisters share more than pageants — Ava and Gracie actually share a birthday. On March 29, 2021, Gracie will turn 22 and Ava will turn 15. On their shared birthday in 2018, Gracie wrote on Instagram, “Today is a magical day…it’s the day I was gifted with my Birthday Twin 12 years ago. Aves–in God’s wisdom, He knew better than I. I didn’t think I wanted to share my birthday, but He answered my prayers for a baby sister by delivering you as my lifelong birthday gift. I’m so glad we get to celebrate together forever! Love you Bitty!”
3. Gracie Is an NFL Women’s Apparel Spokesmodel
According to the Kansas City Star, Gracie got her modeling start as an NFL Women’s Apparel model back in 2012 when she was just 13 years old. When asked if she wanted to become a professional model someday, she said at the time, “I’d like to, maybe, if my parents let me.”
Fast-forward eight years — her parents must have said it was OK because Gracie is well on her way. She frequently models Chiefs NFL apparel on Instagram and her mom Tavia hosts an annual “Chiefs Style Lounge” event every November where the latest NFL apparel looks are showcased by Gracie and Ava, among other models. Tavia has been instrumental in getting women’s apparel integrated into the NFL merchandise offerings.
“When I first got involved with the [NFL apparel] campaign about 10 years ago … we really did not have options. We were cutting down our husbands’ jerseys and just wearing guys t-shirts – tying them up and making them look cute – and it’s changed so much,” Hunt said in an interview with the Chiefs’ official website. “It’s been exciting to see the response to the demand as the appetite for it has grown. I’m so proud of what we have to offer fans and I think you see it reflected on game day.”
4. Gracie Used to Date Denver Broncos Quarterback Drew Lock
According to SportsGossip, back in September, Gracie did an Instagram Q&A where someone asked if she had ever dated an NFL player and she said that she had, but she did not say who it was. However, a tipster told the website that it was none other than Drew Lock, the quarterback for the Chiefs’ AFC West rival Denver Broncos.
The tipster backed up his or her information with photos, so it does indeed look like Gracie and Drew were an item once upon a time. But they have since broken up. The University of Missouri has recently been seen all over social media with Instagram model and University of Colorado student Natalie Newman.
Gracie, meanwhile, responded to the rumors that Lock broke up with her by posting an ad for the dating app Bumble on Twitter, writing, “Rumor Alert! Just to set the record straight – I’ve never been ‘broken up’ with. Right now I’m a very happy single girl, but maybe I’ll find my plus one for the SUPERBOWL on @bumble. Check it out!”
5. Her Faith Is A Big Part of Her Life
Gracie’s Instagram profile lists Proverbs 3:5, which is a Bible verse that reads, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Indeed, her Instagram is full of posts about her relationship with God and her following of Jesus Christ.
On New Year’s Eve 2019, she wrote, “Wishing you blessings, peace, and joy in 2020! 2019 taught me a lot. As we all do, I faced silent struggles, shed some (at times a lot of) tears, but am definitely stronger than I’ve ever been. God uses it all to prepare us for what’s coming. The good and the bad. The growth allows more strength for future trials, more gratitude for the good times, and more intense appreciation of the beautiful, painful journey that we’re on. For me, the result of trusting a sovereign God is that I am now in a place where I’m happier with life than I’ve ever been, more sure of my direction and purpose each day, and truly feel confidently beautiful in all aspects of who I am as a person.
“We all go through seasons of life that are difficult. Life is like that. We’re all either in a trial, coming out of a trial, or getting ready to walk through a trial. It is how we persevere, grow, and face the future that determines who we will become. This decade has been a whirlwind beginning with soccer and multiple concussions, doors closing and new ones opening— pushing me to find a new path. I’m grateful for it all and everyone along the way. … It’s real truth that acts as iron sharpening iron and there’s nothing better than that!! I’m thankful for the opportunity to have been both Miss Teen Texas International and Miss Texas International, and the inner growth, beauty, and friendships that pageants have brought to my life. I’ve never been more ready to tackle the next chapter of life. Bring on the New Year because I believe the best is yet to come.”
Gracie is also a Special Olympics Unified Global Ambassador and founded a non-profit organization called Breaking Barriers Through Sports, which “uses sports and its lessons as a mechanism to break barriers, bond people together, and promote inclusion worldwide.” She frequently auctions things off on her website to raise money for the foundation.