Gracie Hunt, First Daughter of the Kansas City Chiefs, Isn’t Just a Nepo Baby
24-year-old Gracie Hunt is a pageant queen, a marathon runner, a wellness influencer and, sometimes, a model. She’s an ambassador to the Special Olympics and was named Miss Kansas USA in 2021. She also happens to be the daughter of Clark Hunt, the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, whose own father Lamar Hunt founded the franchise back in 1959. Go back another generation and you’ll find Gracie’s great-grandfather, the oil tycoon H.L. Hunt, whose personal fortune was valued somewhere between one and three billion dollars when he died in 1974 (you can adjust that number for inflation yourself). All of which is to say that, upon review of her well-to-do pedigree, Gracie Hunt has the world at her candy-red fingertips, with which she’s amassed a following of nearly 250,000 followers on Instagram, where she documents her adventures as the First Daughter of Chiefs Kingdom. But don’t call her a nepo baby. “It’s about realizing that what those have done before you is wonderful,” she said days before this Sunday’s Super Bowl in Phoenix, where the Kansas City Chiefs will play the Philadelphia Eagles. “You also have to take ownership of your own life.” Before the Chiefs go for their second Lombardi Trophy in four years, Hunt talked to Interview about her unlikely foray into world of pageantry, Rihanna’s upcoming Halftime Show, and what she believes to be the key to beating the Eagles on Sunday. As for whether or not she’ll one day inherit ownership of the Chiefs, she played it coy.
JAKE NEVINS: Hey, Gracie.
GRACIE HUNT: Nice to meet you, Jake.
NEVINS: How are you? Big week.
HUNT: I’m so good. Yes, it’s a very exciting week.
NEVINS: I know this isn’t your first Super Bowl rodeo. What’s it been like?
HUNT: It feels pretty surreal until you get there. And then when you get there it suddenly becomes real. The electricity, the energy, Chiefs fans were everywhere. And suddenly you realize we really are about to play in the Super Bowl on Sunday.
NEVINS: Give me a sense of the breakdown between Chiefs and Eagles fans in Phoenix right now. Whose fans traveled more?
HUNT: Chiefs Kingdom travels so well, and I would say Chiefs fans are overpowering the Eagles fans.
NEVINS: You’re always decked out in what looks like one-of-a-kind Chiefs gear. Have you always been interested in fashion?
HUNT: My interest in fashion and style, especially related to football, started back in 2012 when my mom began the NFL Women’s line. And at that time, I started to help shoot the NFL teen apparel line. I was quite young at the time. I was playing soccer and hadn’t had much modeling experience, but we would have our big annual shoot in New York every year. And that was really my first introduction to how women could take ownership of fashion. 50% of fans in the NFL are women and making game-day fashion a thing has just caught fire across the league and I love being able to be creative with it. Yes, it is a male dominated industry, but I think that you can be a woman and love fashion and also be smart and intelligent and equipped to do your role well.
NEVINS: Your Instagram bio reads, “Knows more about football than most dudes.” So I’m curious, do people assume you aren’t well-versed in the sport, at least until they figure out who your father is?
HUNT: It’s entirely the opposite. When I was back in middle school, my math teacher was having us learn about something by having a fantasy football league. And of course everyone wanted to be on my team and that was really when I was like, “Okay, I need to lock in and learn this.” Guys certainly expect me to know quite a lot. And sometimes they’re surprised by how much I know, but I enjoy studying it. I’m getting my masters in sport management right now, so it’s definitely a passion of mine.
NEVINS: What do you hope to do with that degree?
HUNT: I love working in sports and I see myself being involved in one capacity or another throughout my life, but I have also loved getting to pursue my own ventures and see where that takes me.
NEVINS: What kind of ventures?
HUNT: None that I can tell you. [Laughs]
NEVINS: Fair enough. Growing up, when did you realize you were part of a generational sports dynasty?
HUNT: I wouldn’t say that there was a specific moment. I’m so thankful that my parents raised me the way they did with a humble outlook on life. And also to have been to what the world looks like beyond how I grew up, and beyond what the United States at large looks like. They really impressed upon us the importance of service, of giving back and of being involved, in really leaving your legacy as one that leaves the world a better place. And that’s where my passion for service in the Special Olympics began.
NEVINS: I’m sure you’re familiar with the ongoing discourse about so-called “nepotism babies.” As the daughter of an NFL owner, do you have any thoughts?
HUNT: I think what’s most important in this discussion is that, while we all might have different backgrounds and upbringing, it’s about working hard. It’s about realizing that what those have done before you is wonderful. You also have to take ownership of your own life. I’m a very driven person who has independent goals and dreams, which is what ultimately led me to go compete at Miss USA. And I had to work very hard to learn how to excel in an industry that was so foreign to me when I grew up, where my comfort zone was on the soccer field as an athlete. And I think that it’s important that you are a hard worker and that you just take ownership of your life and your destiny.
NEVINS: How did you get into pageants?
HUNT: I ended up suffering my fourth concussion, which took me out of soccer, which was my first love. I wanted to play in college. And it totally devastated me as a young person who had my identity wrapped up in the soccer field. My mom had competed at Miss USA in 1993 and knew a thing or two about the industry. She was second runner up to Miss USA her year.
HUNT: She took me under her wing, showed me the ropes. I won the first pageant I ever entered and the rest is history.
NEVINS: And now you also run marathons.
HUNT: Sports are a huge part of my identity. First, with soccer, and actually suffering from Celiac disease from the time that I was very young. The doctors didn’t know what it was because awareness didn’t exist like it does now. So that developed my passion for health, wellness, and nutrition, ultimately leading me to get my nutrition accreditation and my training accreditation. I love being able to help my family and friends because I know what it feels like to be completely miserable and not know why. So running marathons has given me that competitive outlet that I had on the soccer field, that I had in pageantry.
NEVINS: Do you have any workout buddies on the team?
HUNT: Their workout routine looks a lot different from mine. I’m not sure that Coach Reid would love it if they were running marathon mileage because it’s quite hard on your body. But I would say that our entire organization really feels like a family. And we have personal relationships with just about every single guy on the squad.
NEVINS: Do you have any updates on Patrick Mahomes’ ankle?
HUNT: I know we have one of the best training staffs in the entire league and they are working tirelessly to make sure he is ready to go on game day.
NEVINS: What’s the key to beating the Eagles on Sunday?
HUNT: Obviously, they have an incredible defense, so our offensive line is going to have to step up and take care of Mahomes. But beyond that, we also just need to focus on playing our game and not letting the outside noise that is the Super Bowl affect us. And when I say us, I mean the guys specifically, because when you are brought into this environment, you have the media and you just have all of these other obligations to make Super Bowl Sunday the incredible production that it is. And so I think that Coach Reid and our entire staff are just doing a great job of making the team hotel feel like home, keeping everyone really focused and locked in.
NEVINS: What would be your first move if you were owner of the Chiefs for a day?
HUNT: I don’t know that I can answer this question. The Chiefs’ PR people probably wouldn’t like that very much, so I’m going to skip that one.
NEVINS: Okay, let me put it this way. I know you have ambitions of your own, but would you want to inherit ownership of the team one day?
HUNT: I’m not going to be able to answer that one either.
NEVINS: Are you excited for Rihanna’s Halftime Show?
HUNT: I’m so excited for the Halftime Show. I don’t know if you are a fan of Rihanna, but I think-
NEVINS: I am. What songs do you want to hear?
HUNT: It’s hard not to say “Diamonds.” I mean, it’s so great, but I’m also loving the new one that was part of the new Black Panther movie [“Lift Me Up”] because it’s just so emotional. And I’m a big fan of the Marvel franchise and of Black Panther. The first movie was one of my all-time favorites, and the second one was as good. And so I think that one’s really special, too.
NEVINS: Well, I hope that you guys bring home the Lombardi. Thanks for taking the time.
HUNT: Of course. I’ve so enjoyed talking with you.