Kit Steinkellner
Updated Aug 20, 2015 @ 9:28 am
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We have been big fans of model Jillian Mercado since we laid eyes on her badass campaign for Diesel Jeans. What separates the gorgeous as heck and fierce AF 28-year-old Mercado from most models is the fact that she has spastic muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair. We cheer every time we see Mercado getting her model on, from last summer’s Nordstrom catalog to Unique Vintage’s recent #IAmUnique campaign.

So of course we celebrated hard when we found out that Mercado just signed with IMG Models (for those not in the fashion know, this is one of the world’s top modeling agencies).

“Growing up I didn’t think of [modeling] as being a possibility, and I was a little scared about throwing myself into it,” Mercado told The Wall Street Journal. “When I was younger, I didn’t see anyone out there like me doing this very thing.” However, while working a series of fashion industry jobs, Mercado got the attention of Nicola Formichetti, fashion director for Diesel. “I used to see her around and I was always completely drawn to her,” Formichetti explained to WSJ. “She went everywhere, to parties and events, and it was so cool and brave.”

When Mercado applied to Diesel’s open model call on Facebook, she told the company that she wanted to be a part of the project “Because I want to change the world.” She, of course, booked the gig, and Formichetti describes the day of her Diesel shoot as “…One of the most beautiful moments I’ve had on set. Everyone was in tears. It was more than fashion.”

From the Diesel shoot on, Mercado’s motto has been “Go big or go home.” As she explained to WSJ, her goal is to do “campaigns and covers or TV shows or movies or music videos. It’s endless. We really want to change the industry.”

We want to see Mercado check off every box on this list, which is why we are so excited that she now has a powerhouse like IMG repping her. Congratulations to one of our favorite models for achieving this career milestone. We can’t wait to see all the wonderful things you’re going to accomplish in this next chapter of your career.


(Image via Instagram)