We’re under a month away from September’s NYFW and it’s shaping up to be the most diverse in history. From The Fat Jew + Lauren Conrad heading to the runways (separately) to up-and-coming model Madeline Stuart making her fashion week debut, the stylish weeklong festivities will be full of more than just tall, skinny blondes. Now we can add newly-signed IMG model Jillian Mercado to that ever-expanding diverse list.
You may not recognize 28-year-old model Jillian Mercado’s face or name at the moment, but that’s surely about to change. After appearing in Diesel campaigns, ads for Nordstrom and popping up in shoots for various magazines, the model who suffers from muscular dystropy is heading to the big leagues after signing with IMG Models, where the Wall Street Journal reports the agency “expects to have opportunities for Ms. Mercado during New York Fashion Week in September and for a long time after that.”
The wheelchair-confined model who developed the degenerative disease that results in the loss of muscle mass and weakness known as muscular dystrophy as a child hasn’t let that slow her down. She now joins a stellar and varied roster that includes models of the moment Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss and Georgia May Jagger as well as trans model Hari Nef, plus-size model Ashley Graham and Cindy Crawford’s daughter Kaia Gerber. Yeah, Jillian is in *amazing* company.
The Latina shared with Vivala the various ways she loves her body. In the video Jillian shared, “I goddamn love my body, a lot.” She continued, “It’s something that you really can’t fix, so you might as well embrace it cause that’s the body you have. As soon as I started doing that my life became a million times better. The end of high school I pretty much just looked myself in the mirror and said, ‘You know what, you really need to stop hating on yourself because you are unique and different, and that’s what makes you, you.'” PREACH, girl <3
What fashion campaigns or NYFW shows do you want to see Jillian appear in? Let us know in the comments.
(h/t Bustle, photos via Rommel Demano/Getty, Mireya Acierto/Getty + Jamie McCarthy/Getty)