Jillian Mercado

Jillian Mercado (born April 30, 1987) is an actress and American fashion model represented by CAA Fashion. As a wheelchair user (due to muscular dystrophy), she is one of the few professional models who has a visible physical disability in the fashion industry.[3] A prominent figure in the new wave of models challenging beauty ideals in the fashion industry, Mercado is keen to fight the lack of representation of people with disabilities in the fashion industry and their enduring stigma.[4]

Jillian Mercado
Jillian Mercado at Adweek.jpg
Mercado interviewed by Adweek in 2020
Born (1987-04-30) April 30, 1987 (age 35)
Occupation(s)Model, actress and activist
Years active2014–present
Modeling information
Height5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)[1]
Hair colorBlonde
Eye colorBrown
AgencyCAA (Los Angeles)[2]

Early lifeEdit

Mercado was born and raised in New York, NY.[5] She is of Dominican ancestry, and has two younger sisters. Diagnosed with spastic muscular dystrophy as a child, she believes her interest in fashion originated from her mother, a dressmaker, and her father, once a shoe salesman.[6] As a fashion merchandising student at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology from 2006 to 2010, she completed internships at Veranda and Allure magazine. She would continue on to attending Fashion Week for years as a volunteer which ultimately gave her the opportunity to cover events for society photographer Patrick McMullan's PMc Magazine.[7]


In 2014, Mercado featured in her first campaign, for designer denim brand Diesel,[8] which she was selected by Nicola Formichetti. Its success captured the attention of IMG Models President Ivan Bart and landed her a modelling contract with IMG in August 2015.[9][10] She has since starred in several campaigns for Nordstrom as well as in former Vogue Paris editor Carine Roitfeld's CR Fashion Book where she was photographed by Michael Avedon.[11] Jillian is currently represented by CAA Worldwide.

In March 2016, Mercado was announced as one of three models to appear in the latest campaign for Beyoncé's official website, promoting merchandise for the singer's new single and 2016 Formation world tour.[12] Later that spring, she was featured in a Target Corporation marketing campaign that debuted during Telemundo's Billboard Latin Music Awards.[13] In September 2016, Mercado appeared in the editorial features of Glamour (magazine) and Cosmopolitan (magazine). By the end of that year, Mercado appeared on her first cover for Posture Magazine.[14]

In February 2017, Mercado appeared in an editorial for Galore magazine.[15] She identifies as queer.[16]

In 2019 Jillian Mercado started to play Maribel on The L Word: Generation Q.


  1. ^ IMG Models
  2. ^ "Jillian Mercado - Model".
  3. ^ Okwodu, Janelle (August 26, 2015). "Jillian Mercado Wants to Change the Fashion Industry—Here's How She's Going to Do It" Vogue.
  4. ^ Harmon, Steph (March 18, 2016). "Beyonce casts model with muscular dystrophy to promote new products". The Guardian.
  5. ^ Mercado, Jillian. "About". Jillian Mercado official website.
  6. ^ 'Wheelchair-bound Blogger Warms Fashion Week Hearts". The Daily Beast US. Feb 7, 2013.
  7. ^ 'Who is Jillian Mercado?". Elle UK. Mar 22, 2016.
  8. ^ Jillian Mercado Diesel Campaign. The Guardian. Jan 2014.
  9. ^ Jillian Mercado. IMG Models
  10. ^ Dazed and Confused. Is this 2015's most important model signing? Jillian Mercado joins IMG – the wheelchair user explains why disability in fashion can no longer be ignored. Emma Hope Allwood
  11. ^ "CR Fashion Book. Jillian Mercado". Archived from the original on 2017-04-22. Retrieved 2016-03-20.
  12. ^ i-D. Jillian Mercado stars in Beyonce's new campaign
  13. ^ The Washington Post. Jillian Mercado made it as a model with a disability. Here's what she wants next. Caitlin Gibson
  14. ^ Posture Magazine.
  15. ^ Galore Magazine. Jillian Mercado and Ira Chernova Get Real About Romance. Here's what she wants next. Galore Girl
  16. ^ Phillips, Carmen (15 December 2019). "Jillian Mercado Is Queer: Model, Activist and Gen Q Actress Comes Out on Instagram". Autostraddle. Retrieved July 2, 2021.

External linksEdit