By Florentina Narchet
Modeling is for all people – modeling is diversity –as Jillian Mercado proves – a model who suffers muscular dystrophy becomes Beyonce’s new face to promote the artist’s products.
Mercado announced this news on her Instagram, “OK LADIES now let’s get in FORMATION!” she wrote on Instagram. “So BEYond excited to finally announce that I’m on the official @beyonce website!!!”
The 28-year-old model was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy as a child. This condition is caused by a group of diseases causing progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass.
According to Mayo Clinic, “in muscular dystrophy abnormal genes (mutations) interfere with the production of proteins needed to form healthy muscle.” This disease mostly affects at a very early age and boys are more likely to be diagnosed with it. Muscular dystrophy has no cure; however, medications can treat it.
Social media and her personal blog Manufactured 1987 has been a tool for Mercado to surf in the modeling industry.
Mercado did not think that people with any physical disability were a “disable” fit into many industries, especially the modeling industry.
According to The Guardian, on an interview with Vogue Mercado expressed how from her point of view society treats these cases, “I wasn’t sure about showing everyone my world because I didn’t know if there would be an audience. We’ve been brainwashed [as a society] not to care about someone who has a disability, or their world.”
Although she is the first model with physical disability, her story has inspired others that being in a wheelchair is not an excuse to be forgotten or to even seen incapable within society.
‘“I was shocked that I didn’t see anyone in the industry that was like me,”’ Mercado told Vogue. ‘“So when people, especially girls, tell me that I’m their role model, I am taken aback. I love it and it is flattering but it affects me on a very personal level because I remember growing up without having a person I could look to,”’ she added.
On Beyoncé’s online store, Mercado can be seen wearing Beyoncé merchandise: she appears wearing a “hot sauce” cap, an “I twirl on them haters”, and “Smack it, smack it, smack it smack it” sweaters.
Also, Mercado has participated in campaigns for Diesel Jeans and Nordstrom.