In the six years since Jillian Mercado was hand-picked by Diesel creative director Nicola Formichetti to appear in a campaign, her career has only gone up, up, up. Since then, she has modeled for high-profile clients including CR Fashion Book, Nordstrom, Teen Vogue, and a singer-songwriter you just might have heard of, Beyoncé.
Mercado has muscular dystrophy, and as one of the few professional models with a physical disability, she shines a light on the disability community simply by being herself. Now, having landed a role in The L Word: Generation Q, she’s expanding her repertoire and her social following at the same time—and continuing to use her platform to call for change.
Recently, Rose Inc. caught up with Mercado via phone and email for her thoughts on coping through a crisis, advocating for the disability community, and the eternal power of a badass leather jacket.