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Woman with muscular dystrophy applies to be a fashion model as a joke, gets the job [5 pictures]

Jan 23, 2014 By Abraham

Jillian Mercado is a fashion blogger and the editor at We The Urban

Jillian Mercado - 03

She also has muscular dystrophy and relies on an electric wheelchair…

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Jillian Mercado - 07

A few months ago, she saw a casting call from clothing company Diesel. They were looking for young, hip models that represented a variety of cultural backgrounds. Mercado figured Why not? and sent in some pictures on a lark.

Soon after, she got an email asking for more pics because, “We are kind of interested in having you in the campaign.”

Along with 22 others, Mercado was chosen to be the face of Diesel in their next campaign and went in for a photo shoot with art director Nicola Formichetti. She didn’t know when that campaign was going to launch.

Then on Tuesday she woke up to find that she’d been tagged on Instagram by Formichetti


And now her photo is splashed across Diesel’s homepage

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…and will soon be posted in all their stores.

As you can imagine, she is very excited

You all have no idea how speechless I am right now…. Thank you for giving me a chance of a lifetime and believing in me. This is beyond everything. You guys that’s me!!

I think we can all agree she played her part perfectly and definitely deserves the spotlight.

(via Daily Mail, Huffington Post)

Share Jillian’s awesome story with your friends using the buttons below…


  1. Joy says:

    This is awesome! I hope more companies start depicting more of “real life” people in their ads including people with disabilities, people who aren’t the ideal weight (or rather overly skinny), etc

  2. Vernita Worrell says:

    I live in the same neighborhood as she does and I am also in a wheelchair. I have always tried to say Hi to her just because but she has never acknowledged me or my friends. I guess now she will really have a reason to turn her nose up at us. Here’s to show you that I am so much better then that. I wish you nothing but the best for your wonderful self in life and continue to strive for all that you want in life and make us all proud of you.

      1. James says:

        Yeah, though it would be nice if people acknowledged each other when they said hi. Some lady bumped into a door when trying to avoid walking near me at the pediatrician’s office today. I even stopped to allow her to pass through the double door-ed front entrance with ample space as I could see her discomfort. Everyone has their preconceived ideas about others and may avoid them. (I’ve been in a small town for a week and haven’t seen a single other black person yet.)

        1. Heather says:

          It’s just how some people are. It’s not about you and it’s not a concerted effort to be rude. Some people are just exceedingly introverted and uncomfortable with human contact. It might be due to some other issue, or some past experience, or the circumstances in their home life, or it might just be how they are. Rather than judge them, give them space. Offer a greeting or an invitation to takl, but don’t expect anything back. Once they are comfortable, who knows — they might open up. But if not, they aren’t less of a person for it. Just different.

          This is especially understandable to me of someone with a disability like this. Not everyone with a disability will experience this or be this way, but those who already inclined to feel separated from society no doubt have that enhanced by this. They still deserve to be loved.

    1. Lucy says:

      What a weird thing to say. I’m also in a wheelchair, I have a genetic condition. It’s not a club which creates an instant bond for life with other wheelchair users. I like to make friends with people for who they are; not for their circumstance in life. I smile at people all the time when I make eye contact in the street, but if a random talked to me I wouldn’t know what to say, not because I am rude or “turn my nose up” – but because I panic and get anxious, over think what I should respond with and then realise 30 seconds passed and it’s awkward so I say nothing. Don’t assume she’s rude when you don’t know her it her circumstances. All you know or see is her wheelchair. I find that see. See the person first. More over, you wish her well with a large slap of bitterness on the side. That too is sad to me.

    2. Annaka says:

      Why is anyone obligated to wave at you or talk to you? It’s weird people think if someone gets some fame, then those celebrities (not quite in her case) bodies suddenly belong to you. I wouldn’t wave at strangers either. I don’t even like going outside because people don’t get the concept of personal space. I don’t like taking to strangers either. Seems you are trying to start a smear campaign. Remember, strangers ARE NOT obligated to do anything for you.

  3. Nanotyanp says:

    Perhaps they type of muscular dystrophy she has does’t allow her facial muscles to work or her arms are so weak that she cannot lift her hand to wave…. Thought of that?


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