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News / City Life

Meet the New York model that's changing the fashion industry

Jillian Mercado, @jilly_peppa
Photograph: Raydene Salinas Jillian Mercado, @jilly_peppa

The fashion industry is going through a much-needed shake-up right now, with the definition of beauty making room for transgender and plus-size folks and people who have disabilities. (You know, real people.) One of the women at the forefront is 28-year-old Upper West Side editor,  model and one of the most stylish New Yorkers Jillian Mercado, who was born with muscular dystrophy and is pretty damn stunning.

Her career took off two years ago when she starred in a 2014 Diesel campaign, and last summer she signed on with IMG Models. We adore her rockabilly-cum-glam-rock style—and so does Elle and Vogue, not to mention celebs like Lady Gaga. But it’s her drive and ambition that gives us life. “When I would look through magazines, I never saw anyone who looked like me,” says Mercado. “I knew I could achieve anything I set my mind to, so my next obsession became changing modeling.” Game. On.

Follow Mercado’s work at and on her Instagram @jilly_peppa. 




Richard S

It's certainly fascinating following Jillian Mercado's success in the fashion modeling world, and she is certainly an inspiration to all of us!

 Perhaps, also worth mentioning is fact Jillian, along with virtually all modelings wirh physical disabilities, as well as practical all petie and plus-size models is a female  modeling. Somehow under the present system, the fashion industry seems to provide only a few high fashion modeling positions for males. Just as in women in the real world are of many different types, this is also obviously true of real world men. Possibly, at this point, the time may have arrived for the fashion industry to recognize this fact and many more diverse job opportunities for men.