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 nicopanda.com and on her Instagram @jilly_peppa.