Role model

Beyoncé casts model with muscular dystrophy to promote new merchandise

Jillian Mercado (center) (Photo: Beyonce.com)

Jillian Mercado, a blogger and model who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy as a child said she is “beyond excited” to have been cast to model Beyoncé’s newest T-shirts, hats and sweaters in her online merchandise store. She announced the news herself on her Instagram, with a picture showing her in a wheelchair alongside two other models, wearing the pop star’s shirt saying “I twirl on them haters,”  writing: “OK LADIES now let’s get in FORMATION! So BEYond excited to finally announce that I’m on the official @beyonce website!!! A special shout out to Queen Bee herself and the amazing team behind it.”

The 28-year old Mercado got her start in the fashion industry early, studying at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, where classmates urged her to start her blog Manufactured 1987, and interning at several fashion magazines. Since last year, she has been represented by IGM models and worked on campaigns for Diesel Jeans and Nordstrom. “I was shocked that I didn’t see anyone in the industry who was like me,” Mercado told Vogue back in August.  “So when people — girls especially — 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.”

Yesterday evening, she took to Twitter to share her excitement at the “truly surreal” response to the Beyoncé campaign, and urging people to rethink the use of the offensive term “wheelchair-bound”.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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