The Story of a Courageous Woman With Disabilities Who Became a Model and Actress Against All Odds
Jillian Mercado is an empowered young woman who has been making significant waves in the world. As a thriving model and up-and-coming actress, Mercado refuses to be deterred by any challenges. Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy during her childhood, she dedicated much of her early years to physical therapy.
Her professional journey soared to new heights in 2014 with a notable fashion campaign.
Rather than allowing her disability to dictate her life, this courageous and stunning Dominican woman has committed her entire career to dismantling prejudices and overcoming barriers for disabled individuals. The transformative journey began in 2014 when Mercado was selected to feature in an advertisement for a fashion company.
Initially, she relinquished her dream of pursuing a career in modeling.
Mercado says that initially, she thought that becoming a model would be impossible for her because she was convinced that nobody would give her a chance. “I never thought I’d get picked, but my friends encouraged me to try out because, hey, you never know — and 2 weeks later, they got back to me,” she explained.
Yet, Mercado defied all odds and achieved her dream.
Since establishing herself in the fashion industry, Mercado has actively employed her voice to challenge stereotypes about beauty and strives to foster a more welcoming and inclusive environment in the fashion world for everyone. Her dedication to this objective is truly praiseworthy. As she aptly expressed, “It’s not about opening doors for me, it’s about removing them,” showcasing her determination to eliminate barriers and promote inclusivity.
She was astonished by the multitude of obstacles that disabled people continue to encounter.
Reflecting on her journey, Mercado elucidated the distinct challenges faced as a model with a disability, remarking, “No one is going to question you graduating college or having a relationship. But for people like me, being intimate or loved is perceived as unnatural or weird.” This perspective fuels her extensive dedication to eliminating the persistent stigma experienced by disabled people, not only within the fashion industry but also in broader society.
With courage, she steadfastly opposes prejudice and discrimination.
She emphasizes that the number of ’’systematic stereotypes’’ she had to endure while building her career is astonishing and that it’s high time to start asking ourselves, “Why does a disability continue to even be a factor?”
She is still learning the importance of self-confidence.
In the realm of cultivating self-confidence, Mercado acknowledges that it required considerable courage to recognize her worth on this planet. She grew weary of negativity and self-deprecation, expressing, “I had to come to a place of embracing doing me no matter who it bothers.” She emphasizes that she is still on this empowering journey “every day.”
In the meantime, another resilient and inspirational woman exemplified that a disability should not impede the creation of a robust family or the experience of parenthood.