hen I think of Jillian Mercado the term disabled is the farthest thing from my mind…
To me she is a Fearless, Funny, “Fashionate” woman extremely capable of determining the course of her own life.
As a young girl Jillian knew she wanted to work in fashion, but people who look like her where conspicuously absent from the halls of the international fashion houses, the hustle and bustle of the garment districts and the editorial boards of the fashion magazines that have set the standards of beauty and fashion since the founding of Harper’s Bazar in 1867.
So, when she didn’t see herself reflected in the pages of fashion magazines, in TV commercials or on runways around the world, Jillian made up her mind to recreate the fashion world in her own image, and in the images of the millions of people who have been historically excluded from the socially accepted standards of beauty and glamour.
This woman has not only changed the face of the fashion industry, she has started global conversations about the rights of people with disabilities — especially girls and women — to be given the same opportunities to succeed, as people without disabilities.
Today as a model, actress and social activist, she never thinks twice about challenging the industry she loves and changing it for the better.
What I love most about Jillian is her desire to create space for dramatic change by kicking down doors that have been closed to entire communities of disabled people, engaging in honest conversations about her own limitation and how she has overcome them with incredible style and elevating the voices of those who cannot speak out for themselves.
Jillian Mercado is the amazing BrightLighter who teaches us no matter who we are or where we come from, we all have the power to change the world for the better.