To learn more about Jillian, follow @jilly_peppa on Instagram. Every day this week, we shared the story of a model who is redefining industry standards and making sure there’s room on the #RunwayForAll.
“#RunwayforAll means realizing that you have the ability to start a revolution,” says Jillian Mercado (@jilly_peppa), a creative director and model who is living with muscular dystrophy, a group of diseases that cause weakness and loss of muscle mass over time. “Growing up, I had a room full of magazines and collages and would spend hours at the library reading up on designers and dreaming about being a part of that world,” the Hispanic born-and-raised New Yorker says. “But when you realize that there isn’t a single person that looks like you, it’s very hard to aspire to actually make it a reality.” With self-determination like Jillian’s, it’s not impossible: she has modeled in global campaigns, with billboards in cities from Venice to Tokyo. “It was pretty historic to know that I broke that barrier of disability in mainstream fashion,” she says. “When you want something to be done, you might as well do it yourself. I’m basically being the role model that I was looking for when I was a young girl.”