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Meet the inspirational model taking over the internet

 

Last year, model Madeline Stuart proved that there are all different kinds of beauty—even within the fashion industry.

Now, we're excited to meet Jillian Mercado, another model standing up to beauty norms and showing that all different types of bodies belong.

 

Jillian—one of the new models of Beyoncé's Formation merchandise collection—was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy as a child, meaning that over time her body will steadily become weaker as she loses muscle mass. But she's never let that stop her from going after her dreams, particluarly the ones that focus on fashion.

"When I was younger, I was looking for that role model," she told Vogue in an interview. "I had people who I admired, but there was no one [with a disability] who I could look to. I was shocked that I didn’t see anyone in the industry who was like me."

Now, she's become the role model for little girls like her. Not only did she sign with IMG Models last year, she's also all over Bey's website showing off fierce Formation apparel.

"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.”

 

To celebrate landing the campaign, Jillian shared images on her Insta, captioning them, "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." Once the campaign started going viral, she had another message to share. "Wait," she captioned a pic showing all her recent coverage, "*pinches my arm* yup, all this is happening 😍 #whatislife #takingover #diversity"

 

Taking over is right. It's clear that Jillian is one of the next models to watch, and we'll definitely be watching.

We're so happy to see Jillian's career take off, and we're so grateful to Beyoncé for giving her the opportunity to show girls all over that it doesn't matter what you look like—anyone can slay on the runway.

Are you excited to follow Jillian's career? What do you think of Beyoncé's new model?

Photos credit: Jillian Mercado

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by Montez Jennings | 3/22/2016
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