Justice

Beyoncé Casts Model With Muscular Dystrophy for Her New Clothing Line

March 19th 2016

By:
Taylor Bell

As if we didn't have another reason to love Beyoncé, the queen just took an important step in helping people with disabilities. Her team cast a model with muscular dystrophy in a campaign for her new line of merchandise.

 

A photo posted by Jillian Mercado (@jilly_peppa) on

Bey hired Jillian Mercado to model her online collection of t-shirts, hats and sweaters, which is a line largely inspired by the singer's controversial hit song, "Formation," according to Business Insider.

Mercado confirmed the news in a Instagram post Wednesday by posting this picture of herself alongside two other models:

"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."

 

A photo posted by Jillian Mercado (@jilly_peppa) on

However, 28-year-old Mercado is no stranger to the fashion scene. She has a contract with world famous modeling agency IMG Models and has appeared in fashion campaigns for Diesel Jeans and Nordstrom, according to the Guardian. In addition, Mercado runs a popular blog called Manufactured 1987, where she constantly posts about the fashion industry, her blossoming modeling career and issues of diversity.

ATTN: attempted to reach out Mercado but did not receive a comment in time for publication.

In an interview with Vogue from August of last year, Mercado talked about how society's apparent disregard for people with disabilities proved to be an obstacle for her earlier in her career.

Jillian Mercado on shop.beyonce.com

"At first I was very hesitant," Mercado told Vogue in August. "I wasn’t sure about showing everyone my world because I didn’t know if there would be an audience. We’ve been brainwashed [as a society] not to care about someone who has a disability, or their world."

But with the encouragement of her friends Mercado became a success story, landing multiple modeling campaigns. Mercado now hopes to be an role model and inspiration for other people with disabilities.

 

A photo posted by Jillian Mercado (@jilly_peppa) on

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

More models with disabilities are stepping out in the fashion industry.

1. Madeline Stuart

Stuart is 19-year-old Australian model with down syndrome and is one of the most popular models in demand. She walked in New York Fashion week and appeared twice at Paris Fashion Week.

2. Shaholly Ayers

Ayers is a congenital amputee, who has been featured in GQ magazine, US Weekly, Glamour.com and the Nordstrom catalog, according to the Examiner. She made history by being the first amputee to walk at New York Fashion Week without using a prosthetic.

 

A photo posted by Shaholly Ayers (@shahol1) on

 

A photo posted by Shaholly Ayers (@shahol1) on

3. Alex Minsky

Minsky is a veteran turned model who lost his right leg while serving in Afghanistan in 2009, according to ABC. But today Minksy works as an underwear and fashion model. He has more than 100,000 followers on Instagram.

 

A photo posted by Alex Minsky (@mminskyy) on

4. Blake Leeper

And lastly, Blake Leeper, a Paralympian and double amputee who participated in Naomi Campbell’s Fashion for Relief charity show talked told the Huffington Post how the world is slowly evolving to become more inclusive of people with disabilities.

"Back in the day, having a disability was [considered] a bad thing," Leeper told the Huffington Post. "It’s become a lot more acceptable and people are enjoying it. It’s one thing for me to go out there and prove myself the world, but it’s another thing to have that opportunity."