Beyoncé has chosen a blogger and model with muscular dystrophy to front the ad campaign for her latest line of merchandise.
Jillian Mercado will be the new face of Beyoncé’s online store and will model the superstar’s new collection of T-shirts, hats and sweaters which are largely based around her latest hit ‘Formation’.
Mercado confirmed the news on her Instagram account with a photo showing her in a wheelchair between two other models.
The post read: “OK LADIES now let’s get in FORMATION! So BEYond excited to finally announce that I’m on the [email protected] website!!! A special shout out to Queen Bee herself and the amazing team behind it.”
Before becoming a model, Mercado studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, where her classmates convinced her to start blogging.
The success of the blog helped launched her modelling career and the 28-year-old has since made waves in the fashion industry for overcoming the under-representation of models with disabilities and has been outspoken in her ambition to “make it so that I am not the model in the wheelchair and I’m just the model.”
“At first I was very hesitant,” she 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.”
Mercado, who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy as a child, has been represented by IMG Models since last year and has worked on ad campaigns for Diesel Jeans and Nordstrom.
On her blog, Manufactured 1987, Mercado addresses issues of diversity and shares images from her modelling career. She has gone on to garner a loyal global fan-base and is regarded as a role model for people with disabilities.
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