Fashion

Model with muscular dystrophy stars in Beyonce's new fashion collection campaign

Posted by
Hayley Spencer
Published

Great news for Beyonce fans - you can now buy a line of merchandise featuring some of the epic slogans from Formation. And the campaign for said merchandise is also great news for the representation of diversity and specifically disabled models in the fashion industry.

The shoot on Beyonce's official website stars blogger and model Jillian Mercado, who also happens to suffer with muscular dystrophy and use a wheelchair.

Mercado announced the news that she's fronting the campaign for 'Hot Sauce' caps, and 'I Twirl On Them Haters' sweatshirts on Instagram, writing:

“OK LADIES now let’s get in FORMATION!” she wrote on Instagram. “So BEYond excited to finally announce that I’m on the official @beyonce website!!!”

For Mercado, the campaign is the latest in a string of high-profile modelling gigs. Since signing with IMG Models last year, she's starred in campaigns for Diesel and Nordstrom.

The choice to ensure a diverse line-up for her latest merchandise is a fitting one from Beyonce, whose latest single is her most political to date. Formation outlines the failure of race relations in America, utilising real documentary footage from black history and sampling the voice of YouTube star Messy Mya who was murdered in New Orleans in 2010.

The inclusive new campaign from Beyonce is a valuable step forward in reminding the fashion industry that diversity in fashion campaigns means adequately representing people with disabilities, just as much as it does gender fluidity, race and size.

In her blog, Manufactured 1987, 28-year-old Mercado documents her career, favourite fashion lines and documents diversity in the industry.

“At first I was very hesitant,” she told Vogue last 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.

“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.”

See Mercado acing the campaigns and shop the Formation merch here.