Born with a genetic disease that causes muscular weakness and degeneration, Jillian Mercado has made sure her disposition does not hold her back from her goals and aspirations. Above all else, Mercado has put forth her confidence and positive outlook on life using her unique sense of style that shows she is not afraid to be seen. Thanks to the What’s Underneath Project by StyleLikeU, Mercado got the chance to prove she can be comfortable in her own skin without any clothes.
“We asked model and editor Jillian Mercado to participate in our What's Underneath Project because she bears witness to our belief that style, Is not about wanting to be someone else, Is knowing you are, Is comfort in your own skin, Is What's Underneath,” StyleLikeU said.
As both a fashion blogger and model, Mercado has been featured in ad campaigns for Diesel and recently became the face of Nordstrom’s summer catalog. In spite of being confined to a wheelchair at the age of 12, she has embraced her fashion sense through the mantra: “It’s boring to see the same people; if you’re different, it’s sunlight in somebody’s world.”
As Mercado explains, she was first diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was born, but around the age of 13 doctors correctly diagnosed her with spastic muscular dystrophy. She admits that she is insecure about showing off her legs but still refuses to let it stop her from traveling, dating, and wearing whatever she wants. By removing each article of clothing, Mercado shows that her confidence doesn’t only lie in her clothes, but also what’s underneath her clothes.