Fashion editor and blogger Jillian Mercado stars in Diesel’s new Ad campaign, but it’s not her profession that is calling attention to her coveted spot in the ad; rather she is stealing the spotlight with her wheelchair.
Born with Muscular Dystrophy, the 20-something was chosen to model Diesel’s signature denim looks in an ad for their new collection. In an interview with the Daily Beast, Mercado explains her career choice and the barriers she faces each day in an image-driven industry, "I knew I was throwing myself into the fire when I wanted to work in fashion, I work equally as hard as everyone else does in this industry, and my chair doesn't give me permission to slack off. My passion is equal to yours -- I just come with a chair that moves."
In her appearance on the Today Show on January 28, Jillian told Matt Lauer that Diesel is a brand anyone can wear, not just a stereotypical model-type figure. Perhaps that is the image the company was going for and who better to represent a nonconventional brand than a young woman with a disability!
She goes onto explain that “every photo that they release, someone can relate to it. And that’s rare in the fashion industry, to be able to relate and say, ‘You know that’s me in that photo, through that person.”
Jillian is featured in the ad surrounded by handsome young men, also wearing denim. In the top corner, the ad reads WE ARE CONNECTED #DIESELREBOOT.
Unconventional models representing their brand is nothing new for Diesel. The company has a history of pushing the envelope. Just this past fall, Diesel featured an ad with women models wearing what resembled a burka made out of denim with the words “I am Not What I Appear to Be.”
With images of disabilities nearly non-existent in the fashion world, Diesel is not only demonstrating the accessibility of their clothes for all body types, but they are spreading an image of acceptance. Each time a positive image of disability hits the mainstream media it has the potential to create widespread impact and positive change. Diesel is among those companies paving the way.
You can check out Jillian and her wheelchair in the Diesel ads coming out in the March issues of Vogue and Interview.
Watch her full interview from the Today Show with Matt Lauer here:
What is your reaction to the ad? Share your thoughts in the comments!
*photo of Diesel jeans fashion tag courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons