GO! Presents 100 Women We Love: Class of 2024

THE CULTURAL ROADMAP FOR CITY GIRLS EVERYWHERE

August 5, 2020

Jillian Mercado

Photo by Jillian Mercado.

Model and actress Jillian Mercado has always been immersed in fashion. With a mother and father who worked in an embroidery factory and shoe store respectively, Mercado knew almost everything about clothing before she could even put together her own outfits. With years of playing with her mother’s sewing machines under her belt, Mercado pursued a degree in merchandising management from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Although she didn’t seriously consider modeling after graduation, Mercado ended up submitting herself to an open call for the clothing company Diesel. Two weeks later, she received the call that she was chosen for the brand’s campaign. Since then, Mercado has starred in campaigns for major companies — like Olay, Calvin Klein, Target, and Tommy Hilfiger — and a number of editorial pieces. In 2018, Mercado was even featured on Teen Vogue’s first digital cover. “I will forever be grateful for that privilege [that gave] me the opportunity to not only choose exactly the career that I want but to diversify an industry that has not been able to fully cater to my communities,” she tells GO. It’s the ability to be visible as a queer, disabled, Latinx woman that drives Mercado in tandem with her passion. Off-camera, she devotes her time to working as a disability advocate, speaking at summits such as Business of Fashion’s 500 Symposium and Adweek’s Women Trailblazer Summit. And with her role as immigration attorney Maribel Suarez on “The L Word: Generation Q,” Mercado is bringing awareness and visibility for the LGBTQ+ community to the forefront as well. “I feel that in my heart representation matters a lot, and it can assure that our stories are being heard through people who live it on a daily basis,” she says. —IL

Click here to see all 100 amazing women from this year’s class of Women We Love!

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