Beyoncé Chooses A Model With Muscular Dystrophy To Front The Formation Collection

Jillian Mercado for shop.beyonce.com Instagram / @jilly_peppa

Jillian Mercado for shop.beyonce.com

Back in February Beyoncé dropped her most political video to date, Formation. It was a conversation-starting storm of art and activism that tackled issues of racial identity and diversity in beauty.

As soon as the single dropped The Formation Collection was availale to buy via Beyoncé’s online store: 'twirl on them haters’ sweatshirt and a ‘hot sauce’ hat, anyone?

Fast-forward a month and The Formation Collection is being modeled by Jillian Mercado, a model and fashion writer who has muscular dystrophy, a condition that means she uses a wheelchair to get around.

Mercado announced the news of her Beyoncé collaboration via her social media channels: “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!!!”

28-year-old Mercado is one of three stars of the merchandise campaign. This is not her first gig – she signed with IMG Models last year and has previously modelled for Diesel Jeans and Nordstrum.

Mercado’s inclusion in Beyoncé’s clothing campaign is another conversation-starting statement from the hit-churning tastemaker about the lack of diversity represented in popular culture.

The reality is, mainstream beauty ideals remain narrow and role models are not universally identifiable (Mercado has previously expressed how she had no one to look to growing up) but positive progress is being made.

Mercado uses her blog, Manufactured 1987, and her social media platforms to cheerlead for diversity in the fashion industry.

Following the buzz created by her connection with Beyoncé, Mercado took to Twitter to raise awareness about the term ‘wheelchair-bound’, which many people find offensive.

Mercado tweeted: ‘All this press on my announcement on Bey's site is truly surreal & amazing. Now how about we fix that word bound... #learnsomethingneweveryday’

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