• Meet Jillian Mercado. She has muscular dystrophy, a wheelchair, and now a modelling gig with Beyonce Knowles. (shop.beyonce.com)Source: shop.beyonce.com
Meet Jillian Mercado. She has muscular dystrophy, uses a wheelchair, and now has a modelling gig with Beyonce Knowles.
Shami Sivasubramanian

18 Mar 2016 - 10:51 AM  UPDATED 18 Mar 2016 - 10:51 AM

Beyoncé is a woman of great influence. And now she's using that influence to embrace and promote diversity in a whole new way. That is by casting a model with muscular dystrophy in her latest 'Formation' merchandise campaign on Beyonce.com.

The model is Jillian Mercado. Her condition means she has to use a wheelchair at all times, making it a standard feature in her photo shoots.

Beyoncé and Mercado might be making waves for this great step towards widening the definition of conventional beauty, but Mercardo is already a successful model by most standards.

The incredibly photogenic Mercado is represented by one of the world's leading modelling agencies, IMG Models in New York.

Nonetheless it is unconventional for a disabled model to be featured in such a high-profile campaign, and is a commendable move on the star's part.

Hours after IMG made the casting announcement official, Mercado took to her own Twitter and Instagram accounts to share her understandable enthusiasm, with a Beyoncé lyric, and pun no less.

This collection includes a series of hoodies and loose fitted t-shirt with graphic prints and text reading "Slay", "Smack that", and "Fresher than you" across the front.




The collection even includes a black tote that reads "I got hot sauce in my bag" - a memorable lyric from Beyonce's hit track, Formation.



The merchandise comes ahead of Beyoncé's 'Formation World Tour' which will eventually make its way to Australia.

Here's hoping we see more.