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Jillian Mercado

Actress, Model & Activist for Greater Disability Representation in the Entertainment Industry

Actress, Model & Activist for Greater Disability Representation in the Entertainment Industry

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Los Angeles, CA, USA
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Jillian Mercado Biography

Jillian Mercado is recognized for her enthusiasm and conversational nature. In less than two years, she has amassed recognition as a model living with muscular dystrophy and collaborated with numerous industry icons. Besides her modeling career, Mercado is an advocate for greater representation of physically disabled people in the industry. She has also ventured into acting and is known for her role in the Showtime series "The L Word: Generation Q."

Mercado's affinity for fashion began in her childhood, likely influenced by her parents, who were immigrants from Santiago, Dominican Republic, and initially worked in an embroidery factory and shoe store. She carried this passion into her education, studying merchandising management at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

Upon graduating from FIT, Mercado held various behind-the-scenes roles in the fashion industry. She worked with famed photographer Patrick McMullan, held a role at Tumblr, and later became the creative director of We the Urban magazine. Never having seriously considered a career in front of the camera, her modeling journey began when she submitted herself to an open call for Diesel with the encouragement of a friend. With a successful audition, Mercado started her modeling career and became a celebrated figure for her representation of the differently abled in fashion.

Mercado began to make waves in the industry and her career took off. She has starred in campaigns for prominent brands, including Olay, Bumble 100, Calvin Klein fragrance, Nordstrom, Target, and Tommy Hilfiger. In September 2018, Mercado made significant strides in her career by appearing on the cover of the first digital September issue of Teen Vogue. She has also been featured in various esteemed publications like Numero, The New York Times, Women's Health, InStyle, CR Fashion Book, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Glassbook, Jejune, and Herring and Herring magazine. In 2019, she was honored with the Flaunt It Award, recognizing celebrities who use their platforms to raise awareness about visible or invisible differences that have impacted their lives. In 2023, she was named to The Allure 2023 A-List, cementing her prominence in the industry.

Beyond her career highlights, Mercado has been actively involved in public speaking and participated in various summits as a disabilities advocate. She has engaged in numerous events, including Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine X Together Live Tour, Adweek's annual Women Trailblazers event, Little by Little in unison with the United Nations, and a panel discussing disability representation in media sponsored by Tommy Hilfiger and Microsoft. She has also expanded her creativity into filmmaking. Her short film, My Eyes Are Up Here, premiered at the Tribeca Festival. Mercado is writing an autobiography to share her story and inspire the next generation of women and individuals with disabilities.

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Speaker profile last updated by AAE Talent Team on 08/07/2023.

Jillian Mercado Speaking Topics

  • UNBRAINWASHING SOCIETY

    From the moment Jillian Mercado burst onto the fashion scene less than two years ago, she’s been making headlines. As one of the most visible and successful models with a disability (spastic muscular dystrophy), Jillian has become an important voice and advocate on behalf of persons with disabilities. But interestingly, Jillian didn’t start her career in front of the camera. She lived and breathed fashion from a young age, as her parents (both immigrants from the Dominican Republic) worked in an embroidery factory and shoe store. She studied fabrics, learned to sew, and then got hit by the fashion bug.

    With a degree in merchandising management from New York’s esteemed Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), she worked with top photographers and at Tumblr, was the creative director of We The Urban magazine, and immersed herself in the business of fashion. On a whim, she submitted herself to an open call for a Diesel worldwide ad campaign, which immediately went viral. The buzz was instant, and she soon appeared in campaigns for Olay, Beyoncé, Bumble 100,

    Calvin Klein fragrance, Nordstrom, Target, and Tommy Hilfiger. She was featured on Teen Vogue ’s first ever September digital cover and has been profiled in editorial features including Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Glassbook, Jejeune and Herring and Herring magazines. She’s also featured in Zoe Saldana’s upcoming documentary series Breaking Glass.

    Off-camera, Jillian is in demand as a speaker and panelist on numerous issues around accessibility and visibility for the disability community --not only in the fashion world, but in all walks of life. She’s addressed conferences sponsored by the United Nations, Google, Microsoft, and Tommy Hilfiger and she continues to do all she can to show that “disability doesn’t have to be ugly, it should be embraced. I wish I had that role model growing up, but to be that role model is great.”

Jillian Mercado Videos

  • Jillian Mercado: The New Model for Diversity
    Jillian Mercado, model and disabilities activist, speaks with moderator Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, host of Huffpost's "Between You and Me," ...
  • Jillian Mercado Wouldn't Let Muscular Dystrophy Stop Her From ...
    "If you feel like the world is getting you down, you should be the person to change it." Jillian Mercado is a Dominican American model who was ...
  • Extraordinary Beauty: Jillian Mercado on loving her body
    Growing up in new York City, Jillian Mercado had no idea that at twenty-eight she 'd be modeling in campaign ads for Diesel.

Speaker Lists Featuring Jillian Mercado

FAQs on booking Jillian Mercado

  • How do I book Jillian Mercado to speak at my event?

    Our experienced booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure speakers like Jillian Mercado for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment since 2002. Click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page to check availability for Jillian Mercado, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get speaking fee information and check availability for Jillian Mercado or any other speaker of your choice.
  • What are the speaker fees for Jillian Mercado

    Speaking fees for Jillian Mercado, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. The estimated fees to book Jillian Mercado are for live events and for virtual events. For the most current speaking fee to hire Jillian Mercado, click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak directly with an experienced booking agent.
  • What topics does Jillian Mercado speak about?

    Jillian Mercado is a keynote speaker and industry expert whose speaking topics include Art, Arts & Humanities, Civil Rights, Culture, Disability, Diversity & Inclusion, Fashion, Health, Influential Women, Lifestyle, Literary, Photography, Virtual Speakers, Women, Women's Health.
  • Where does Jillian Mercado travel from?

    Jillian Mercado generally travels from Los Angeles, CA, USA, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. For more details, please contact an AAE Booking agent.
  • Who is Jillian Mercado’s agent?

    AAE Speakers Bureau has successfully booked keynote speakers like Jillian Mercado for clients worldwide since 2002. As a full-service speaker booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Please click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page including the details of your event, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Jillian Mercado for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service speaker booking agency?

    AAE Speakers Bureau is a full-service speaker booking agency, meaning we can completely manage the speaker’s or celebrity’s engagement with your organization from the time of booking your speaker through the event’s completion. We provide all of the services you need to host Jillian Mercado or any other speaker of your choice, including offer negotiation, contractual assistance, accounting and billing, and event speaker travel and logistics services. When you book a speaker with us, we manage the process of hosting a speaker for you as an extension of your team. Our goal is to give our clients peace of mind and a best-in-class service experience when booking a speaker with us.
  • Why is AAE Speakers Bureau different from other booking agencies?

    If you’re looking for the best, unbiased speaker recommendations, paired with a top-notch customer service experience, you’re in the right place. At AAE Speakers Bureau, we exclusively represent the interests of our clients - professional organizations, companies, universities, and associations. We intentionally do not represent the speakers we feature or book. That is so we can present our clients with the broadest and best performing set of speaker options in the market today, and we can make these recommendations without any obligation to promote a specific speaker over another. This is why when our agents suggest a speaker for your event, you can be assured that they are of the highest quality with a history of proven success with our other clients.

Jillian Mercado is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics such as UNBRAINWASHING SOCIETY. The estimated speaking fee range to book Jillian Mercado for your event is $30,000 - $50,000. Jillian Mercado generally travels from Los Angeles, CA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Geena Rocero, Munroe Bergdorf, Ruth E. Carter, Nina Garcia and Karlie Kloss. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Jillian Mercado for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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