CAA has signed Jillian Mercado, WWD has learned exclusively. The Hollywood talent agency represents the actress and model in all areas.
Mercado, who was diagnosed with spastic muscular dystrophy as a child, got her break in fashion when Nicola Formichetti cast her in a Diesel campaign.
“It’s never easy for her to move from point A to point B, but she’s totally fearless and has really been an inspiration to me,” Formichetti, former artistic director for Diesel, told WWD in 2014 of Mercado, who uses a wheelchair. “You don’t have to be a conventional model type to represent a brand.”
Mercado, a 33-year-old New York native with roots in the Dominican Republic, has since appeared in Beyoncé’s merchandise campaign for the “Formation” tour and ads for Olay, Calvin Klein fragrance, Nordstrom, Target and Tommy Hilfiger. In 2018, she graced the cover of Teen Vogue’s first digital edition and has been featured in editorials for CR Fashion Book, Glamour and Cosmopolitan.
In 2019, she transitioned into acting, landing the role of Maribel in Showtime’s “The L Word: Generation Q.” And earlier this year, she modeled in her first runway show for The Blonds.
“This moment was brought to you by…Every single person who has a disability around the world that has felt unseen and unheard,” Mercado wrote of the experience on Instagram. Throughout the years, she has been an activist and advocate for representation for people with disabilities, redefining norms in fashion and entertainment. “For the countless of times that we all have shouted for respect and equal representation. Or for the times other people speak for us, not with us. For when we felt like we just didn’t belong in this world because no one thought that we were capable of doing anything. The times where people speak to everyone about our problems or our needs but us.”