Model with Muscular Dystrophy signs with major modelling agency

The always stylish Jillian Mercado, a model and disability activist has signed to IMG, one of the world’s largest modelling agencies, alongside catwalk superstars like Kate Moss and Gigi Hadid .

Anyone that has seen Mercado’s fierce sense of style on social media would know this is a woman headed for success. Although Mercado, who has spastic muscular dystrophy was modest about the “mind-blowing sandwich” she appears in on their books (see below) it’s no surprise that she is so sought after.

The 28-year-old fashion blogger never believed this could be an option for her, as she’d never seen anyone in a wheelchair like herself modelling. The momentum leading up to her signing with IMG includes although previously modelling for a Nordstrom catalog and Unique Vintage’s recent #IAmUnique campaign.

The fashionista wrote on her Instagram, “Life works in the most magical ways. I am so honored to announce that I am now represented by @imgmodels!!! I can’t even begin to describe this feeling. Anything in life is possible if you only believe in it hard enough. So never ever even if it feels impossible give up on your dreams because maybe, just maybe they will come true.”

Image: Instagram (@jilly_peppa)


Nicola Formichetti,  fashion director for Diesel was a kind of fairy Godfather for Mercado, noticing her attending parties and events and eventually putting her in his Spring 2014 campaign.




 “You all have no idea how speechless I am right now. That’s me and James Astronaut!! for the Spring/Summer Diesel Campaign. My very first international campaign image for Diesel.” Mercado wrote on her blog.

Mercado has stated that she works just as hard as everyone else and importantly that her passion is equal to everyones – she just has a chair that moves.

Dame Kate Harcourt and Partridge Jewellers – A Perfect Match

InAt age 88, Kiwi acting royalty Dame Kate Harcourt, is still a shining star of stage and screen. With no imminent plans for retiring, the octogenarian continues to act, and has now added modeling to her repertoire.

The actress has teamed up with fellow Wellington icon, jewellery house Partridge’s, to acknowledge their 150th year of business in grand style.

Both Harcourt and Partridge Jewellers are very proud of their New Zealand roots. Harcourt reminisces about growing up on a very large sheep station, “Amberley was very remote,” she said. “As kids, we were free to explore.”

Dame Kate feels acting has been her calling, and was the catalyst for leaving Amberley and heading to Christchurch, where she furthered her studies in singing and piano. After stints abroad at Melbourne University’s Conservatorium of Music and the Joan Cross Opera School in London, Harcourt was drawn back home to New Zealand.

The acclaimed actress is proud of the progressive nature of her country, and wholeheartedly supports a new flag, believing the time has come for a symbol that clearly recognises New Zealand’s many achievements. She notes that the Treaty of Waitangi is particularly significant.

“Well I think there needs to be more of a difference to the Australian flag as they’re almost identical,’ she said. ‘But I don’t think it should have a kiwi on it though!”

When asked about her favourite place in New Zealand, Harcourt was quick to answer she is particularly fond of the beautiful location of her home. She said, “I live by the sea, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”

In the Partridge’s campaign Dame Kate showcases a selection of their recent designs – striking royal blue hues of tanzanite the esteemed jewellery house says were a perfect match with their leading lady.

The jewellery house says Dame Harcourt was the perfect choice “for paying tribute to the past, present and future’, as she ‘possesses so much beauty, grace and drive.”