'Shocking' Disabled Model in Nordstrom's Catalog Is Beautiful Just as She Is

nordstrom jillian mercado

For the longest time disabled people have been all but invisible in the media. But look how quickly that's been changing lately! One giant retailer has struck another victory for diversity. Nordstrom's new catalog features a woman in a wheelchair. But she's not just any woman -- Jillian Mercado is a style blogger (Manufactured1987) who just happens to have purple hair and muscular dystrophy. And she makes her Moto Lite boots look incredibly chic. 

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It turns out this isn't even Mercado's first modeling gig. The 26-year-old also appeared in a Diesel ad this year as well. And it's also not the first time Nordstrom has featured disabled models. It's something they've been doing in their July catalog since 1997. This summer's catalog includes a male model with a prosthetic leg. Apparently Nordy's been leading the movement for quite some time. Meg O'Connell, a partner at the consulting firm Global Disability Inclusion, says the store's inclusion ethic extends beyond the catalog to employment and store accessibility, too.

Nordstrom spokeswoman Tara Darrow tells FOX News Latino:

[Hiring disabled models is] really about reflecting the customers and communities we serve. We serve diverse customers and it's an opportunity for them to see themselves when they're looking through the book or online. ... We don't promote it or go out and talk about it. We just think they look great.

More from The Stir: Model in a Wheelchair Makes Disability Glamorous at Fashion Week

That visual is a game changer for all of us. My youngest sister is also in a wheelchair (she has cerebral palsy), so I'm sensitive to how rarely I see disabled people in the public sphere -- in advertising, media, or even out in real life. I think it matters to her that she sees people who are like her. But it matters to us as well. Seeing more disabled people participate in the same things we do expands our vision of what's possible and what's beautiful.

Hopefully someday this won't even be news.

Do you notice when disabled people appear in the media? How do you feel about that?

 

Image via Nordstrom

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