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Jillian Mercado Is The Disabled Latina Making Fashion Accessible

Growing up as a Disabled Latina, I never felt as if I saw myself totally represented in mainstream media. I saw little bits and parts of myself there, sure. On occasion, I’d get a chance to glimpse a part of myself through Latina actresses on TV and every once in a while, I’m talking a real blue moon, I’d catch sight of a disabled person in movies. But never did the two identities, which have sculpted who I am in so many ways, ever meet. In fashion (on magazines, runway shows, and billboard ads) this merging of my two identities just flat out actually never happened. It’s why, when Teen Vogue recently announced their September issue and revealed that they were featuring not one but three Disabled models, one of which is Latina, I felt particularly filled with gratitude. Mostly because, this is a sight I never believed the world would see, at least not in my lifetime. 

This month, Teen Vogue featured three Disabled models on the cover of its ‘The New Faces of Fashion’ issue. 

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I don’t even know what to say right now. I am left with an overwhelming feeling of happiness and gratitude. All I ever wanted as a child was to see my self represented in an industry that I loved so much. And here we are… on the SEPTEMBER ISSUE OF @teenvogue!!! — When you want something so bad, manifest it with all your heart and soul, blood sweat and tears because nothing is impossible, no matter if the whole world is against you, you have the strength and power to make it happen. This cover just proves all of that hard work. — I want to thank every single person who has helped me get to where I am today, you believed in me when no one else did. I want to thank my agency @imgmodels @ivanmbart for helping me pave the way when it’s hard for me to do it by myself. My mom, sisters and friends for keeping me grounded and cheering me on every single milestone in my life. But most importantly I want to dedicate this moment to my younger self, we did it mama! All those nights of self-doubt were for this moment. Your patience and dedication made today happen. Go hug yourself and cry of happiness because we are just getting started! — I also want to take this moment and say that for those of you out there like my younger self, here is proof that you can be anything you set your mind to, this is for you as well. Let it be a lesson that if you want to see change happen in the world for good be the one to change it yourself. I believe in you. — Shout out to to my sis @mamacaxx and the lovely @showtimewerner for sharing this moment with me! – Team: Photograper @camilafalquez, style @lanajaylackey, makeup @makiryoke, hair @edwardlampley, manicure @yukie_miyakawa_nails and set design @danielleselig

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The latest edition included Mama Cāx (who has an amputated leg), Chelsea Werner (who has Down syndrome) and Jillian Mercado an Afro-Latina model who has muscular dystrophy, a genetic disease that causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. The model, who had been hustling in the fashion industry for years until she got her big break landing an ad campaign with Diesel Jeans, has become the Disabled model, I’ve been keeping my eye on.

I found my way to Jillian’s Instagram page a few years ago when I learned about her work through a friend. I remember scrolling through her page for the first time and feeling amazed by how glamorous and relatable her photos were. Right in front of my eyes was a powerful Disabled Latina showcasing her talent for modeling while using a mobility aid. They were images that struck me mostly because, in a way, it was like looking in a mirror, but this time my reflection was confident, bold and unapologetic and certain.  As someone who feels insecure about my mobility aid at times (I use a cane) as well as about wearing certain outfits because of how they’d expose my scars from my past surgeries, here was Jillian showing up to school me on the fact that I could rock any outfit I wanted along with my mobility aid. 

Reflecting on the importance of diversity and inclusivity in fashion, the magazine highlighted the three models’ careers in an industry that consistently pushes images that are the exact opposite of their diversities. The entire spread is a wonder to be seen but, for me, a Disabled Latina, Mercado’s presence is particularly thrilling.   

In a post about the cover, Mercado wrote about her Teen Vogue photoshoot and described what the feature meant to her saying “All I ever wanted as a child was to see my self-represented in an industry that I loved so much.” It’s a sentiment that I am completely certain speaks to any young Disabled Latina who has ever come across the covers of fashion magazines and it’s sophisticately portrayed models.

Mercado’s cover shows that the fashion industry is changing their views about beauty and is finally allowing the much needed, and accessible, seat at the table for our country’s largest minority group.

Disabled representation in media not only remains pretty bleak but also pretty darn white (just check out #DisabilityTooWhite), particularly in the fashion realm. If TV and film are only just beginning to hit the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the proper representation of disabeled people, the fashion world has a long trek to just get to the main point of impact. (Check out the ableist photoshoot that featured Kylie Jenner “bound” to a wheelchair to see what I mean). For too long, the fashion industry has carelessly peddled a notion that Disabled models couldn’t be represented because they couldn’t possibly “look like a model.” Certainly not when they were in a wheelchair, using a mobility aid or had facial and body differences. But Jillian, and models like her, have slowly and surely changed many of the big minds of the fashion trade including mine. 

Mercado’s career and success have shown me the significance of creating your own space and narrative in an industry that sells concepts of what it means to be perfect.

Seeing Mercado on Teen Vogue’s cover isn’t just an iconic moment for the fashion world and its future, it’s life changing for myself and Disabled Latinas all over the world who have craved and waited to see themselves represented in the mainstream. Jillian’s cover on Teen Vogue gives me the hope I desperately needed while flipping through the pages of glossies when I was younger and even as I do so now. I know this is only the beginning for Mercado and hope there will soon be a time when the fashion world gets with the program and becomes accessible. It’s overdue and I for one can’t wait to see the day when Disabled models become the norm in all magazines.

Read: ‘La China Mas Latina’ Is This Japanese Trans-Activist’s Dedication to Latinas And A Super Guide To Cultural Appreciation

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The Spanish ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Is Being Shared To Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19

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The Spanish ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Is Being Shared To Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19

There’s no denying that the world looks a lot different now than it did in 1947. And while the list of all of the positive changes that the decades stretching between now and then have done for the world and minorities, a recent campaign is also highlighting the ways in which our current president could take some notes on certain values the United States held dear during this time. Particularly ones that had been pressed for by one of our former presidents.

As part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor Policy” effort, he worked to promote positive and healthy relations between the United States in Latin American countries.

At the time Rooseveltaimed to ensure that the North, Central and South American countries avoided breaking under the influence of Axis countries during World War II. As part of this campaign, Roosevelt comissioned a Spanish and a Portuguese version of the U.S. national anthem. According to Time Magazine he also “recruited Hollywood to participate in this Good Neighbor Policy; Walt Disney went on goodwill tour of South America, hoping to find a new market for his films, and ended up producing two movies inspired by the trip: Saludos Amigos (1942) and The Three Caballeros (1944). The Brazilian star Carmen Miranda also got a boost, and her role in The Gang’s All Here made her even more famous in the U.S. And alongside these cross-cultural exchanges, the U.S. government decided it needed an anthem that could reach Spanish speakers.”

According to NPR, Clotilde Arias, wrote wrote the translation at the end of World War II, was born in the small Peruvian city, Iquitos in 1901 and moved to New York City to become a composer when she was 22-years-old. Her version of the anthem is now part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Now in an effort to support Latino communities affected by the coronavirus, the non-profit We Are All Human Foundation’s Hispanic Star campaign commissioned the a remake of the song.

Hoping to raise awareness of its Hispanic Recovery Plan and efforts to help to connect Hispanic small businesses and workers with resources during the pandemic, the campaign brought the old recording from obscurity.

For the song, the 2019 winner of the singing competition La Voz,  Jeidimar Rijos, performed “El Pendón Estrellado.” Or, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” 

The song has already received quite a bit of comments and support on Youtube.

Hang in there, fam. We can only get through this together.

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People Are Accusing Kat Von D Beauty of Scamming Customers With Their Famous Tattoo Liners


People Are Accusing Kat Von D Beauty of Scamming Customers With Their Famous Tattoo Liners

Yes, we know. Makeup maven Kat Von D has been long been on the outs with fans who once adored her. In addition to the slew of offenses stacked up against her, Von D’s recent declaration that she would not be vaccinating her son after his birth certainly has not done her any favors.

Now, the tattoo artists’ latest controversy means she’s enduring another fall from her fans’ graces.

Beauty enthusiasts are currently accusing Von D of scamming them out of their money with the Trooper Tattoo Liner

Cheyenne Vaughan / Facebook

At the end of last month, Facebook user Cheyenne Vaughan accused Von D’s makeup brand of “putting a sample-size eyeliner into a longer-shell tube,” and then selling it to customers for “triple the price.”

Vaughan shared a photo of the eyeliner in her post that showed the dismantled product in three pieces. One was a long tube, the other a cartridge that holds the actual product, and the last piece: a cap.

“Yall I’m about to lose my mind right now,” Vaughan wrote in the post. “Kat von D really been putting a sample size eyeliner into a longer shell tube and selling to my dumb ass for triple the price. I’M ABOUT TO LOSE MY MIND RIGHT NOW.”

Facebook users who saw the post were quick to respond to Vaughan.

“That’s what you get for supporting an anti-vaxer,” wrote on user.

Others came to Von D’s defense, asking Vaughan to support her claims with actual facts.

“Did you actually make sure this is factual, by weighing the amount of liquid in each one? I didn’t think so. Wtf is wrong with people??”

And of course, many didn’t waste time in bringing up the fact that Von D is anti-vaccinations.

“Y’all need to stop supporting the anti-Vaxer,” one wrote.

“That’s what you get for supporting an anti-vaxer,” replied another.

Six thousand shares of the post later, and Von D responded with her defense.

@thekatvond / Instagram

In a post to her Instagram account, Von D asserted that she wasn’t cheating customers. In fact, according to her, while the cartridge is the same size for every liner, the amount of ink inside of it differs depending on the liner size.

“The cartridges in both full size liners and mini liners are the same — it’s the amount of product inside each cartridge that is different. So, for example, the product fill on our full size Tattoo Liner is 0.55 ml, while the product fill for the mini is 0.2 ml – thats over DOUBLE the amount of product! Any brand who has an eyeliner with similar component on the market will tell you the same thing. You need that much cartridge space for the pigment to flow out,” she wrote.

See for yourself in the comments section of Von D’s post on whether or commenters are satisfied. Hint: people remain stanning their anti-Vanti-ant-vaxx position.

Read:This Mexican Scientist Is Making Eco-Friendly Shopping Bags Through Nopal Juice

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