New Yorker and wheelchair user Jillian Mercado stars in edgy new Diesel ads

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NEW YORK (PIX11) — It would be hard to imagine anyone who deserves to star in a clothing ad more than New Yorker and fashion writer Jillian Mercado.

Mercado, 23, is a FIT graduate and fashion lover who has overcame incredible odds to end up as the new face of Diesel’s daring “Reboot” ad campaign.

At the age of 12, Mercado was diagnosed with spastic muscular dystrophy, according to her website Manufactured1987.

Jilliam Mercado

“My parents took me to a near by hospital only to find out I had Cerebral Palsy, which later led to finding out that I really have something called Spastic Muscular Dystrophy.”  She would endure surgeries, hospital stays and extensive physical therapy.

At the age of 12 she began using an electric wheelchair, an experience she says made her emotionally stronger as she grew up differently from her fellow students and friends.  It also made her physically stronger, especially when navigating the wheelchair-unfriendly buildings in pre-American Disability Act New York.

Jillian Mercado 2

She also overcame the crushing experience of someone stealing her wheelchair from outside of a friend’s house on 18th Street.

“There are no possible words that can describe the emotions that went through my head when I realized this had happened,” Mercado wrote on a fundraising website last year.  “As if someone, without permission, came up to you as you slept and removed both of your legs.”

After overcoming obstacles that would bring down most, Mercado is now the face of Diesel’s Spring 2014 advertising campaign.