Spotlight: Jillian Mercado on Becoming a Fashion Force and Changing the Game

Getting to know and share our Saltie sisters is important to us, so in this Spotlight section we aim to highlight individuals, organizations and businesses that are ‘bringing it’ in our opinion. Blogger, style commander, Editorial Director and general bad-ass industry explosion, Jillian Mercado, bends our ear in the best way this week.

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Salted Spotlight: Jillian Mercado

In your own words, what do you do for a living?

Well at the moment I work as Executive Editorial Director for WeTheUrban magazine which is the first blog turned magazine. I’m also a freelance writer and just added to my list is modeling.

When did you start on this path?

I started working for the magazine about a year and a half ago. As far as the writing and the modeling go I just started recently.

What’s your biggest challenge working for yourself? What’s your greatest reward?

The biggest challenge is definitely having a steady income. I have times where there is no work and times when there’s a lot of work so just having steady income has been the most challenging part. The greatest reward is when the issue is over and you get to see everything you worked so hard on come to life. I take my work as my pride and joy so even though creating the photo shoots and thinking about an idea is amazing, at the end of the day the most rewarding thing is having that issue in my hands and knowing that I did that.

Is what generally inspires your sense of fashion today the same thing that made you want to start in the industry?

Yes, I’m pretty blessed that the reason I started in the industry is still the same today. I wanted to learn more about it when I started to create art and bring different people and ideas together, and work on creating a beautiful stories. Today it’s pretty much the same thing: every time we start the new issue, we brainstorm with photographers and makeup artist about the stories. I feel the same excitement as when I first started in the industry, it’s pretty exciting!

How did your relationship with Nicola Formichetti begin and did that access an opportunity for you towards the Diesel campaign?

I meet Nicola Formichetti at a party we did for the magazine last February. I remember us talking all night about our dogs and how much we love them! Honestly we talked about it for hours all while the party was going on. From there on we kept in touch through social media. The opportunity from Diesel came later on near the end of summer where he posted on Facebook that he was looking for people for his casting call. I’ve always wanted to work with him because he’s such a great person and you can see how much he loves his job – sometimes in the fashion industry you really don’t see people as humble as he is. So I signed up and weeks later I was told that I was picked from a huge list of people to be in the campaign.

You’ve worked from internships to having your own site to covering runway shows during fashion week to being a model in a major international campaign and now Executive Editorial Director for WeTheUrban… what can we expect next from you?

I know my resume is pretty lengthy…expect pretty awesome surprises coming soon! I have a few projects that will be released sometime soon on the Diesel main website so definitely keep your eyes peeled for that! Also, our issue is coming out very soon and a sister zine issue about sex and fashion will be out in the summertime. So a lot of exciting things are going to be appearing here and there.

What does life/work balance mean to you? Do you make it happen and, if so, how?

It’s everything! To know how to balance work and your personal life can be extremely stressing. I only say this because before I knew how to balance them both it was very hard for me to have a somewhat organized life. Priority is key, give yourself time to sleep, don’t forget to eat! For me I try to wake up early to do as much work as I can, and at approximately five in the evening I get away from the computer and have some social life. It depends on projects that I’m doing, but I always try not to become a workaholic and completely dismiss my life.

No, really… how do you MAKE IT HAPPEN? haha. As in, what’s your key to getting things done?

Making lists. Having a schedule for what you want to accomplish everyday makes things happen. And actually doing them because writing it down is one thing, but actually checking it off the list is another. You have to be persistent and determined to make things happen. No one else can help you but yourself, so wishing things to happen never works, you have to make them happen.

If you could change two things about the industry, what would they be?

Accepting more diversity in the industry and the fact that some people think that intimidation is the best way to get things done. Both of those things need to change.

It’s Women’s History Month, which woman in history do you admire the most? Who would you invite to a cocktail party? Who would you want to play you in your life’s movie?

Joan of Arc: she has always been someone that I’ve admired in history because she was such a badass. To a cocktail party, other than my friends, obviously, I would invite Grace Cuddington because she is someone that I currently look up to. As far as who would play me in my movie, I honestly have no idea because it has to be someone who is also in a wheelchair as an actress.

Most importantly… Dior red or Louboutin red?

Louboutin red. Period.

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Read more about Jillian Mercado at her website manufactured1987.com.

Photo ©Matt Hoch

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