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Jillian Mercado Making Waves In The Fashion Industry From her Wheelchair



By Kristopher Fraser

Increasing diversity has been a major problem and an even bigger headline issue for the fashion industry over the last several years. The movement for models of different ethnic backgrounds and different body types has certainly been getting their voice heard, and change seems to be coming slowly and incrementally, but a different face of diversity is now making headlines. Jillian Mercado, a 26-year-old New Yorker who suffers from muscular dystrophy, has been signed with IMG models.

Mercado’s muscular dystrophy has left her in a wheelchair, but she is not known as the model in the wheelchair; she’s the model who was the star of Diesel’s 2014 campaign. Mercado is a fashion editor and blogger who managed to win the attention of Diesel’s artistic director Nicola Formichetti who made the decision to feature instead of hide her wheelchair in the campaign photos. While Mercado may seem like she just got lucky with the Diesel campaign, she has had a longtime relationship with the world of fashion.

She graduated from FIT where she worked as a fit model for friends because she easily fit into sample sizes. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, she once stated that professional modeling never seemed like “a possibility” with her disability, but she became a surprise sensation. After the Diesel campaign she managed to land a gig at major department store chain Nordstrom.

In addition to her new modeling duties, Mercado is also a front row regular at NYFW, which is also produced by her new modeling agency IMG. Mercado is just one of many impressive up and coming models who are proof that the fashion industry is slowly becoming more inclusive of people with disabilities. Jamie Brewer, an actress and activist who is probably better known to the public for her roles in “American Horror Story,” strut the runway at NYFW.

Brewer got to strut down the runway in designer Carrie Hammer’s “Role Models Not Runway Models” fashion show which is meant to showcase powerful professional women like CEO’s, entrepreneurs, actresses and writers modeling clothes instead of traditional runway models. In 2014, Hammer’s show featured the first model in a wheelchair, Ms. Wheelchair New York 2012, Danielle Sheypuk herself.

“”People with disabilities are an untapped consumer market in terms of fashion,” Sheypuk, a clinical psychologist in New York, told the Huffington Post. “We read the magazines, shop in stores, but nothing is ever pitched to us.” Sheypuk has used a wheelchair since she was 2 years old, and has an interest in designer fashion since the vigors of her youth, but always found that the industry was clearly lacking role models.

The upcoming generation of fashionistas will finally have some impressive ladies to look up to who didn’t let their disabilities stop them from pursuing their fashion dreams, but the gentleman will also have some people to look up to as well. Jack Eyers, a male amputee model, participated in the FLT Moda show last February during New York Fashion Week. In addition to Eyers, Blake Leeper, a Paralympian double amputee walked in Naomia Campbell’s Fashion for Relief charity runway show.

For an event all about charity, Campbell made sure that she was inclusive of almost everybody having one of the most diverse runway shows all of NYFW featuring models on multiple ethnic backgrounds, amputees and people with different disabilities. Fashion for Relief was the runway show that showcased what many hoped the fashion industry will eventually become: representative of people from nearly every walk of life. At the end of the day, the overall industry still has a long way to go, but there are certainly efforts being made to finally represent the unsung disabled fans of the industry and make the place for them that they have long deserved.

How To Take The Perfect Picture



By Simi A Mira

So, you’ve got your personal style down to a fine art, your wardrobe is better matched than Brad and Ange, and you’re ready to show off to the world! But hang on, why do your photos make you look like Kim K during an eyelash shortage? Simple – you’re not doing it right! (Either that or you’ve just got a really crappy camera. But before you splash out on a new one, it’s probably best if you listen to my advice first!)

Set The Stage

How long do you think designers spend deciding on the look of the backdrop of a shot? Or the music to accompany one of their shows? Far too long, I’ll bet! Make sure your backdrop is clutter-free and complements your outfit. If you’ve got a cutesy, girly outfit to show off, use a harsh, graphic background to balance the shot. Bold, bright patterns and brickwork are excellent for shifting the focus to your picture too.

Use accessories or props to draw the attention towards the bet bit of the outfit. Like the trousers? Make sure you’ve got the shoes that’ll show them off to their finest. Showing off your makeup? How about some dazzling jewellery to finish the look. It’s about the whole picture here.

What’s Your Angle

No, I don’t mean what is your picture trying to say to me. It’s an outfit. It’s gorgeous. Job done. What I mean is, what angle should you use for your photo? Well, if you want a flattering pic that captures the whole outfit, go for a shot from the top. (Totally avoid anything where the camera’s looking up at you, unless you’re trying to make double-chins that next big fashion hit. How do you even get chins like that?! A trick of the light, I promise you!)

If you’re after something a little away from the norm, taking close-ups of shoes, handbags and other accessories is a great way to show off your personal style. And hey, if you’re after a selfie and a half, don’t leave your phone out of the shot! Credit where credit’s due, after all …

Everyone’s A Model

Okay, so we don’t all get paid for it, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the ride. We’ve all got our good bits. We’ve all got our bad bits. (Yes, even you, Gisele Bundchen. I’m not sure what they are, but I’m sure you’ve got them …) So like the best real estate agents we’ve got to show off the good and gloss over the not so good. You’ve probably been doing this for ages anyway with your makeup – I for one love to layer on the eyeliner and leave the bright lippies to the likes of Taylor Swift – so make sure you do the same with your photos. Anyone can be a model without the typical model body.

So there you have it. Just a little careful planning (and maybe a hint of an Instagram filter here or there) and you’ve got a selfie that the Kardashian clan themselves would be proud of! Just remember to share them with the rest of us, though!

5 Celebrities Who Were Child Models



By Calynn M. Lawrence

Have you ever wondered if celebrities had a past career before everyone knew their name? Well, you are right! This article is going to feature five famous individuals who you probably did not know used to be models!


You know Dakota Johnson as an actress. She has played in films such as Crazy In Alabama, Fifty Shades of Grey and Chloe and Theo. She was also Miss Golden Globe 2006. But, did you know that Miss Dakota Johnson also signed with IMG modeling agency in her early years of her career and still occasionally does work with the company? Many people underestimate her due to her simple (but still pretty) appearance. However, considering the moves that she has been making she is a force to be reckoned with.


These terrific twin sisters have been around since the 90s! You remember them from TV shows such as Ful House and So Little Time or movies such as Passport to Paris and When In Rome. They dominated the child-teen acting scene for many years and have due credit for that. Yet, some people did not know that these two served as fashion models in their teens and early twenties. When the pair decided to venture into fashion and design, they modeled a lot of their own work and as a result they were able to book gigs with other designers such as Badgley Mischka.


Charlies Angels, In Her Shoes, The Other Woman, My Sister’s Keeper and Annie are just some of the films that bombshell actress Cameron Diaz has starred in. We all love her for her great acting skills and those bullet blue eyes with killer smile. That’s why it isn’t surprising that she used to model in her teen years. Before her rise fame as a movie star, she modeled for Elite Model Management and Seventeen!


The ever so hilarious Ashton Kutcher. We recognize him from being the comical lead in TV shows such as That 70’s Show and Punk’d. His film list includes movies such as Guess Who, Just Married and What Happens In Vegas. But, his resume stretches beyond the silver screen. In his teen years, Ashton Kutcher was a fashion model for names such as Next Modeling Agency and Calvin Klein!


Marky Mark has moved the industry with his good vibrations as both a musician and an actor! Some of his greatest hits are “Good Vibrations” and “Wild Side” which both went gold. Some of his most known films are Ted, Daddy’s Home and The Perfect Storm! Besides his talents, Mr. Wahlberg is certainly good looking which likely played a huge part in his young adult modeling career . He landed ads for Vanity Fair and Calvin Klein!

Another Sh*tty Job



By Carrie Lynn – OnOption Blog

Each time I’m at a job, I find myself in deep conversations with the hair stylists and makeup artists.  I think of them as therapists…but better!  These ones actually talk back…and make us feel and look good!!!  While getting my pre-shooting therapy in, a conversation came up about bad job experiences.  We’ve all been on shoots, I’m sure, where we would just love to tell everyone to @$#% off and walk out.  Of course I’ve never done this, it would be totally unprofessional!  But the thought has crossed my mind several times!

My second season down in Miami I was shooting for a fitness magazine.  I was actually excited about this job.  It may have had to do with the gorgeous Brazilian guy I was shooting with…I could write a separate blog about him!  WOW!  Anyway, we were shooting bicycles and cycling gear.  My excitement started to die when they started to put my hair up.  Talk about a confidence killer!  Why?  Because I’m basically a human Dumbo.  My brother actually gave me the nickname when I was little. I blame him for being self-conscious!  I danced growing up and each recital he would always be able to pick me out on the stage because I was the one with “the ears!”  Yep!  He was mean!  I’m scarred for life!  Needless to say I’ve grown into them, or at least I thought I had.

After the first half of the day we started shooting some pictures straight on.  Uh oh!  Ear alert!  The photographer would not stop making an issue about my ears.  According to her, they were messing up the shot, and she couldn’t get the picture!!!  Who says this openly?  Does she not know I’m a living, breathing human?  After about an hour of her b*tching about my ears, and trying tape and other weird ways to pin them back, they decided the only way to fix it was to put a helmet on my head!  Not a bad idea!  The geniuses couldn’t have thought about that sooner?!  It would have been a lot less traumatic to my psyche if someone had given the woman a filter.

I did all I could to hold back tears until I left.  Let me tell you the second I walked out of that door I could not keep it together.  I cried Justin a river alright.  (You know like the song “Cry Me A River”)  Okay, not funny!  Looking back it doesn’t seem as bad as it felt at the time.  It could have been worse!

After talking to “the therapist” about my worst job.  She went on to tell me some stories she had heard.  She was working with a model that topped my worst job.  Apparently the model was in hair and makeup and the make up artist needed to use the restroom.  When he came back they continued putting foundation on her face.  Although, something was different about this foundation.  It was dark…too dark!  SO GROSS!  Homie never washed his hands and ended up smearing his poop on her face!!!  I am not sure how I would have reacted.  I’ve tried to put myself in her shoes a few times now and I just end up gagging each time.  I think I’m always going to be OCD about the makeup artists washing their hands before touching my face now.  To think I thought I had it bad just being teased all day.  Talk about a sh*tty day!  Gagging still.

Can any of you top that??? I sure cant’!

Me on the left…picking up a good satellite signal 

Me hiding my ears :/

Photoshop Bullying



By Brandis Ohlsson

Anyone interested in celebrity or fashion has probably heard of the E! Network’s show, Fashion Police. And if you’ve heard of Fashion Police, you’ve probably heard that the network has decided to freeze the show for the foreseeable future due to a number of cast members jumping ship. And you’ve probably heard that cast members started jumping ship after contributor Giuliana Rancic said of Disney star Zendaya Coleman “I feel like she smells like patchouli oil … or maybe weed.”- in response to Zendaya’s wearing dreadlocks on the red carpet.

I was discussing this with a friend last week. I told him I thought it was great that the network was standing up to bullying. “Is it bullying?” he asked. “Can you really bully someone who puts themselves in the spotlight? Someone who asks for celebrity? I always considered bullying to be when the strong are picking on the weak. Can the weak bully the strong?” He had a point.

@wephotoshoppedwhat is an anonymous Instagram account that’s made headlines in recent weeks for it’s possible bullying of fashion bloggers. The account posts photos of bloggers (and some celebrities) and points out areas of the photos posted that have clearly been digitally altered with pink arrows. “My trademark pink arrows are never meant to point out someone’s ‘flaws,’” the anonymous user wrote on one of their posted images, “but rather to draw attention to the obvious Photoshopping.”

There are too many angles on this to make it cut and dry, bullying or no bullying, but my gut says this is not bullying. How many magazine covers have sites like thefashionspot.com or the Cut Blog, posted as “Photoshop Fails?” They are guised as empowerment pieces, declaring to the magazines that the models and celebrities on the covers are beautiful as is and don’t need to be photoshopped. Many go as far as to say that the photoshopping is dangerous to young girls, and lend to unhealthy body images.

All valid opinions. I wonder though, how is this not considered bullying, but @wephotoshoppedwhat is? In fact, I would even go a step further and say that fashion bloggers editing photos of themselves is more harmful than photoshopped photos of celebrities and models in magazines are.

When Madonna shows up on a magazine cover at 56 years old looking 25, we all know it’s been photoshopped, we’re expecting it. When a girl posts a photo of herself on social media, we’re not expecting that it has been digitally altered. In fact, it surprises me to think that so many people are editing their “candid” photos of themselves.

Where @wephotoshoppedwhat loses my support is the fact that whomever the mystery poster is, they’re staying mum and keeping it anonymous, not even responding to media requests for comments in response to the negative press they’ve been receiving. If they are in fact taking a stand against photoshopping, then they should have nothing to be ashamed of- show your face and shout your name from the rooftops girl (or boy!)- you’re standing up for something and this day in age, that’s a rare and pridworthy trait to have.

Being anonymous make your motives questionable. Cyber bullies and internet trolls rarely unveil their real life identities either, and there’s a reason for that.

How To Look After Your Skin In The Sun



By Simi A Mira

That time of year is quickly rolling around again, and the thought of sun-kissed, glowing skin can easily overtake the logical thoughts on how to look after your precious skin during the summer months. As much as we all need some sun and it’s nourishing vitamins, it can rapidly become harmful to our wellbeing if we expose ourselves to it without caution. On top of this, it ages you speedily which is something we all want to avoid!

Here is a list of five ways in which you can take care of skin whilst still reaping the benefits of the luscious summer months:

1. Sunscreen

You may be thinking this is obvious – and it is – but you’d be surprised as to how many people actually forget or don’t bother with sunscreen at all. Depending on your skin type, you will need to pick the right SPF for your needs. For example, if your skin turns red after ten minutes in the sun, as sunscreen of SPF10 would allow for a hundred minutes in the sun protected. Remember that sunscreen can also be oily, so washing off after a day in the sun is a must. After all, this article is all about taking care of our skin!

2. Headwear

Personally, I don’t need an excuse to wear my western straw hat or opt to adorn a floppy beach hat, but what better reason than to be protecting your precious skin.  The permanent shade above your head will prevent the sun from glaring on your face and causing irreversible ageing, as well as helping you look uber chic. More than just a fashion accessory, Summer hats are a must for the clued-up beach goer.

3. Fake Tan

If you’re dying to get bronzed in time to bare your skin, don’t hit the sunbeds – this has the same effects on your skin as prolonged tanning, and will only leave you looking leathery and aged in the long run. Instead, pick up a bottle of fake tan and give yourself a risk-free glow in the comfort of your own home. There are number of tanners out there, and depending on your skin tone and type, the right one is out there for you. If you’ve never fake tanned before and are a bit apprehensive, there are ‘gradual’ tanners available, that will slowly make your skin darker over the course of time you apply it. This gives you a fantastic level of control over your tan – something the sun doesn’t offer.

4. Drink Plenty of Water

it’s easy to let the sun and the laid back summer feels entice you into cocktails and cold beers, but it’s extremely important to stay properly hydrated with water. Both the sun and alcohol dehydrates and will leave you feeling worse than sluggish if you don’t take care. A lack of water during summer months can lead to break outs and dull skin – remember to keep up with your water intake and ensure your skin stays glowing all summer long.

5. Examine

Remember to keep a check on your skin during these months, especially. Moles changing shape, places that itch or bleed are all warning signs you should get checked out. Whilst a mole that moves isn’t always abnormal, it’s something to keep an eye on and consult your doctor about if it begins to become a cause for concern. Whilst this article is about taking care of your skin, regular skin checks also takes care of your overall health.

There is the Top 5 Ways to Look After Your Skin in The Sun. If you make sure you remember all of these, you’ll undoubtedly have glowing skin that will wow all year round – not just in summer.

Haven’t I Seen You Somewhere?



Have you ever thought about what a model does after they’re done modelling? I do. While I still have a few years before I have to think about doing something other than rocking the runway, it’s sort of controlling my mind at the moment.

I asked my agent about it, and not only did he shrug away my concern, he changed the subject. That is definitely not a good sign.

I don’t have any modeling friends that have retired yet, but some of my friend’s moms were models, and they didn’t offer any hope. One girl’s mom became a flight attendant, another one went into sales. The majority of them had achieved the ideal “I used to be a model” career- the overindulged trophy wife.

I’m not looking forward to a life of Botox and yoga while picking the best nanny for my baby. There have got to be better options!

My problem is that I started modeling really young. I have been modelling since 14, and I didn’t really have a chance to develop any other skills. If I did stop I’d probably have to do something in the modelling industry, like be an agent, or coach. Wait, isn’t there a saying about that?

Those who can’t, teach.

I could teach people how to model!

But what I am terrified of is something that is more likely to happen – I get a job in the mall folding sweaters or rearranging the clothes on a mannequin. Do you have any idea how difficult it would be to take direction from some kid who couldn’t tell the difference between J Brand and True Religion…

My God, I’m getting dizzy just thinking about it.

That’s probably the reason why I’ve started taking some classes online. I figured when the time comes, I better have something else to fall back on. I’m thinking a career in fashion buying would be perfect for me, or I could be a wardrobe consultant.

I just need it to be something- anything – that keeps me from having to answer that awkward question of “Haven’t I see you somewhere?” from some guy in t-shirts and sweats eating a hot dog in the mall. I mean, I’m not ashamed of being a model; I just don’t want that to be all I do.

4 Reasons Why H&M x BALMAIN Collection Is The Best Collab Yet



By Caylnn M. Lawrence

The Designer Collaboration, H&M x Balmain was released in school earlier this month and caused quite a frenzy all across H&M’s worldwide! According to Harper’s Bazaar, people were lined up outside of the stores as early as 2 PM the previous day in order to assure their chances of purchasing even just one item from the stunner collection. You might think to yourself, “What makes this collection so special? What’s all the fuss?” Well, this article is here to tell you 5 major reasons why H&M x Balmain is their most popular designer collab yet!


The infamous Kardashian – Jenner clan always has their hands in another business deal, part of the reason they are so successful in their endeavors. Unsurprisingly, they have been recruited on board to endorse the H&M x Balmain collection. Budding supermodel in the making, Kendall Jenner, is the main component of this operation. She gracefully models the clothing in a dignified and professional manner both on the runway, in print and in person. This is done alongside her sisters who casually sport items from the collection when on the go and for red carpet appearances! After all, who doesn’t love the Kardashians, right? Who wouldn’t feel compelled to go out and purchase items from a collection worn by a multimillion dollar family!?


When perusing the H&M website, it is very easy to notice that the prices for the Balmain collection are drastically lower than a typical Balmain garment. This is because H&M works to create quality stylish pieces without the high end price tag. For example, if you look at the cost of the green sequin embroidered dress you will notice that it is only $199. If you compare this to the average cost of a typical Balmain dress, it is less than a fifth of the price! At such a great discount, there is no wonder why millions of people are going bonkers over this collection!


Edginess is now the trend for those of us who like to stay on top of the fashion wave. Therefore, anything that denotes a slight sense of strength, boldness and individuality is certainly all the rage. Looking at the collection, you can notice that there are prominent elements of European regality juxtaposed with chic grunge couture! This combination is not something conceivably easy to pull of yet it was executed perfectly in regards to this collection.


The H&M x Balmain collection features items of every category from shirts to dresses to trousers to accessories! This is not something that only features a few similar pieces and stops short at that. The collection has a wide variety of items suitable for all styles. Yet, despite having a collection so diverse in components, each piece shares the same like minded essence that unifies them greatly.

As you can see, there are many reasons why you should go check out the H&M x Balmain collection. If you would like to see which items might fit you best, you can visit the Balmain Sight

Models for Charity – The AMFAM x General Pants Collaboration



All My Friends Are Models is happy to present a collab with General Pants to bring you exclusive t-shirts that will be only sold at GP – click here to see!. Keeping in line with AMFAM’s vision to challenge the stereotypical perceptions of the fashion industry, we have enlisted the aid of a few of our favourite model mates.

We’ve teamed up with Elyse Taylor, Cheyenne Tozzi, Cat McNeil and Abbey Lee and have asked each of them to design tees exclusively for GP. Channeling the challenge of traditional perceptions, each t-shirt has been designed to be fashion forward, yet yields undertones that speak to a greater cause. These designs strive to reorient and stand for something greater and to bring awareness to help prove that the world of modeling is more than just skin deep. These tees go above and beyond the call of fashion. A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the model’s charity of choice.

Elyse Taylor has walked in fashion shows for Dolce & Gabbana, Bottega Veneta, Tommy Hilfiger, Moshcino, and Trussardi. Her tee design benefits the charity the Wayside Chapel, which has provided care and support for people living on the street of Kings Cross. Love over hate, the Wayside Chapel provides a community service centre, youth space and outreach service, mental healthy program, twilight team, community café, and their Aboriginal project all to give even the most disadvantaged members of the community access to these essential resources and services.

Cheyenne Tozzi has appeared on the covers of Mexican Vogue, German Cosmoplitan, and French Madame Figaro magazine. Beyond modelling, she is an aspiring singer and has also worked with ACP’s ’30 Days Of Fashion’. Cheyenne’s design benefits the Zambi Wildlife Retreats , which is based upon the love of animals. Zambi Wildlife Retreats has become a retreat and sanctuary for retired preforming animals, provding a home to tigers, lions, dingos, primates, reptiles, birds, farm and domestic animals.

Cat McNeil has appeared on the covers of both French and Australian Vogue, and has been featured in numerous advertisemets of Versace, Donna Karan, D&G and Jean Paul Gaultier. Her foundation, Soroptimist International , strives to advance human rights and the status of women. Working across all levels of civil society, both locally, nationally and internationally, Soroptimist International is involved in a extensive range of women’s affairs.

Abbey Lee, dubbed a supermodel by V magazine, is also an actress and musician. She most recently appeared in the movie “Mad Max: Fury Road”. Her charity of choice, Olivia Newton-John foundation , is a wellness center that combines the forerunning medical treatment and significant international research, coming along side quality wellness care and support for cancer patients and their families. Dreaming to provide the best cancer care, the foundation seeks to be a bridge between research, treatment, and care for cancer patients.

AMFAM X GP tees are sold exclusively at General Pants Co. To get one of these exclusive tees, visit General Pants Co. in store or online. Each tee sells for $39.95, with a percentage of the proceeds benefitting a greater cause.

How To Keep Your Hair Healthy Like A Model



By Calynn M. Lawrence

As a fashion model, you stand to go through a lot of manipulation. After all, you are the human canvas for the designer’s work. So, getting your hair and makeup done is simply part of the job. Yet, how can you keep your hair healthy when you have to inevitably undergo so much styling for your job? Well, this article is going to give you a few tips in order to keep your hair in optimal shape while living out the best of your career!

Ditch the shampoo! If you can avoid it, try to allow as much time in between hair washes as you can. This is because constant shampooing will do nothing but remove the natural oils from the hair and scalp. these serve as a protectant for them against damage. More than likely, your stylist will wash your hair for you. Thus, you can afford to skip a shampoo every now and then! Instead, you can cleanse your hair gently with a conditioner. If you find that your hair is simply too greasy to manage, using a cheap conditioner with a minimal amount of sulfate will do the trick without stripping the hair and making it more susceptible to damage.

Deep condition on a regular basis! Hair that is constantly styled and manipulated is essentially much coarser and dryer. By depositing positive vitamins and nutrients into the hair via deep conditioning, you are giving the hair life and moisture! Take your favorite conditioner after every shampoo and slather it on to the hair from root to tip. Proceed to seal it with your favorite hair oil, this is going to really lock in the moisture. Sit with a plastic cap or bag on your head for at least an hour then rinse.

Sleep with a satin cap or scarf! This will help reserve your hair as long as possible to avoid extra unnecessary styling and heat usage. For example, if you have to go through the process of getting your hair straightened and curled for a shoot, why not tie it up before bed so that you can rock that style for as long as possible?! Thus, you are getting the most out of your hair do and you are avoiding extra manipulation and damage.When styling your own hair, avoid using heat because you know that you will likely have to do such for your modeling gigs. So, limiting your personal styles to protective hair dos such as braid outs, bantu knots, twist outs, buns and ponytails would be much more beneficial to your hair’s health!

Do a mage prevention mask on your hair before shoots! This is the last but not least important tip of the day. If you know that you are going to have a shoot or a show that evening, do a damage prevention mask ahead of time. Coat your hair with your favorite oil or hair butter and tie it up in a bun. Allowing these things to absorb into your hair and scalp before the endless blow drying, teasing and tugging will surely help your hair fight against wear and tear.

These tips may not work for every single person but they are tied and true with many! Your hair will thank you if take time to make a conscious effort to take the best care of it that you can. After all, who says models can’t have healthy hair?