On not seeing herself in magazines
She started out interning at magazines, including Allure, with the goal of eventually becoming an editor. "I felt very at home, like this was my destiny," Mercado said. "I thought in the future I'd become editor in chief somewhere and hire a diverse group of models. But as I was on my journey to become an awesome editor, I thought: where are all my peoples who have disabilities? It concerned me that such a large community of people were being ignored."
According to 2015 data from the Pew Research Center, nearly 40 million Americans have some type of disability. "It doesn't have to be someone like me who is in a wheelchair," Mercado said. "It could be someone blind or deaf or whatever. There are tons of invisible disabilities that people don't talk about. We are out there, everywhere."