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Inclusive Beauty with BuzzFeed

Inclusive Beauty with Buzzfeed at FIT        Moderated by:
        Augusta Falletta
        Supervising Producer, BuzzFeed 'Top Knot'

        In Conversation with:
        Essence Gant
        Beauty Editor, BuzzFeed

        Jillian Mercado
        Model, Creative & Activist

        Jacob Tobia
        Writer, Producer, Performer & Influencer

        Join us on:
        Monday, November 6, 2017 at 7pm
        Katie Murphy Amphitheatre

        RSVP (see below) is required for entry.
        Light refreshments will be served.

Sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success.


About Inclusive Beauty with BuzzFeed

This thought-provoking panel will discuss beauty standards and how the fashion, beauty, and media industries address diversity and inclusion. What is the impact of gender, race, body size, ability, culture, age, etc.? What role can FIT students play in creating more inclusive industries? We have invited some influencers involved in various aspects of media and beauty to join our panel—two of them, Augusta Falletta and Jillian Mercado—are even FIT alumni. Join us as they share their stories, insights, and advice with us. 


About the Moderator  
Augusta Falletta Augusta Falletta is the Supervising Producer of BuzzFeed Top Knot, where she oversees production and content strategy for Top Knot’s video publishing. Managing a team of seven video producers, she is responsible for developing cross-platform beauty content, coordinating sponsored content with the branded team, and coordinating the global adaptation and expansion of Top Knot content. Augusta previously was the Associate Beauty Editor at StyleCaster, a digital media platform for fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. She obtained an Associate's Degree in Fashion Merchandising Management and a Bachelor's Degree in Advertising and Marketing Communications from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Augusta is originally from Long Island, New York, and currently resides in New Jersey.
About the Panelists  
 Essence Gant Essence Gant is BuzzFeed’s Beauty Editor focusing on multicultural beauty. Through her content, she works toward diversifying the beauty conversation by focusing on inclusivity and steering away from the traditionally narrow beauty ideal. Essence specializes in makeup for women of all colors, natural hair, skincare, and more. She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from SUNY Albany and currently resides in New Jersey.
 Jillian Mercado Jillian Mercado lived and breathed fashion from a young age, albeit unwittingly. Her mother and father, both immigrants from Santiago, Dominican Republic, first worked in an embroidery factory and shoe store, respectively. She fondly recalls time spent toying with her mother’s sewing machine, learning about fabrics and toppling over while trying on shoes two times her size. The fashion bug stuck with her and she went on to study Fashion Merchandising Management at New York’s esteemed Fashion Institute of Technology.

After graduation, Jillian took up various titles behind the scenes. After working with socialite photographer Patrick McMullan, she held a position at Tumblr before becoming the Creative Director of We the Urban magazine. Though Jillian never seriously entertained the idea of modeling, she submitted herself to an open call for Diesel, partially on a whim and partially for an opportunity to work with Nicola Formichetti again. The two first became acquainted during a launch party for an issue of We the Urban that featured the denim brand’s artistic director on the cover. With a small push from a friend, Jillian took the plunge. Two weeks later, Diesel notified her she was in the running to be featured in the campaign.

Jillian describes the aftermath of the campaign launch, photographed by the venerable Inez and Vinoodh, as “instant viralness." She subsequently appeared on various television shows, including E! News, and received an influx of praise for both her modeling and her representation of the differently abled in fashion. “From there I knew the responsibility that I had,” she says. “I was terrified that Diesel was going to be it for me, but I said ‘No, I’ve done some crazy stuff in my life. This can’t be it."

To date, Jillian has starred in campaigns for Nordstrom and Target as well as editorial features in the September issues of Glamour and Cosmopolitan magazines. She was also shot by Michael Avedon for Carine Roitfeld’s CR Fashion Book. In 2016, she appeared in the merchandise campaign for Beyoncé’s Formation World Tour, sounding off a new episode in her modeling career. Most recently, she graced the cover of Glassbook magazine. “I’m showing that having a disability doesn’t have to be ugly, and how it should be embraced. I wish I had that role model growing up, but to be that role model is great.”
 Jacob Tobia Jacob Tobia is a writer, producer, and author of the forthcoming memoir Sissy with Putnam Books at Penguin Random House. As a performer, visionary, and internet personality, Jacob helps others embrace the full complexity of gender and own their truth, even when that truth is messy as hell. Currently living in Los Angeles, Jacob recently wrapped as the Social Media Producer on Season 4 of Jill Soloway’s Emmy Award-winning series, Transparent.

Named in 2016’s OUT 100, Jacob made their debut on the national stage when they were interviewed by Laverne Cox as part of MTV’s The T Word. In 2015, Jacob was profiled by MTV in the one hour, GLAAD Award-nominated episode of True Life: I’m Genderqueer, and in 2016, Jacob created, coproduced, and hosted Queer 2.0, a first-of-its-kind LGBTQ series on NBC News. In addition to their recent book deal, Jacob recently collaborated with Instagram and GLAAD to produce #KindComments, a custom campaign for Trans Day of Visibility that was viewed over 14 million times.

A Point Foundation Scholar, Harry S. Truman Scholar, and recipient of the Campus Pride National Voice and Action Award, Jacob has captivated audiences at Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, and conferences across the country with their message of personal fabulosity and social change. Their writing and advocacy have been featured on MSNBC, MTV, The Washington Post, The New York Times, TIME, New York Magazine, Teen Vogue, Nylon, The Guardian, and Jezebel, among others.

Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Jacob graduated Summa Cum Laude from Duke University with a degree in Human Rights Advocacy. Prior to their career in television, Jacob worked at the United Nations Foundation, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. Jacob is an avid Sriracha devotee and has worn high heels in the White House twice (take that, Donald!)