PHOTO COURTESY OF HOLLY LYNCH

Hello, I am Mercedes Yvette! Jersey bred, California raised.

Co-owner/Jewelry Designer of The Gilded Fox, Actress/Model, Spokeswoman for The Lupus Foundation of America, and happy yogi. Woohoo. A mouthful. I was diagnosed with Lupus 12 years ago shortly in my junior year of college while competing for Americas Next Top Model. Initially, I was deeply saddened because I know the disease too well because my grandmother passed away from complications of having Lupus. 

What symptoms did you notice?

Extreme fatigue happened a couple of years before being diagnosed with Lupus. Then I started to have joint pain all over to the point that I couldn't make myself a peanut jelly sandwich because I couldn't unscrew the lid.

In what ways did your life have to change after being diagnosed?

My life changed immensely when I decided I didn't want to be sick anymore. I woke up and made it my choice to "cure" myself. I mentally switched off "woe is me" to "I am healthy, happy and strong". I did research to find how some people cured themselves of cancer and other autoimmune diseases. I read books like Kris's Carr, Crazy Sexy Cancer and books by Dr. Weil. They taught me about clean and healthy eating and what are in the products we use on a daily basis. 

My life changed immensely when I decided I didn't want to be sick anymore. I woke up and made it my choice to "cure" myself.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ASHLEY PAIGE

I now eat mostly a vegetarian diet with minimal amount of meat. When I do eat meat it is from a local butcher that knows the farm and they are aware of how the animals are treated and are fed with hormone free feed. On the go can sometimes be a challenge but I believe in companies like Chipotle that serve fresh, organic, and ethically responsible food. All of my products are natural. I use a ton of Ayurvedic essential oils.

You became a spokesperson for Lupus Foundation of America. What has your experience been helping others cope with this illness?

As a spokesperson you come across so many strong people living and adjusting to what life throws at them. I have met amazing doctors and politicians who care about change and making a difference in the autoimmune world. Since I've been a spokesperson they have come out with a new drug for Lupus which hasn't changed since Eisenhower was in presidency. Wow!! Yet, still we have a long way to go in the research world.

We are all jealous of your skin and hair. What are your beauty secrets?

If I tell you that I will have to kill you. Haha. Evanhealy is a great all natural company. I use primrose oil once a week as a night treatment. However the real beauty secret is what you put in your body and not necessarily what you put on it. Although Lots of sunscreen and minimal sun with a dash of vitamin D can aid in the aging process. I'm a big believer of living in a stress free zone and lots of laughter.

You also have a jewelry collection, The Gilded Fox.

The Gilded Fox was started by me and business partner Danielle Yu. It's a vintage inspired line with an edge. We both share a passion in past decades and handmade goods and saw a lack in the market for great handmade goods with a timeless feel. Our inspirations come from the people we meet to the places we travel.

The real beauty secret is what you put in your body and not necessarily what you put on it... I'm a big believer of living in a stress free zone and lots of laughter.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ASHLEY PAIGE

What else can we expect from you in 2015?

My industry is unpredictable. However you can expect to see me and The Gilded Fox on youtube and coming to a store near you.

For those of us with an illness striving to still live as "normal" of a life as possible while staying as fierce as YOU, what piece of advice would you give us?

First off thank you for that fierce comment. What is "normal" in the grand scheme? The one advice is go at your own pace and stay positive. You are control of your destiny for the most part the rest is up to GOD. I may have Lupus but it doesn't define who I AM.


You can keep up with Mercedes Yvette by following her on Instagram & Twitter, and liking her on Facebook. Visit The Gilded Fox site for her jewelry collection.