Merced is no stranger to working with the community.
Since his early days, back at Hialeah Senior High
School, he was involved and excelled in the swim team,
marching band and was the lead American Sign Language
interpreter for school functions and plays.
After graduation from high school, Jesse attended
Digital Media Arts College where he received a degree in
graphic design and began working for consumer firm where
he was involved in public relations and event planning.
As a young man, his background in competitive swimming
and community involvement encouraged him to join a gay
swim team, “Nadadores.” Swimming gave Jesse not only
serenity but also the chance to share goals with a
strong network of friends and like-minded individuals.
His talents and experience in graphic design enabled him
to work closely with event promoters to develop
advertising materials for a plethora of parties and
With his heart, motivation and drive, Jesse continuously
volunteered with charitable fundraisers including AIDS
Walk, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Special
in the community is important to me in a lot of ways,”
said Jesse. “When I worked at my previous job, my focus
was to work closely with our marketing department and
the company had a program called ‘Community Care’.
“And I worked along with a dear friend of mine at
community events and raised money for good causes. When
people would come up and thank us for our support, I
felt it was such an honor to work for a company that was
Jesse continued to say that shortly afterwards, his
friend passed away and they were so close, and the
friend was so influential in his life, that he continued
in honor of departed friend.
However, “Working in the community has always been a
part of my life in a lot of different ways. I was part
of a single- parent family and I really didn’t have a
family to support me and they weren’t really supportive
on any decisions I made. So giving back to the community
for me was more benefitting to me personally along with
doing it for my friend.”
In addition to swimming, Jesse also likes to work out.
“I work out almost every day now. I like to jog in the
mornings on the beach for about 10 minutes then workout
for an hour. My workout mostly consists of cardio,
abdominal and muscle training.”
As the Executive Assistant to Palace General Manager
Ivan Cano, Jesse is a dynamic member of the Palace team,
working closely with all staff members, where he grants
a distinctive and fresh perspective to all facets of the
venue’s event productions.
“I’ve only been here a month and a half but in that
short period, it’s been very eye-opening and many doors
have opened for me. I’ve been able to bring my talents
from my old job over here and multiply it by 20. Plus, I
really love the people I work with.”
Most recently, Jesse has been distinguished as a leading
finalist of the “Inferno Puerto Rico Model Search”
competing for fashion shows, print ads and the
opportunity to continue to set himself aside as a
successful gay model, dancer and community activist.
Jesse credits being independent for much of his success.
He said he has pushed himself to be success and to
prove, not only to his family but also the community,
that a person can do it on their own and to go after
“I think right now, my biggest success is that I’ve been
able to prove to youth that you can do it on your own.
If you don’t have the family support system that you
feel you need, you still have your friends and you must
surround yourself with positivity. Then you too can be