Project Runway’s Mondo Guerra reveals he’s HIV positive
          

Mondo Guerra

Sometimes a bold-patterned fuchsia-and-yellow high-waisted pant can change your life.

Project Runway‘s new ninety-minute time slot this season is amazing, and it just gets better as it gets paired down to fewer and fewer contestants.

It’s great to get a better picture of each designer’s process; to have more time with the judges, more time with the fabulous Tim Gunn, and more time for personal drama. It creates a intimate and thorough feel. They could probably put this on for four hours each week and I would watch. (The Biggest Loser drones on for two friggin’ hours and they don’t even make anything.)

Mondo Guerra HIV Positive design
Above: Mondo Guerra’s winning design from Project Runway Season 8 Episode 10 featuring his HIV-positive inspired custom textile print. (Click photo for larger image)

It’s fun sometimes to watch the contestants be taken through an emotional ringer so you can sit back, lick the Cheetos paste off your fingers, and thank the heavens that you don’t have to make a couture gown out of pipe cleaners in less than three hours. It’s also a blast to watch the cattiness and back-biting. Sometimes the total break-downs are either hilarious (think the attention-seeking former meth addict from Season 6), riveting, or both (this season’s Casanova).

But never did we expect to be emotionally torn apart and spiritually inspired by a Project Runway episode.

The immensely talented Mondo Guerra, who can take any brightly colored bold pattern and whip it into the most elegant gown in the room, reached through our television screens and lifted us up while tearing out our hearts with HIV confession. It was breathtaking because this was something he’s been hiding from his family, and many others, for ten years.

The contestants were greeted in the workroom by old family photos of themselves and asked to make a textile pattern that “evoke[s] something deeply personal.”

“The point of departure for your textile design is to be a moment, a period of time, that you found to be especially profound, important, and inspiring to you. Your textile design must evoke something that’s deeply personal.”

Mondo immediately went to work designing a really gorgeous pattern based on the positive sign to represent his HIV+ status. He wouldn’t tell the other designers or Tim Gunn what it really meant.

Mondo Guerra's custom print fabric inspired by his HIV positive status

In fact, he almost didn’t tell anyone what it meant until very late in the judging process. (The voice-overs that narrate the early parts of the show were recorded after his revelation.) At some point Nina Garcia exclaimed “I wish I knew what the story was!”

After the other contestants told the stories of their pattern, Mondo, who was the clear leader, finally spoke up:

“Nina, you asked me what my story was, and the symbolism in the pant actually are, these pluses are positive signs. And I’ve been HIV positive for ten years. And when I saw these pictures of my family, it brought back a lot of emotion. And so I wanted to pull from the past, but I also wanted to give something back of who I am now. And that I’ve been so scared of, and hiding from. And so, that’s the story.”

He followed up with “I feel better now, I feel free.”

Watch below:

Thanks Mondo, this brave confrontation touched and helped countless people. Here is the winning look again, this time from the front and back.

(Click to enlarge)
Mondo Guerra HIV positive inspired design from Seaon 8 episode 10Back view of Mondo Guerra's HIV-positive inspired look
Mondo’s inspirational winning design from the front and back. (Click the images to see larger photos in the gallery. If those aren’t big enough then click ‘em again for super-sized pics!)

You can keep up with Mondo and the rest of the Project Runway Season 8 contestants every Thursday night at 9/8c on Lifetime and follow-up with all sorts of extra videos and information about the episodes and contestants at MyLifetime.com!

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    • Zilly

      What a freaking excellent show that was, and I could watch hours of PJ too! To see the change in Mondo after he told his secret was amazing, he was so happy and serene good for him, I hope he wins this season.

      • genx

        And he will win; and not because of pity from being HIV+. His talent with design is impeccable, modern and fresh. He need not be pitied indeed! Mondo has a full life ahead of him with many accolades for a great, talented fashion designer.

    • SteveDenver

      Mondo was at Beauty Bar Thursday for the screening and his dad was there. I wish him the best and am glad he came out about being HIV-positive. He was only 21 or 22 when infected, and in this age of barebacking as the new “norm” the real tragedy is young gay men have a lot working against them.

      Being HIV-positive is NOT “Shocking,” nor should it be shameful. Eradicate the stigma.

    • B-RAD

      HE DROPPED THAT BOMB TO GET THE LEAD TO WIN THE SHOW HAHAHA THIS SHIT IS NO MYSTERY AND IF YOU LOOK AT THE FACES OF THE OTHER CONTESTANTS YEA THEY TEARED UP BUT THE THINKING BEHIND THE TEARS IS “NO THIS MUTHA F*CKA JUST DIDN’T THIS LAME ASS MUTHA F*CKER” HAHA AND I CAN BET FROM NOW ON THEY PROJECT RUNWAY START DOING HEALTH TEST BEFORE YOU ARE ALLOWED TO ENTER THE CONTEST. YES THAT WAS A SHITTY THING TO DO AND HE JUST STOLE CAREERS FROM THE OTHERS AS THEY WILL HAVE TO FAIN SYMPATHY LIKE THAT CHICK THAT SAID “WE LOVE YOU” THEY OTHERS DON’T AND THEY PROBABLY WISHED SHE WOULD HAVE SHUT HER F*CKING MOUTH HAHAHA

      • genx

        I seriously doubt that the likes of Nina Garcia, Heidi Klum and Michael Kors will throw sympathy votes to Mondo. These judges are ruthless and mostly insensitive- to anything! That being said, the designer THEY think will fit the bill will win, and that will likely be Mondo.

      • Personage

        Yeah, because no one in the fashion industry is HIV positive except Mondo, and the judges would be so shocked and awed by his confession that they’d be willing to change their opinion about anything.

        Seriously, they’ve heard it before. Mondo won ’cause he won, not because he got a pity-panel. Everyone one of those judges probably knows people who have died, people who are coping, people who have given up from AIDS and HIV. It is incredibly unlikely any of them would think “Wow, Mondo. This makes you SPECIAL! I’ma vote for you now.”

        Probably more like, “Wow, Mondo. That was brave. Have some friends who are HIV/AIDS positive, too. By the way, nice pants.”

    • me

      Mondo is a true designer!!Love his work would so totally wear it.

 

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