In the first round of my Q&A with Project Runway designer Mondo Guerra, we chatted about the pressures of the show and his memorable decision to come forward as a person with HIV. Finishing up our interview, we jump back in with Guerra continuing his revelations about how that moment changed his life.
Eden Dawn: Did you have any idea how big it would be when you said it at the judging panel? I remember watching that episode and just being teary and….
Mondo Guerra: I was…I was uhh, extremely scared because I didn’t want. Um..it was hard. You know and I didn’t plan on talking about it actually. They did very very well, very honest on how it all unfolded.
M.G: Yeah It was really nice to see that you know?
E.D: Yeah, because you never know…
M.G: It was amazing because they didn’t pressure me into talking about it and none of the contestants knew, not even Michael Costello, Michael Drummond knew but he had already been kicked off.
E.D: So you guys were separated.
M.G: Yeah that support gone. But when I talked about it and we were dismissed and I won and we were able to go back to the holding room, the producers came and crept behind the curtain, there’s this curtain they all hide behind like the control room in wizard of Oz, and they come out and there and this bawling. And they said, I can’t believe you did that like why did you decide to talk about it, and I was like I don’t know. But it was an emotional roller coaster ride for me really because you know then it all hit me and I realized what I had did and all the repercussions.
E.D: So nervous
M.G: So scared.
M.G: So scared…how was I going to tell my parents.
E.D: Did you tell them before it aired?
M.G: Well, I was you know, I think four days before it aired and the thing about it is it gets scary because I didn’t want my parents not only, not to be embarrassed. And I didn’t know…and when I told them they were very supportive and very proud of me that I said that. That’s exactly what they said that they were very proud of me and things happen for a reason and this is why you’re talking about it, to inspire other people. They were very supportive. I may have underestimated the idea of unconditional love. So I kind of swallowed my own words.
M.G: I was really impressed by them. My whole family has really come together and it’s important. The reason I talk about it so much is because I know that there are so many people in my situation and I know that even talking about it with my family, they were not able to put a face to the disease and now they can. We can help them educate themselves and my voice is going to carry onto someone else so it’s all about really just educating.
E.D: Who says good things cant come out of reality TV?!
M.G: (Laughing) Right!? Exactly! I totally feel that way.
E.D: Well, maybe you will have a chance again!
M.G: I guess well you know I will say yes there is Project Runway All-Stars coming out.
E.D: I know, I know… You can’t hardly say anything.
M.G: I can’t say anything about it . But it’s um, it’s going to be a good season and its going to be very interesting.
E.D: Can you tell us when it begins airing?
M.G: Um it’s going to air in 2011 closer to the end of the year.
E.D: Oh, so right after the other one.
E.D: Ok (laugh) And…Can you tell me who wins?
M.G: Oh yeah riiiiiight! I wish I could um, I will tell you that their middle initial is….T
E.D: (Laughing) Ok, I don’t believe you. So…I feel like you design for cute girls.
E.D: Yeah. Who’s a Mondo Girl?
M.G: Whaaat? (Laugh)
E.D: And seriously tell me I could be a Mondo girl.
M.G: Yeah, you could totally be a Mondo Girl I think.
M.G: A Mondo girl is just someone who has a lot of confidence and wears the clothes not let them wear her. I mean it’s so loud, such a loud voice, you really have to be about to carry. But I think a lot of my clothes they can be translated in different ways kind of like maybe you don’t like the whole look together, so there are a lot of separates you can wear one thing at a time.
E.D: I love that you do a lot of separates.
M.G: This whole thing about there being a breather and that like at the end of the last season, we need a breather, well like look at it, this is a show this is the show. And if you like separate everything and like just want to wear it with a black turtleneck or black leggings, or whatever it is, its not going to be the whole effing circus.
E.D: Right! I think how you styled things, absolutely changes things! If I had this (flower print dress) with black tights and black pumps it’s very different than having it with my cheetah wedges. Its whatever you want it to be.
M.G: Yeah and I think, the Mondo Girl is somebody that wants to take a risk, like this whole season is the unexpected. I think that’s what you want to do with your wardrobe.
M.G: You know like go out of your comfort zone! Do something that you have always wanted to try but were always kind of like weirded out by kinda, but do it!
E.D: Like jumpsuits?
M.G: Yeah, do it.
E.D: I can’t wear jumpsuits. I want to.
M.G: Do it.
E.D: I think I need to.
M.G: You should, because its really funny I am thinking about clothes that people react to, that they either make you feel good….Or they make you feel sh**ty. And I always dress in the morning for the day, whatever you want to feel like it really resets the tone.
E.D: Today I wanted to feel like an 80’s prom queen.
M.G: YEAH! Lets work it out! (laughing)_
E.D: Mmmhmmm and I do!
E.D: I like it…What about a MONDO MAN?
M.G: Ooooh that’s funny that you called it that because that’s exactly what I was thinking about doing my men’s wear collection.
E.D: I am a fashion editor, that’s what I do.
M.G: I have a huge men’s following. I get asked that all the time. And I think it would be really really fun. Its like when I do something for myself, I sew for myself; I always make things that I like. Even for the girls, I think about what I would like being a girl. With the guys, it’s a little more out there you know, it’s not your norm but I think a lot of guys are waiting for that.
E.D: I think absolutely a lot of guys are waiting for that. All right, I know you have to eat, but I want to ask one more thing.
E.D: I saw on your twitter that you are addicted to Dance Moms.
M.G: I LOVE DANCE MOMS!!
E.D: What is wrong with these people? I keep catching it too!!
M.G: Well you know, I watch it for the kids. I really do.
E.D: They’re so cute! And I was a dancer kid!
M.G: They are very talented! My favorite is not Maddy. It’s the little sister, Maddy’s little sister the cute one.
E.D: I don’t really know their names but I just watch bits of it and see the…they are so cute. But I was thinking in the car on the way over…Mondo Dance.
M.G: Oh my gosh! (laughing)
E.D: Mondo Dance Wear!
M.G: Well not even Mondo Dance wear, I was thinking Mondo on Dancing with the stars. That would be my dream come true.
E.D: (Laughing) Say it into the mic, I will get it done.
M.G: Mondo Guerra, finalist of Project Runway Season 8 on Dancing With the Stars. That would be my dream come true. I will tell you this when I was 6 years old I wanted to be a tap dancer after watching some. I would ask my parents and they would be like no boys don’t dance. Like that’s what they basically said, so I didn’t dance and that has always been my dream,. And I still think that in my head, that in my fantasy world that if I was a dancer I would be really really really good.
E.D: I also think you would.
M.G: Like that is what I was born to do. (laughing)
E.D: I believe that anyone who wears bow ties…
M.G: Yeah? (Laughing)
E.D: Is a good dancer.
(Editor’s note: i do believe that.)