‘Project Runway’ Runner-Up Mondo Guerra Talks the Surprising Finale, His Health and Costco Fans

by Kim Potts, posted Nov 1st 2010 2:00PM

mondo-sewing-lifetimeMondo Guerra We feel ya … we thought Denver clothing designer Mondo Guerra had the ‘Project Runway’ season 8 championship in the bag, too.

He’d already endeared himself to viewers as the one guy who wasn’t picking on fellow designer Michael Costello for most of the season and as the one guy whose fun, colorful frocks stood amongst the sea of — literally and figuratively — beige.

But Mondo also gave the season some unexpected emotional heft when he revealed his HIV-positive status to his ‘PR’ brethren and to viewers, which included his family, who had been unaware of his health woes.

The day after the season finale, Mondo talked to AOL TV about his run on the show, his surprise at the finale outcome, his health — he’s doing well! — and about the many ways the competition changed his life for the better, despite the fact that he lost out to fellow designer Gretchen Jones after their Fashion Week showings.

Mondo, congratulations … your collection was colorful and fun. What’s the day after the finale been like?

Lots and lots of interviews, a lot of words of encouragement … just having lunch with my friends. I’m not getting with everything right now … I’m trying to stay away from Facebook and the Internet right now.

The support for you and your work, everything’s been pretty positive. I think everyone loves Mondo.

I think I approached my projects in a very positive way, with joy, happiness and conviction, and yeah, I think people responded very well to it. I think after what happened (in the finale), it could turn into a very negative thing, and I don’t want that to happen.

So you don’t have bad feelings about the finale?

I will say that I was shocked, but I’m not disappointed. I’m not disappointed because I worked so hard. I really showed myself what I’m capable of achieving, and working in circumstances that I never thought would be thrown at me. Not only that, but living on a set for six weeks, changing my lifestyle completely, taking my meds every day, getting six hours of sleep … looking back, I can’t believe I made it through at all.

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