“Project Runway” designer Mondo Guerra is “Living Positive By Design”!

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Mondo“Project Runway” has given us so many amazing talents; the prodigy Christian Siriano, hearthrob Jack Mackenroth, and of course, the always entertaining Suede! Mondo Guerra shows that he is ready to take his place alongside other famous “Project Runway” alum.

Mondo spoke with Entertainment Editor Cookie about his experiences on the runway in front of such luminaries as Michael Kors and Heidi Klum, his new H.I.V. educational campaign, and how it felt to come out as H.I.V. positive on national television.

 

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Mondo, so many people thought you were going to win “Project Runway”. How did it feel to be such a fan darling?

MondoYou know, it’s really an honor. I like to call my “fans” my “friends” because they are so supportive and have allowed me into their lives.To all my friends out there – you guys are the best; thank you, thank you for all your support!

Your very public announcement of your H.I.V. status was very emotional. What made you decide to make the announcement during the show?

I’ve been HIV-positive for 10 years, and going into the competition I hadn’t planned on disclosing my status. The whole show is an emotional whirlwind, and I got so wrapped up in seeing my mom and my design, that when I was up on the runway talking to Nina Garcia (a judge) and I just knew I had to, not only for me but for the whole HIV/AIDS Community. 

The outpouring of support from my family, friends and Community has really been amazing.  I feel like a new person and I hope that I’m able to inspire others who may be hiding their status because of stigma.  

What kind of public reaction have you received from fans of “Project Runway”?

My “Project Runway” friends are amazing!  They have been so supportive. Thanks guys!  I’m so happy to be able to use my voice to give back to those who have supported me and really be a role model to both HIV-positive and negative through my advocacy work.   

 Your HIV educational campaign, Living Positive By Design is your latest venture. Tell me about it…

MondoLiving Positive By Design is an HIV education campaign supported by Merck that I am very excited about. The campaign aims to encourage HIV-positive people to maintain a positive outlook on life while working with their doctor to manage the disease. As someone living with HIV today, I know that there are a lot of things to discuss with your doctor in order to manage the disease effectively, like viral load and CD4 cell counts, and considering side effects that can make staying on some treatments difficult.

On top of that, today, many of use might be dealing with a variety of health concerns beyond our HIV, so it’s important to also discuss overall health and any health concerns you have when talking about HIV treatment options, like managing cholesterol levels. My hope is that by sharing my personal story and working on this campaign, alongside fellow “Project Runway” alum Jack Mackenroth, I can also combat the stigma still associated with the disease, especially in the Hispanic community as it is disproportionately affected by this epidemic.  For more information about the campaign and where we are going to be next, check out http://www.livingpositivebydesign.com/.

What designers give you the most inspiration when you are creating your gorgeous garments?

I’m really inspired by the works of Elsa Schiaparelli, Paca Rabanne, Edith Head and also Marc Jacobs.  

Who has been your favorite celebrity to design for so far? And who is on your “wish list” to design for?

Heidi Klum (“Project Runway” host and head judge) of course!  Seeing her wear my dress on the red carpet was an out-of-this world experience for me.  …. Who’s on my wish list? That’s a good question.  My goal is to design clothes that are fun and flirty, but also attainable. 

What’s next for Mondo Guerra?

So many things!  I’ll be working on Living Positive By Design in partnership with Merck.  We just had our launch at AIDS Walk New York, and I’ll be touring the country with fellow “Project Runway” alum Jack Mackenroth, participating in different events and really getting our message out there. I’m also putting the finishing touches on my jewelry line, which should be available on my website, http://www.lovemondotrasho.com/, within a week or so, and working on my next fashion line.  My goal is to have a line out for Spring/Summer 2012.

 

Mondo“Project Runway” has given us so many amazing talents; the prodigy Christian Siriano, hearthrob Jack Mackenroth, and of course, the always entertaining Suede! Mondo Guerra shows that he is ready to take his place alongside other famous “Project Runway” alum.

Mondo spoke with Entertainment Editor Cookie about his experiences on the runway in front of such luminaries as Michael Kors and Heidi Klum, his new H.I.V. educational campaign, and how it felt to come out as H.I.V. positive on national television.