Being a HUGE Project Runway fan, when I got the chance to interview Mondo Guerra (over the phone) I was beyond ecstatic. I do have to say, that I was semi nervous since I am a big fan, but what also made this more personable was the fact that he gave us his phone number and gave each interviewer 15 minutes personal time to interview him!! Talk about being a humble, down-to-earth!! OK, enough of my gushing over Mondo, let's get on to the good stuff.
Just a little information, Mondo is currently the spokesperson for "Dining Out for Life" which is an non-profit organization that raises money for local AIDS organizations in the communities in which diners, dine. Basically, Dining Out for Life has different restaurants that donate a portion of their proceeds to Dining Out for Life on a selected day, so as patrons we can make a difference just by doing what many of us do best; eating. For us here in Chicago, the date is on April 25th (a Thursday). For a listing of participating diners, check here.
Also, Mondo has designed a T-shirt for Dining Out for Life in which the profits go to local AIDS organizations. It comes in various sizes (S-XL) and in Men's Crew Neck and Women's V-neck styles. Make sure to get your t-shirt here. FINALLY, let me get to the good stuff (I know I said it before).
Estrella Modas: What gave you the idea to join forces with Dining Out for Life?
Mondo: I have always participated in Dining out for Life for the past 7 years, I love how they support AIDS organizations and communities. Also, it is a cause dear to my heart because on the show (Project Runway), I revealed that I was HIV positive, therefore this cause is very personal to me.
EM: how did you come up with the T-Shirt idea for Dining Out for Life?
M: I was literally inspired by my kitchen (laugh). I walked into my kitchen and saw the salt and shaker and created my design based on that!!! (Let me just add, very creative, I personally never would have been inspired by that).
EM: How was being on Project Runway different than being on Project Runway All Stars?
M: OMG, it was a VERY different experience all together. Project Runway was fun, it was like being at Summer Camp with a bunch of friends. Everyone was new and wanted to be nice to each other. On the other hand, All Stars was a whole different story. At All Stars, we of course had time away from the show and many came back SUPERSTARS, and acted like it. It was WAY MORE calculated and vicious....I hated it!!! I definitely disliked the people I competed against at the very end (hint...hint).
EM: OK, changing the topic just a bit, how was it revealing to the world on TV that you are HIV positive on Project Runway?
M: I didn't plan on doing so, it just happened with that given challenge. The pattern I designed for that challenge (creating a textile design dear to you) wouldn't have made sense if I didn't reveal it. That challenge was very personal to me and it was the episode in which my mom came too.
EM: Any more Reality shows in store for you?
M: I am a reality show (laugh). I was very anxious about when I revealed on TV about my HIV positive status, I was scared about the backlash, but instead received overwhelming support. Now here is a question for you, If you were pitching to me to star in a reality show, what would it be about?
EM: It would be about you, being in the fashion world, continuing with your line and how you are living with HIV. It would be inspirational.
M: I was thinking about doing something like that. Especially in my community, coming from a traditional Mexican family, I thought I was going to be disowned in coming out and revealing that I had HIV. In the Latin community machismo is huge, what are boys suppose to do? They feel alone, afraid, ashamed and disgusted when diagnosed with HIV, I know I did.
EM: You are a role model to the Latino community, thank you for revealing on TV that inspired many to get tested.
M: Latino's who are affected by HIV have no support. They are afraid of it, ashamed of it. They should tackle it by having a conversation with their families. That is what I want to show, inspire.
EM: Inspire Mondo!! You are doing a great job with it. In fashion, do you have any plans with your line?
M: Actually yes, I am currently going to show at El Paseo Fashion Week during March 15-23 at Palm Desert California. I am going to be showing with Michael Costello and other Project Runway contestants.
EM: Tell us what your collection was like?
M: TONS of colors to blind people (laugh). Basically my line with be like if someone was hallucinating because they were drinking too much!! and my show starts with the hokey pokey song!! My collection is tasteful and YUMMY!!!
EM: Thank you Mondo for taking time with us...it was a FUN chat and can't wait to see more of you!!!!!