Mondo Guerra of 'Project Runway' calls 'Runway Remake' inspirational
UPI News Service, 03/14/2019
Mondo Guerra, Season 8 runner-up of Project Runway and winner of Season 1 of Project Runway All Stars, will host an extension to the series called Runway Remake, which will feature DIY tutorials on how fans can create their own interpretation of challenges featured on Project Runway.
Runway Remake will be available online, and Guerra told UPI it will make the step-by-step instruction easy to follow for viewers who are at any sewing proficiency level.
"It's more inspirational than anything," said Guerra, 40. " I think because it is accessible online that you can take it at your own pace."
He added: "So maybe you don't know how to sew, but you're going to learn. You're going to learn on your own time, and I think that's more enjoyable."
One of the episodes will feature Guerra designing for a client for whom he's never designed: his mother.
"You'll see me in the process of designing for her. I'll also say she's the most difficult client I've ever had," he said.
"I don't want to let her down, you know?"
A safe space
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Project Runway was a safe space for Guerra in a world that might have misunderstood him.
"I always felt like the outsider," Guerra said. "When I got on Project Runway, it was the first time I ever felt like the cool kid in the class. And it was just a really wonderful experience, and it just sort of felt like a safe place for me."
One of Guerra's favorite challenges on Project Runway -- and a standout moment in his time on the program -- was the "There's a Pattern Here" challenge in Season 8, in which contestants were asked to create a pattern based on a personal life story. Mondo created a now-famous pair of pants that featured plus signs to represent his HIV-positive status.
Guerra revealed the story behind his pants on the runway, a truth he had hidden for a decade, and never looked back. Since the episode aired, Guerra says he has established a stronger bond with family.
"I've opened up a new relationship with my family, not only my mom and my dad and my sister, but my extended family," he said. Because he was being able to have a conversation about HIV/AIDS, "those people in my life have become advocates themselves."
If he had not decided to tell his story, Guerra said, he wouldn't be here today.
"That part of my life was really killing me. Like defeating me in so many negative ways," he said. "I don't feel like I would be existing and living my most happy, healthy life right now."
The designer believes the cure for HIV/AIDS could be around the corner.
On March 5, news broke about an anonymous patient in London who went into remission after a cell transplant -- a hopeful sign for many, including Guerra.
"We talk about a cure in 2020, a year away, and I'm a believer in that." Guerra said. "Something's going to happen. It's going to be a reality and I think about my niece and my nephew, who are 3 and 2 years old, and I know that in their generation, HIV/AIDS is going to be a conversation; it's not going to be a disease anymore."
Drag queen designs
Guerra has designed for many prominent drag queens from RuPaul's Drag Race, including Manila Luzon, who was eliminated on All Stars 4 before she could wear Guerra's design down the runway.
"I thought she was going to win." Guerra said.
The runway look is a major factor in judging each drag queen from week to week on Drag Race, and Guerra noted how designers for the competitors aren't recognized on the program.
"I'm curious to know whether [RuPaul] inquires about, you know, the designers that are producing for these queens because there's a lot of really amazing designers," Guerra said. "I wish that designers would get a little more credit."
Guerra said audiences might be interested to see how many people are involved in creating the show.
"It would be interesting to maybe see a spinoff series of them actually being involved in the process," Guerra said.
Guerra is showcasing his latest collection at a show in Palm Springs, Calif., on March 19 with fellow former Project Runway contestants Michael Costello, Viktor Luna, Seth Aaron Henderson and Anthony Ryan.
Guerra's latest collection is inspired by cowboys and the sci-fi western vibe from Westworld after he fell in love with a print.
"I saw this print when I went shopping in New York at a fabric store and it was this cow print. It with like an orange, with black cow print," Guerra said. "I knew I wanted to do something with it. And so, that was kind of my jumping [off] point. I was very, very excited by the Wild West."
This season, Guerra is all about orange.
"For me, right now the color is orange," Guerra said. "And everything rhinestoned and sparkly."
As for what he's avoiding, Guerra doesn't seem to believe in fashion faux pas.
"I feel like if you're doing yourself, like if you're doing you, that's a good thing. There's no right or wrong. Fashion is very subjective," Guerra said. "As long as you're comfortable, feel good about how you're expressing yourself, I think you're doing a very good job."
Mondo Guerra hosts Runway Remake, which will begin streaming on Bluprint on Thursday in conjunction with the premiere of Season 17 of Project Runway on Bravo at 8 p.m.
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