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After watching last night's shocking Project Runway episode, in which talented designer, Mondo Guerra, opens up to the world that he has been HIV Positive for the past ten years, we had a lot of unanswered questions. Had Mondo told his Catholic family yet? Did they learn about it last night for the first time too? How did they react? Racked reader (and informant), Jenn Gross, attended a party for Mondo in Denver and got some answers for us.
Throughout this Project Runway season, The Beauty Bar in Denver has been having weekly Mondo viewing parties, where the designer and his hometown fans watch each episode together. Last night's was a special fundraiser for the Colorado AIDS Project and the teen support center, Rainbow Alley. But few in the Denver fashion and GBLT communities had any inkling of the fact that they were about to learn that their hometown hero was HIV Positive.
Surrounded by more than fifteen family members, all attired in "Team Mondo" T-shirts, the designer and his fans watched a large-screen Mondo come out about his medical condition. Although his mother cried during the broadcast, it was obvious that this was not the first time his family was hearing the news. Despite the religious issues that have kept them apart in the past, Mondo said that his family is now being very supportive.
Fellow Project Runway contestant, Michael Costello, flew in from Florida to support Mondo at the event. He told the crowd that after this episode taped, the designers all went back to the Atlas Apartments and spent most of the night crying.
All of the designers, as well as the judges and Tim Gunn, donated items for last night's fundraising auction. These included original dresses, signed books by Heidi Klum, Tim and Nina Garcia, as well as a lunch with Mondo and Michael C, and an autographed Heidi Klum doll. The crowd was very appreciative of most of the designers and their contributions, but they did "boo" loudly, when onscreen, Heidi told Gretchen that she was safe and could leave the runway.
Mondo reiterated at the party how free he has felt since coming out about his disease, adding, "I think part of the reason this is such an epidemic is that we are afraid to talk about it."
· Ep. 10: "I've held onto this for such a long time I thought that maybe I can help somebody else in the same situation." [Racked]
· Project Runway Ep. 9: My Fair Lady, Gone With the Wind and a Drunk Little Mermaid [Racked]
· Project Runway Ep. 8: First Lady Fashion:"'It's Jackie O, Not Jackie Yo!" [Racked]