This Positive Life: Mondo Guerra of Project Runway Talks About Living With HIV and the Power of Disclosure
October 19, 2010
So when the cameras had turned off, what did your cast mates say? Did they hug you? Did they tell you how proud they were of you, how courageous you were?
I got that all from them. They really admired my courage and they complimented me on how strong I was and how I wasn't trying to make it a huge issue -- just how I handled the whole situation. It was nice. And when we walked upstairs after taping that, the producers are always behind closed doors. You can never really see them. Some of them came out and said, "Wow, we didn't expect that. We can't believe you just did that."
And for some reason, I couldn't believe that I had just went there either, but I didn't really care. I felt so good about what happened. There was no turning back at that point. Anything that was going to be in my way next, I was ready for.
So that was kind of the precursor to you talking to your family about your status?
Yeah. The thing about it is, after I did it and after I had a couple of days to really think about it, I started psyching myself out again. Because I had to come back home knowing my disclosure was filmed and was airing, and I had to tell my parents before it aired. That was a lot of pressure and it scared me. I think the pressure of that added so much fear to the situation. I didn't actually sit down with my mom and my dad until the Monday before that episode aired, so I was really avoiding it.
Can you walk us through that moment?
My mom and my dad really supported my decision to do it. They knew that I had been sick for such a long time, so they kind of had an idea. They basically told me that it can be scary and that our family is based on unconditional love, and we'll get through it. We'll just move on.
What advice would you give to anyone who's just been diagnosed with HIV?
Don't give up. Find somebody you can trust and confide in. Don't doubt what you can accomplish because life goes on. You can conquer this, 100 percent.
Thank you so much. Everyone at TheBody.com wishes you luck at Fashion Week. We hope you win.
Will Mondo win Season 8 of Project Runway? Watch part one of the season finale this Thursday, Oct. 21, on Lifetime.
Watch Mondo's on-air disclosure below:
This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.
Kellee Terrell is the former news editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.
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