It finally happened. “Project Runway” had been teasing a huge moment the entire season, and it finally came on Thursday night’s (Sept. 30) episode.
“It gets really good,” judge Nina Garcia had told Zap2it in an earlier interivew. “It’s very soon. It’s just a very emotional moment in the show, and it’s the first time that something like this has happened. It’s a very powerful and a very admirable moment.”
Spoilers. Are you positive you’ve seen the episode?
Initially we had thought that the big event would be related to a cheating scandal (as the promos would have us believe no doubt) or perhaps a huge sacrifice, like Valerie giving up her spot for Ivy. She even said something to that effect, but in the end, Valerie got the stilettoed boot only a week later.
Nope, the big moment was all about Mondo Guerrra. We’d been loving him more and more over the past few episodes. Not only are his designs madcap genius, but he dresses just as frivolously and has a sweet disposition. He’s the first one who sided with the maligned Michael C. after all.
So Thursday’s episode was about creating your own textile using images or symbols that had some deep meaning to you. Mondo had created this bright, repeated graphic — a black plus sign surrounded by yellow and violet. (Download his pattern to your desktop.) He then designed form-fitting pants out of them and topped it with a black and white graphic print, mixing prints in the way he does so well.
Throughout the challenge, he had refrained from telling the others what the print symbolized, but on the runway, upon receiving praise for his design and hearing Garcia say, “I really wish I knew what the story was,” Mondo finally revealed that he’d been HIV-positive for the past 10 years. It’s a secret he’d kept even from his own mother, who had urged him to keep his homosexuality a secret from his dad.
It was an incredibly emotional moment of catharsis for Mondo, but it was apparent that nobody hearing his confession was unaffected.
Somehow the timing worked out well on the show but also in the way it aired. With the rise of gay youths committing suicide (prompting celebs to act) and GLAAD releasing its annual report of gay characters on network TV and on cable, some awareness is there, but information is not.
Mondo’s revelation on TV means that now everybody, including his family knows, which could make him a pariah. We hope his bravery pays off with increased tolerance and understanding about the subject of HIV, which is one of the reasons why celebrities like Annie Lennox wear their “HIV Positive” shirts.
Watch Mondo’s video blog about the episode:
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Photo credit: Lifetime