Mondo’s Surprise on PROJECT RUNWAY


Last night’s episode of Project Runway was probably the most emotionally resounding episode in the entire series. I was sitting there admiring Mondo’s bold textile design of plus signs on a bright fuchsia background when he revealed what it represented: his HIV-positive status. And then he said he’d been keeping that secret for over 10 years and even his mother, who visited him during the episode, didn’t know.

Wow. Talk about a personal inspiration for a design. What made it so moving for me was the print being so bold and bright (though I would’ve liked it better on a skirt instead of pants). If you didn’t know the story behind it, you might think it’s whimsical. Mondo’s refusal to be somber about his status gutted me.

During the judging, I really, really didn’t want Mondo to tell the judges his story, despite Nina Garcia’s prompting. It didn’t feel right for him to reveal his secret to the world before confiding in family. I also didn’t want him to milk the story for sympathy votes and I admired him when he held firm.

But then he did it—he disclosed the reason for the plus signs. At least he waited until after the judges already fawned over his design. And then he cried and said he felt free—who can begrudge him that? I only hope he went home and told his mother after the taping so that she didn’t have to learn about it from watching TV.

What did you think of Mondo’s revelation? Think he’ll be in the final three?



  • Reply
    October 1, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Wow. Don’t have cable so didn’t see this, but that’s incredible. I cannot imagine what kind of strength that took.

    I’ll have to hunt for the episode now. I used to love that show.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      October 2, 2010 at 3:09 pm

      It took guts for him to be that vulnerable in front of all those people. No way could I have done it.

  • Reply
    Shell Sherree
    October 2, 2010 at 1:52 am

    I think it’s on cable here, but I’ve never watched it. But what a revelation ~ and while I’m very happy for him, as it seems it’s a huge weight lifted from his heart, I do hope he managed to tell his mum before she found out with everyone else.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      October 2, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      I think you’d like the show, Shell, since it’s about design. The show’s available on DVDs!

  • Reply
    October 2, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    I saw it and I just kept screaming at the TV “NO! Tell your Mom first!” I would really be interested to hear the next conversation he had with his parents. That was freaky!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      October 2, 2010 at 3:11 pm

      I don’t need to hear the conversation he had with his parents. I just hope they took it well.

Leave a Reply