When fan favorite Mondo Guerra finished in second place behind fellow contestant Gretchen Jones on season 8 of Project Runway, fans of the hit reality show posted hundreds of angry comments on Twitter – many of them threatening to boycott the show forever. Tonight, the Mexican-American designer is getting a second chance at the title, as one of the three remaining finalists on “Project Runway All Stars” (9/8c on Lifetime). Guerra spoke exclusively to The Huffington Post about the outcome of tonight’s highly anticipated season finale!
You’re in the finals on ‘Project Runway’ for a second time! How does it feel to have another shot at winning?
I think people are very used to me being very calm and collected, but this second time around – especially in last week’s episode – I showed another side to me where I can be a little prickly. I’ve gotten a lot of criticism this season about being whiny and having a 'pity party' and all of this stuff, but people don’t realize that we’re there day after day, working and working and working. After six weeks, I’m sure anybody might hit a breaking point and unfortunately – or maybe fortunately – it was caught on film and people saw how I reacted. I will say it wasn’t about me being ungrateful for the opportunity or me being disrespectful to the show or the contestants – it was just me really having to take my own space to get through the challenge.
Do you read what the show’s fans say about you online?
I really do pay attention to what people are saying because these are viewers and they’re also our potential customers as designers, so in some ways we’re already branding ourselves. People’s opinions hurt. It’s really hard to be vulnerable and be an artist and go on a show like ‘Project Runway All Stars’ and expose not only who you are – because I’m such an introvert – but also expose your process. People having these negative opinions about what you’re doing and how you react to certain situations – it really hurts my feelings. And I’m not whining and I don’t have pity for myself – I chose to go on the show and I know that.
How do you think people will react tonight when the ‘Project Runway All Stars’ winner is revealed?
I think it will be unexpected. Last year there was definitely controversy and uproar and I think tonight will be unexpected and everybody will definitely visit their Facebook and Twitter pages and speak their opinion. It’s exhilarating!
Would you say that this season of ‘Project Runway All Stars’ was more dramatic than season 8?
There were definitely some stressful points in the show for everybody – not just me. Everybody came back with their A-game and they were willing to do what they had to do to win that prize. There was some tension in the work room, there were some egos. But these challenges were the most difficult that I’ve ever seen and it was really good to see how strong each designer could be. Every runway that I saw on 'Project Runway All Stars' was like – you didn’t ever know who was going to win or who was going to be in the top or the bottom. It was amazing!
Do you regret returning to ‘Project Runway?’
No, I don’t regret anything. If I lived with regret, I wouldn’t be able to do all of the work that I do in my life – whether it’s art or the advocacy work I do for HIV.