Project Runway Star Shocks Family, Fans: "I'm HIV+"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    Thursday night’s “Project Runway” took an emotional and shocking turn when a contestant revealed a decade-long secret on national television.

    Mondo Guerra, 32, had hid from many that he was diagnosed with HIV until the Bravo show’s challenge forced contestants to reflect on their past and create a textile pattern based on a personal story.

    "I've been HIV positive for 10 years," Guerra announced before the judges panel when explaining his pattern of black and yellow plus signs, which symbolized “positive.”

    The news was a big shock to his family as well as those watching. The season eight competing designer revealed in his confessional video, “I haven't disclosed this information with my mother.”

    Mama Guerra was in town for a surprise visit and he said he was afraid to open up to her because of his conservative upbringing.

    "Growing up in a religious, Catholic family, it would be an issue of morals and disrespect," said Guerra, who often uses bright, geometric designs in his clothing. "This has been so hard to keep a secret from my parents because I love them."

    As the other contestants of season eight got personal with their designs, Guerra was encouraged to share his story as well. Finally, he was put on the spot when judge Nina Garcia of Marie Claire said: “I wish I knew what your story was.”

    Guerra said, “I felt that was the time for my story to come out. Maybe it was my opportunity to share something and maybe help others.”

    The confession brought a few contestants to tears. “That’s very brave of you,” said host Heidi Klum, soon announcing him the challenge winner.

    Afterwards, Guerra said he was happy about the way he revealed his painful secret.

    "I feel better now. I feel free," the designer said.

    Selcted Reading: MyLifetime.com, Us Magazine