Flying high after his “Project Runway All Stars” win, Mondo Guerra took a break from what wound up being a victory party for 600 in Denver to map out his next moves. The 34-year-old will launch his own line and will continue to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.
Right after the show, he spoke first with WWD.
Were you surprised?
I don’t calculate where I am supposed to be. The turnout meant so much to me but it has made me really really nervous because everyone expects so much from me.
What will you do to celebrate?
I want to take a day off. I haven’t had one in six months. My entire family is here. It’s going to be like a Mexican wedding. You should see how I am dressed. I look like one of those monkeys with little cymbals that organ grinders have.
What’s been the greatest challenge?
Being a human. The viewers, as much as I love them, have a lot to say. Out of 30,000, two might have negative comments and that hurts my feelings.
The fashion industry is known to be a critical business. How will you toughen up?
I am a tough guy — I can handle it.
What will you do next?
I plan to stay in Denver as long as I can and do my own collection. I want it to be all about me just like [John] Galliano is all about Galliano. I was compared to him in season eight. Don’t you remember? Michael Kors said so. I know it’s a reality show but I feel I have the chops to do it.
Have you been approached by companies? Are you even allowed to speak with them before the winner is announced? Will Lifetime get a percentage of your sales?
Of course I have but not until just now. I would love to do juniors. That’s a huge market. I don’t need my clothes to be $300. I want them to be accessible.
You revealed you were HIV positive on the show. How will you use this to be more of an advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness?
I am working on a big project with Merck. You will see.
Did you have a favorite judge?
I had a boy crush on Isaac Mizrahi. And Georgina Chapman, she loved me.
Will you treat yourself to something?
Do you really want to know? It’s not going to be a bag. It’s going to be serious trade.
Many viewers think Project Runway is the fashion industry. What is the diffference?
Fashion designers are celebrities now and it’s so weird. When I was a kid, I didn’t know any fashion designers. I don’t want to be a celebrity. I’m not that person. I don’t need that.