GP Crush of the Week: Mando Guerra

Brave and talented, Mando is the highlight of Project Runway

Mando Guerra
Mando Guerra

If you missed last week's episode of Project Runway (fat chance, knowing our readers), then you missed one of the most powerful episodes of the show ever. Mando Guerra, the talented and adorable three-time winner, used last week's episode to tell his story of living with HIV.

Apparently Mando has been HIV-positive for years and keeping it a total secret from everyone. That all ended when the designers were asked to create a textile inspired by their own personal experiences. Mando created a popping, if overtly literal print out of gold and black plus signs, the universal sign for "positive."

No episode of Project Runway comes without a twist, and in this week's, the designers were paid surprise visits by their families. It was very cute seeing Mando with his mom, and you could clearly see him struggling to come clean.

After initially freezing up on the runway Mando finally let it out and it was a total tear-fest. Once the crying subsided, Mando was crowned the winner once again – for the third time in a row. His design was the clear standout. His style is the most distinctive and fresh, and he totally deserved the win.

It's hard to tell what would motivate a person to use television to tell the world they are HIV-positive. Of course, my eyes we're rolling as they teared up. One must wonder how much this is Guerra's doing and how much was due to coaxing from producers. But when it comes down to it, he did a very brave thing, and in these tumultuous times, HIV has taken a backseat to other issues.

It is very important that those with HIV/AIDS have positive role models, people in the public eye who are not afraid to speak up and be themselves. Let's hope someone out there finds inspiration in Mando's strength.

For his bravery, his awesome sense of design and personal fashion, and for being so damn cute, Mando Guerra is our Gay Place Crush of the Week.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Coming Out
Oh, Andy!
Oh, Andy!
Welcome, Mr. Cooper. We're happy to have you.

Kate X Messer, July 2, 2012

Can We Throw One Back?
Can We Throw One Back?
Or how I wish coming out was like fishing.

Ash Bell, Dec. 17, 2008

More by Rob Cohen
Quickie With Cazwell
Quickie With Cazwell
Queer rapper brings his sexy, subversive act to Austin

Oct. 13, 2017

A to Um... With Stephin Merritt
A to Um... With Stephin Merritt
A,E,I,O,U, and sometimes Y am I doing this?

May 6, 2015


Coming Out, Mando Guerra, Project Runway, LGBT, gay, HIV, HIV-positive, AIDSplus signs

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle