On Season 8 of "Project Runway," everyone thought Mondo Guerra was a shoe in. The young designer had a flair for mixing patterns and turning traditional fashion trends on their ear. But in the end, he lost to Gretchen Jones. Diehard fans, who chose Guerra as the one who should have won with a 95 percent landslide, were disappointed.
Mondo Guerra's 'Project Runway' Win Was Almost Derailed by Pressure
So when it was announced that Guerra would be competing in "Project Runway All Stars," anticipation of his win was a slam dunk. Yet as the episodes unfolded Guerra didn't seem to be totally on top of his game, speaking frequently about the pressure he felt and how it was taking a toll on his ability to design.
In a recent conference call interview, Guerra explained the source of his anxiety, "It was really living up to the viewers and fans of 'Project Runway,' and responding to the outcome of Season 8. So I had to really get out of that headspace. It was really haunting me this season. And that's a lot of pressure… It was just a pressure cooker."
It started to look like the expectations might get the best of him. Guerra shut down when it came time for him to design his last collection along with the two other finalists, his "P.R."-BFF Michael Costello and his staunchest competitor Austin Scarlett. In an unprecedented move for the race-against-the-clock reality show, Guerra just took the day off.
Mondo Guerra Turns Stress into a 'Project Runway' Winning Theme
But as Costello quickly pointed out to Scarlett, some of Guerra's greatest work to date had emerged after he went to a dark place. His Season 8 buddy proved to be right.
Not only did his mini-meltdown help Guerra clear his head, it gave him his theme. He aptly dubbed his collection "Therapy" and went so far as to include a dress and a top that featured a Rorschach test pattern that Guerra created himself.
He talked about how great designs emerged from his dark state of mind. "I was having a really hard couple of days and really not getting inspired to do my final collection. And I did find the inspiration for all that from that headspace and used it for the 'Therapy' collection. Once I started working on that, I was really focused, and the last day that we were ready to do the final runway show, I was enjoying it. There was no looking back. There was no looking back so you have to enjoy the moment."
And it all paid off. Guerra finally took home the title and the grand prize.
Season 10 of "Project Runway" is casting now. To find out more visit their official website.
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