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Biased local viewers of Project Runway aren’t the only watchers who believe Denver’s Mondo Guerra should have won the eighth season of the reality TV contest. Chicago Now Chicanísima blogger Teresa Puente was so moved by Mondo’s performance, both personal and professional, that she’s calling for 20,000 fans to contribute $5 each, bringing in the $100,000 reward that was ultimately given to Portland designer Gretchen Jones in last night’s finale—despite the pleas of Runway judge Heidi Klum.
Throughout the season, 32-year-old Guerra spoke proudly of Denver and his Mexican-American heritage, which served him well in designing a Day of the Dead-themed final collection. His decision to publicly reveal that he had been diagnosed with HIV 10 years ago provided the emotional pinnacle of the show’s eight-year run, and it has resulted in good deeds back home, where Mondo recently held a benefit for the Colorado AIDS Project and Rainbow Alley.
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During last night’s viewing at Capitol Hill’s Beauty Bar, Mondo put his loss in perspective. “I don’t come out as a winner, but I come out stronger” (via The Denver Post). Watch outtakes and episodes from the season at Lifetime.com.