Project Runway Season 8 – Episode 10 – There’s A Pattern Here
I really can’t go on and write a regular recap this week.
I was in Vegas last week, so that explains the gap in episode recaps, but this week, after watching last night’s episode, I think it’s pretty pointless to do my typical recap.
Mondo came out on top and made Project Runway history as the first designer to win three consecutive challenges.
This week, we had a rehash of a previous season’s challenge: create a textile. The “twist” this season is that the designers had to draw inspiration from a bunch of childhood photos.
Mondo designed a plus-signed pattern in solid black, rimmed with gold against a vibrant purplish-pink background.
While he declined to share the back story with Tim and April, he revealed in the video diary that the plus sign represented his HIV-positive status — something which he’s kept a secret for 10 years from his parents.
While his mother knew he was gay, she asked him not to disclose this to his father — and so, he’s kept a huge part of himself hidden from his parents…but as he admitted on camera, he couldn’t live like this forever because he was a better person than that — he refused to be a coward any longer…and that’s why he was telling the viewers — and his family — now.
I can’t even write that without tearing up a little.
I think, the older I’ve become, the easier it is for me to become totally unglued by empathy; it doesn’t take much for the tears to start welling up and spilling over.
When Tim brought in the designers’ families as “special guests” and allowed them to spend the rest of the day together, more tears started overflowing.
As Mondo and his mother spend some time together around New York, he reflects on his family’s deep Catholic faith and how difficult it would be to tell his mother aobut his HIV status.
You can see his internal struggle as he considers telling her, but ultimately, decides against it because he doesn’t want to ruin the moment.
“I just don’t want to bring her any pain,” he says.
God. Just thinking about that moment makes the tears come back anew — like crazy tears coupled with a half-crazed sob at the back of my throat.
Was it just me or did it seem like Nina and the other judges already knew what Mondo’s print symbolized but was pushing him to provide an explanation on camera because they knew it’d make for great television?
I mean, c’mon! I’m not the only blogger who’s written at length about how this episode had me bawling throughout the whole thing.
I think only a true cynic would believe that Mondo made the revelation about his previously unrevealed HIV-positive status on camera to bag a win — and I’m willing to give the judges the benefit of the doubt and opt to believe that the only reason why Nina was dying to know the story behind Mondo’s print was because that was the nature of the challenge this week.
To Mondo’s credit, he demurred and only said that the design symbolized who he is now and that it was very personal — he didn’t spell it out, but eventually did after Nina pressed, “I wish I knew what the story was.”
By then, the judges’ awe was evident.
“Thank you for sharing that with us, Mondo,” Nina tells him, while Heidi adds, “That was very brave of you.”
To which Mondo replied, “I feel better. I feel free.”
It’s really a no-brainer that Mondo takes the win for this…and if he doesn’t wind up winning the whole she-bang, I’d be very surprised.
He really has emerged from being the underdog to one of the strongest competitors.