Mondo Guerra, <i>Project Runway</i> Mondo Guerra, Project Runway

HE PLAYS Himself, aka the bow-tied and bespectacled standout from Project Runway's Season 8. "I like to mix it up," Mondo Guerra says of his playful personal style. "Things that shouldn't go together? I think, yeah, they have to go together."

WHY WE LOVE HIM In an era of contrived reality-show characters, the designer's quirkiness is refreshingly sincere. "Mondo is adorable and lovable and truly authentic to himself," says Runway's executive producer Sara Rea. "He's 100 percent him."

WHAT'S NEXT Despite his confident designs, Mondo has been withdrawn with fellow cast mates. "Sometimes when I'm feeling awkward, I emotionally turn off," he admits. But that's about to change. "He really opens up," says Rea. "You get to see his spirit more and more." For Mondo, it boiled down to an early-season change of attitude: "I made a conscious decision to stay true to myself and let people know I'm a presence. I was like, 'All right. I'm here.'"

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