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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



Viktor Luna moonlights once again on Project Runway
by Jerry Nunn

This article shared 4134 times since Wed Jun 14, 2023
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Out and proud fashion designer Viktor Luna returns for more challenges in the upcoming season 20 of Project Runway. The Emmy Award-winning competition series has assembled 14 designers from its past, with Christian Siriano serving as mentor and three esteemed judges, Nina Garcia, Brandon Maxwell and Elaine Welteroth. Some of the celebrity guest judges scheduled include Billy Porter and Alicia Silverstone.

Luna was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and grew up in Los Angeles before relocating to New York, then moved back to LA in 2016. He had his first appearance on Project Runway beginning on season nine in 2009, then he did a Project Runway All-Star edition on Lifetime. He followed his fellow star of Project Runway, Mondo Guerra, by coming out as HIV positive on the show and later teamed up with amFar's Epic Voices campaign.

Luna is ready to return to the spotlight and catwalk in 2023. In a recent interview, he opened up about past challenges and hardships to Windy City Times readers.

Windy City Times: It is so good to talk to you again. The last time I saw you was at a Macy's event in Chicago.

Viktor Luna: I remember that. It was so much fun!

WCT: You have more facial hair now…

VL: I do and I am all grown up.

WCT: What motivated you to be on Project Runway again?

VL: I wanted to come back and show what I am doing now. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience so I wanted to take advantage of it. When they asked me to be on it, I was like, "Hell yeah!"

WCT: I asked you back in 2012 why you weren't on All-Stars then, but it was filmed at the same time as the season you were on. This must be a cool opportunity.

VL: Yes, absolutely. It is amazing to be part of this franchise and to appear again with all of the other cast members.

WCT: Was there a certain cast member that you were interested in meeting?

VL: I didn't know who would be there until I got there, but once there I was excited to see some of the original Season One cast. That is what the show started from and what intrigued me in the first place about Project Runway.

WCT: I have met your current competitor Johnathan "Kayne" Gillaspie before and he's fun.

VL: Oh my god, Kayne is such a sweetheart.

WCT: I noticed the cast members are mostly women this season.

VL: I haven't even thought about that, but now that you say it, yes, there are a lot of women on there. It is good because there are a lot of powerful women designers that deserve to be showcased. I am glad they took that opportunity to show that.

WCT: Is there anything you missed in particular about Project Runway?

VL: I love working in the scenario where I am under pressure. I get very silly and almost delusional when I start doing and making fun of things in certain situations. That is the way that I cope with doing things fast.

I missed being in a room full of other creative designers, where I can be silly myself and work.

WCT: How was the experience of having your past designs come back to haunt you?

VL: On the episode, I wasn't necessarily expecting that, but once it happened I was definitely shocked, and also dreading it. It was a past design that was a collaboration so it wasn't something I could say was a bad design of mine because it was not who I am, or who I was even then. At the same time, it was fun to try to recreate it.

WCT: This is an opportunity to show how you have evolved. How do you feel your aesthetic has grown and changed over the years?

VL: I have become more well-rounded. I have done gowns and jackets. I feel I am capable to sew anything I want.

As far as my aesthetic alone, it has evolved to be more mature. Right now I have been doing a collection with menswear and tailoring. I felt satisfaction when I finish those garments, because men's tailoring is a hard craft. For me to be able to do it makes me feel very satisfied.

WCT: I see a lot of black and white colors throughout your collections.

VL: I do a lot of black and white because it is the root of fashion.

WCT: I also saw your name spelled backward and printed on garments at an event.

VL: Yes, there was a collection for a fashion show that I wanted to spell my name backward, because I wanted to mess with people's heads. Sometimes people will read things and unconsciously know what it means already, but when it is backwards it takes a minute to realize it says Viktor Luna.

A few letters can be taken out of a book and still be read, because subconsciously the reader knows what is already meant and the information that is being told. That is where I wanted to go with that particular collection.

WCT: It is easier or tough to design for celebrities?

VL: It depends on who it is. They are just like you and me, but at the same time, some of them are picky about what they are wearing.

I don't want to say it is hard, but it is just like any other client, so it just depends on who they are and what they want. They may want to be able to move a certain way and have a special look at the same time.

WCT: How is designing for drag queens?

VL: I love it. It is a burst of collaboration and teaming up. Usually, a drag queen will come to me and want to replicate something from a past time period or a costume from a person, but want it a bit different. For me, it is very exciting to take that and run with it. It allows me to create something new and ready for the stage. It can be very graphic and at the same time make the person look and feel good. I enjoy the collaboration a lot!

WCT: Can you talk a bit about your journey with HIV?

VL: I was able to team up with amfAR and have been a spokesperson for them. It has been educational for me, and in turn, I try to educate other people and help them out. There is a lot of misinformation out, and sometimes people can be ignorant—not in a bad way, just ignorant about knowing something. I love educating people and explaining that it is not a death sentence. I tell them how to take care of it, and that they can live a happy and healthy life.

As far as my personal health, it has been very successful. I am undetectable. For people that don't know what undetectable is, it means that the person with HIV can't transmit it to anyone else, which is a stigma that people still believe in. It is all about educating people, and it makes me happy to still be in contact with amfAR.

WCT: I saw you waving a rainbow flag on the first episode. Do you have big Pride plans?

VL: Not really, but I am very full of Pride obviously. I will be turning 43 this year. To be able to live my true authentic self and be gay is a big milestone for me and others. Waving the flag is fun. We are here and going to stay. We are not going anywhere and have to get along.

WCT: I was sorry to hear about you being physically attacked in the past. Can you talk about that?

VL: A little before the pandemic [is when] that happened. I feel at that time and even now the rhetoric was very heightened, because of the leader at that time and there was so much anger on the street.

Me and my partner were walking in downtown Los Angeles because we used to live there, and a guy was very aggressive and attacked us with a machete. He cut me on my leg and he cut my partner on the hand. Luckily they caught him. We had to go to the emergency room at the hospital, and we were there a whole week for operations and surgery.

After that, I couldn't walk for six months and it was a life-changing experience. I don't take any tragedy for granted. I take it as fuel. It motivates me to do more and push the envelope. I will continue living because one day you are here and the next day you are out just like on the show!

WCT: I appreciate you sharing this so it might inspire others to be careful out there.

VL: Absolutely. I don't know it for a fact, but it could have been a hate crime, because it was right outside of a gay club and the guy was definitely straight. People have to be careful out there and do their due diligence, like take a car home or always look around their surroundings. Stay with people that will protect you, guide you and take you home.

WCT: Good advice. What are you working on next professionally?

VL: I am doing a 25-look collection. I have never done anything like this as far as looks. I am embarking on a lot of menswear tailoring. There are 15 men looks and 10 women looks, but they are all intertwined with wearability, so for gender nonbinary and nonconforming [people] it can all be switched. I will be showing it in Guadalajara, Mexico on July 18, 2023, with a live stream on my website, and also on the website .mx.

I will also be doing a collaboration video with an artist right after that, so by July people will see the collection, and by late August the collaboration will be out. I am very excited because I want this to be my comeback, and I want people to see where I am right now.

WCT: When are you coming back to Chicago?

VL: If you guys invite me then I will go anytime. I love Chicago and it is my favorite city. The restaurants, shopping and nightlife make the city beautiful!

For more on this talented designer visit and watch what happens on Project Runway Thursdays on Bravo premiering in two parts on June 15, 2023.

This article shared 4134 times since Wed Jun 14, 2023
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