If there's one good thing to come out of the pandemic, it’s that we’ve all been able to quietly look at our lives to see what is real, what is true and what essentials remain removed from all that we’ve built to protect us. For many of us, we felt what it’s like to be truly vulnerable for the first time and it’s this vulnerability that has jolted us to finally be very open about ourselves, enough to share what we find out about ourselves to others that might be in a similar journey. Because if there’s something that we’ve learned from this global crisis, it’s that we are all ultimately connected to each other and that life is about shared experiences.
This much is true for Mond Gutierrez, a highly celebrated personality and purveyor of good taste. He has always been ahead of the curve in terms of trends on anything and everything social—from the social scene to all social media platforms. But even he could not have predicted how his life would change in a matter of moments.
“I think the first wake-up call—because, in January and February, I was starting to hear about COVID already through the news and through friends, but I was kind of one of those people that dismissed it early on as the flu. But when it really kind of hit me that this is a real thing was when Manila started going into lockdown, and my brother’s wedding was canceled. And I flew to Manila a week before the wedding for the wedding and then it got canceled. So, that was when I was like, ‘Totoo na ‘to.’ Like, this is really happening. And in the beginning, it’s so easy for us to be like, ‘Ah, wala ‘yan. Like, it’s not gonna come to the Philippines.’ ‘Di ba gan’on tayo nu’ng umpisa? Like until they labeled it a ‘pandemic,’ they told us what to do, then it started becoming more of a reality. And then that’s when I really just like, ‘Okay, this is really happening. We’re in it for the long run,’” Mond recalls.
And for someone who’s constantly surrounded by people and whose job is bringing people together in events, parties and launches, this signaled a complete halt and radical change in Mond’s lifestyle.
“A lot of my work has to do with bringing people together, being in a confined space with a lot of people, enjoying each other’s company, hugging, drinking together, socializing together. So, a lot of my work got affected and my businesses as well. So it wasn’t easy. I have to say that up until maybe around June of 2020, I was, like, in a dark place,” Mond confesses.
“There were a lot of questions in my head, a lot of unanswered things. Like, how long is this gonna last for, is my career over, are my businesses gonna end? You question a lot of things and you don’t know how to move forward and you don’t know how to move past that. So, everyday, you are worrying about something; not only about your health, but your family’s health. My parents are both senior citizens, and I have friends and family that could easily get affected by the virus. So, not only are you worried about your personal health, you’re also worried about your family’s health and also your future; your livelihood. There were a lot of things that you question. And I know that I’m not alone in saying this, but you kinda have to get yourself out of that rut and get yourself out of that mental state,” Mond explains.
Thankfully, in the times that he’s faced uncertainty in his life, and in the moments he feels out of control, Mond has always had something to turn to.
“But coming from a dark place before and getting myself out of it, it was easy for me to kind of wake myself up and snap out of it? So, around July of 2020, I kind of got myself out of that dark hole and started focusing on fitness again, started focusing on my well-being, and I think if anything, the pandemic really taught me that life is really short and you really have to just live your life each day to the fullest.”
Fitness is one thing Mond can always turn to because he knows it is the one thing he can control.
“I started doing home workouts, I started Zoom-ing with my trainer, and started focusing on that side of my life again, which was highly beneficial and I was able to reach new fitness goals that I didn’t even reach pre-pandemic. So, the pandemic actually put me in the best shape of my life.”
And this is how Mond took back control.
Of course Mond has been an inspiration, a fitspiration, to many who have struggled with their weight since he made a life decision and drastically dropped all the excess pounds and debuted a leaner, meaner body back in 2017.
He shocked everyone by showing them what he could do once he puts his mind to it.
“That’s when I made a commitment to myself like, ‘You’re gonna be the best version of yourself in every aspect,’ and that’s when I really worked towards my fitness. A lot of it had to do with fitness because that was the only thing I could really control, which was my body. What you put in your body, what you do with your body, that was a lot of the things that—you have no control of anything else except for your body,” Mond explains.
But behind his successful transformation was a secret motivation he kept for many years until today.
“I wasn’t so comfortable with my sexuality growing up. I think a lot of people know that. I think it’s an open secret and I think it’s the first time that I’ll be speaking about it today just for it to be on record.”
Mond, for the first time, finally opens up.
“I feel like I’ve never felt more happy and content with my life, and I feel like I wanna share that with people, and I think what the pandemic has really taught me is to live your life because life is short. And that’s what I’ve been doing here in California and what I plan to do for the rest of my life. I’m here to formally say that I am a proud member of the LGBTQ community. And it feels great saying that publicly because I am,” Mond proudly says.
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