Sunday, February 19, 2012
5 Minutes with Mike Ruiz
Pretty Masculine. Photos by Mike Ruiz.
"If it isn't fun. It's not worth doing."
Mike Ruiz is a world-renowned photographer, who also happens to be a TV personality, former model, actor, spokesperson, creative director and director. With his wide array of experiences and interests, it's no wonder Mike lives by these words.
Mike was born and raised in Montreal, Canada, and at the ripe age of 20, he moved to the States with just $300 bucks in his pocket and a desire to be in the entertainment world. After working for more than a decade as a successful model, his true calling came into focus one Christmas morning, when he received a gift of a lifetime: his first camera. Wide-eyed, he took the camera out of the box, and in the blink of an adept eye, his whole life was about to change. With focused determination, Mike immediately took to his new present--taught himself the intricate mechanics of the camera and to this day, he hasn't stopped clicking away. Perhaps it's only when you might hear him say, "we got it!", that there is but the slightest of pauses to an otherwise very hectic shooting schedule. Sharing with the world the images that he captures is tantamount to poetry. Whether it's Kim Kardashian, Betty White, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry or Prince, Mike has seen and shot them all.
Q1. What was the first record that you owned that had a life changing effect on you?
MR: The B-52's released in 1979. I was obsessed and played it until the grooves were gone. I still listen to on my iPod.
B-52's Rock Lobster.
Q2. When did you first become interested in photography and what prompted you to go into it as a career?
MR: I became interested in photography when I got a camera for Christmas in 1992. It became the spicket for everything creative I had been bottling up inside of me. After about a year of photographing everything in sight, I realized that there wasn't anything else I ever wanted to do professionally so I put every ounce of my being into making a career out of it.
Q3. Can you tell me a little about your latest book "Pretty Masculine"?
MR: Pretty Masculine began with my desire to portray masculinity out of context, a sort of deconstruction of what society deems to be "Masculine" and I compiled images for a book which I released in Oct of 2011. It was a philanthropic effort as well with 100% of the profit going to GMHC.
Q4. You often featured on TV shows like "The A-List," "America's Next Top Model," and "RuPaul's Drag Race"...What's the craziest thing you've seen happen on one of those shows?
MR: The craziest things that I have been witness to have only come from me watching the final cut of the episodes on TV. The way that hundreds of hours of footage are whittled down to less than an hour of programming is astounding to me. Needles to say, it would seem that most reality show cast members are perpetually having meltdowns, panic attacks and hysterical fist fights!!!
Mike Ruiz interview on ETalk News.
Q5. Any good/outrageous celebrity stories from your career that you can share, maybe without naming names?
MR: The best story is not outrageous as it is inspiring. There have been a small handful of people who have inspired me creatively over the years and most of them were at their pinnacles in the 80's. One of which was Prince. I had the good fortune to work with him on more than one occasion and it was just spellbinding for me to be collaborating creatively with someone whom I see as a creative genius. Times like those are what make me realize how incredible fortunate I have been and how grateful I am for all of the decisions I have made for myself.