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Mike Ruiz as the grand marshal of San Antonio's pride parade in 2011
December 8, 1964 |
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
|Occupation||Photographer, celebrity panelist, music video director|
Mike Ruiz (born 1964) is a Canadian-born photographer, director, television personality, former model, spokesperson, creative director, and actor.
Ruiz, who is of French Canadian and Filipino-Spanish ancestry, was born in Montreal in 1964, but raised in Repentigny, Quebec, Canada. He moved to the United States at age 20 to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. After modeling for a decade he moved to Los Angeles to study acting. He appeared in the independent film Latin Boys Go to Hell, but found the work unsatisfying and undemanding. After the release of Latin Boys Go to Hell, Ruiz was asked to audition for several major studio films but he acknowledges that the required interest did not exist. "I wasn't passionate about acting and it showed‚" Ruiz was quoted as saying.
At the age of 28 Ruiz began in the field of photography. "I found a camera under my Christmas tree and within minutes, I was obsessed. I began shooting everything in sight. I taught myself the intricate mechanics of the camera but it was several years before I realized that I could actually make a living with my work‚" Ruiz was quoted as saying. Presently based in New York, Ruiz is known for his high-impact, surreal brand of celebrity and fashion photography. Ruiz is a founding partner of Miauhaus Studios, a Los Angeles photography complex with four studios.
His work has appeared in numerous American and international magazines such as Vanity Fair, Flaunt, Condé Nast Traveler, Interview, Paper, Citizen K, Dazed and Confused, Arena, Italian Elle, Spanish and Brazilian Vogue and was a contributor to Dolce & Gabbana's Hollywood book and Iman's The Beauty of Color beauty book. He photographed the album cover for Kelly Clarkson's All I Ever Wanted. He has also directed several music videos for such artists as Kelly Rowland, Kristine W, Jody Watley, Traci Lords and Shontelle. Ruiz's keen eye and astute entrepreneurial skills have landed him positions in a wide array of fields. He founded Aardvark Aartists, an agency representing photographers, retouchers, art directors and set designers. In late 2012 Ruiz launched an APP for the iPad which will be a digital interactive extension of his book, Pretty Masculine.
Menswear designer J. Cheikh sought out Ruiz to design a capsule collection for the Spring/Summer 2012 menswear collection in hopes of capitalizing on his fashion expertise and refined personal style. The collection was called "Mike Ruiz for J. Cheikh".
In fall 2012 Ruiz launched a second T-shirt line made from a 100% organic cotton/bamboo blend that will have his images printed in 4 color on panels of silk and hand stitched onto the T-shirt. Ruiz wanted to create a line that was innovative fusing his two loves fashion and photography allowing people to consume photography in the form or wearable art.
In addition to his advertising and celebrity clients, Ruiz has branched out as a director doing music video for artists such as Vanessa Williams, Kelly Rowland, Jody Watley, Traci Lords, Kristine W and Shontelle. He also made his feature film directorial debut in 2007 with Starrbooty, starring RuPaul.
Ruiz has appeared on several reality shows, including Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, America's Next Top Model, and RuPaul's Drag Race, as a celebrity photographer and guest judge. He also rounded out the panel of expert judges on the third season of Canada's Next Top Model.
Ruiz released his first book of images titled "PRETTY MASCULINE" which is an effort to deconstruct the preconceived ideas about masculinity. 100% of the profits benefited GMHC. He also shot the "Kiss and Tell" campaign, helping remove the negative stigma with discussing HIV status, for GMHC. Ruiz photographed the "Cover Girls for Change" campaign with Dionne Warwick and several other supermodels of past and present.
Among the organizations he supports are GMHC, The Trevor Project, Housing Works, It Gets Better Campaign, Live Out Loud, Project Angel Food, and GLAAD. He is on the honorary board of the "Let There Be Hope" research foundation.
In the past year[when?], Ruiz worked to create his first T-shirt line that helps raise funds and awareness for The Ali Forney Center, a homeless center for LGBTQIA youth. Ruiz partnered with Logo and Gilead to create a public service announcement airing on LOGO creating awareness for the need of HIV/AIDS testing. Ruiz is also the communications consultant on The Men's Sexual Health Project 36:00:00 for NYU School of Medicine, as well as a recurring motivational speaker at New York University, The Harvey Milk School, Art Center College of Design, Brooklyn International High School and the College of Design in Sacramento.
After adopting a rescued pitbull, Oliver, Ruiz was inspired to become an advocate the protection and adoption of abused and abandoned pitbulls working closely with Los Angeles rescue, Bullies and Buddies.
Achievements and accomplishments
Ruiz's extensive work on behalf of the LGBT community, his successful creative career, and healthy relationship has made him a role model for young LGBT people.
In 2012 he received a proclamation from the city of New York for his contribution to the arts and to the community. Ruiz was also honored at the 26th annual "Night of a Thousand Gowns" receiving the Diamond Award from the Imperial Court of New York. That same night The international Jose Julio Sarria Civil rights award was presented to Ruiz as well as being proclaimed a crowned Prince of the America's.
In 2011, Ruiz was recognized at the "A Place at the Table" gala by the Ali Forney Center for his commitment to his work with LGBTQIA homeless youth. Ruiz received The Harvey Milk award from the City Commissioner of San Diego for a lifetime Achievement in the Arts. Green Chimneys has also recognized Ruiz for his advocacy for the LGBTQIA community. Ruiz was named the grand marshal of the San Antonio, Texas Pride event. The previous year, Ruiz was the grand marshal at the Albuquerque, New Mexico Pride event.
- Rogers, Craig (May 21, 2010). "Review Fix Exclusive: Mike Ruiz Interview". Review Fix. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- "Q&A: Canada's Next Top Model Judge and Photographer Mike Ruiz". AOL. June 25, 2009. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- "Biography". Mike Ruiz. Retrieved 2014-03-27.
- "Latin Boys Go to Hell". Internet Movie Database. Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- "Mike Ruiz - photographer and director". Gmax.co.za. September 9, 2008. Archived from the original on 2011-07-19.
- "Starrbooty". Internet Movie Database. Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- Matson, Michael (October 10, 2011). "Mike Ruiz Gets Engaged, Says Goodbye to "A-List"". Gay.net. Here Media. Retrieved 2012-05-03.