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.
Like everything he touches, Mike is a man who brings to life the fantastical, which in turn, is inspired by his brilliant optimism. His lens has done a lot of zooming in and out, while the world keeps a keen focus on his high-impact, surreal brand of celebrity and fashion photography. He has successfully branded himself across platforms, including print and video, which expands his appeal in the industry. His clients include L'Oreal, Garnier, Jafra and AlfaParf. Mike's work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveller, Elle, Interview, Paper, Flaunt, Spanish & Brazilian Vogue, Citizen K, Vanity Fair, Verve, and other publications. He is also a regular contributor to the following magazines: YRB (USA), Rouge (Russia), Prestige (Hong Kong), Spot (Mexico).
Mike'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. Mike will also be partnering up with fashion designer J. Cheikh to create a capsule line of menswear for Spring 2012. The line will be called "Mike Ruiz for J. Cheikh"
Mike released his 1st book of images titled "PRETTY MASCULINE" which is an effort to deconstruct the preconceived ideas about masculinity. The books proceeds will benefit GMHC
Throughout it all, Mike's hard work, dedication, and passion behind the camera gives him the opportunity to bring his message of hope to the forefront of all his efforts. Mike has a true sense of social responsibility and is always intent on giving back to the community. Among the countless organizations he supports, are GMHC, The Trevor Project, Housing Works, It Gets Better Campaign, Live Out Loud, Project Angel Food, GLAAD, and he is on the honorary board of the "Let There Be Hope" research foundation.
In the past year, Mike worked to create a t-shirt line that helps raise funds and awareness for The Ali Forney Center. Mike 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.
In addition to his photography and humanitarian work, Mike Ruiz has branched out as a director and television personality. He has produced music videos for artists, such as Vanessa Williams, Kelly Rowland, Jody Watley, Kristine W., Shontelle among others. Back in 2007, Mike took on a passion project for himself when he directed one of his role models, RuPaul, in an indie film entitled, Starrbooty.
Some of his television credits include shows such as Kathy Griffin's: My Life on the D-List; America's Next top Model and RuPaul's Drag Race, where he appears 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.