Getting Personal: Mike Ruiz

The celebrity photographer talks about his brand new app Pretty Masculine and his gender-inverting photography.
January 25, 2013

(Mike Ruiz)

You’ve probably seen the work of photographer Mike Ruiz. Ever since his appearances on reality shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race, My Life on the D-List or The A-List: New York, his hyper-stylized portraits of celebrities like Brooke Shields and Lance Bass have gone viral. And with events like his birthday blowout last month at XL Nightclub (featuring a performance by none other than Carmen Electra) there’s a good chance you’ve seen the social photographer himself around town at some point as well.
For Ruiz’s newest venture, he’s taking many of the themes he’s explored in the past, like fantasy and gender, and presenting them in a new format: a mobile app. Pretty Masculine, based on his photography book of the same name, gives the noted photographer's work a 21st century twist.

Choose one:

Favorite Fake Photog: Julia Roberts in Closer, Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window, Clint Eastwood in Bridges of Madison County, Faye Dunaway in Eyes of Laura Mars

Short answer:

What photographers do you admire?
Pierre et Gilles. They speak to my aesthetic. Ruven Afanador I worked with him as a model and I admire his business savvy/ethic.

How is the Pretty Masculine app different from the book?
The most obvious difference, is how the project has evolved to include women. When comparing the two formats, the book is a finite experience. However, the app provides the end user with a dynamic experience. 

What made you want to use mobile technology for this particular project?
It wasn’t until the recent advent of improvements in technology, such as the iPad’s retna display, that technology has made it viable to showcase high-resolution photographic art. 
What’s your go-to drink? 
Kale smoothies with blueberries and ginger. 
What is the most played song on your iPod right now? 
"Halo" by Beyoncé
What trend do you wish would die?
Do you have a RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5 queen you’re rooting for?
I make an appearance as the photographer and celebrity judge in the premiere episode of Season 5. I’m keeping mum on my faves but there is one special candidate who steals the show. Stay tuned!
Do you have more plans for the Pretty Masculine project?
Pretty Masculine is an ongoing collaboration with a multitude of talent. It has taken on a life of its own and is continuing to evolve as we speak. I plan to continue shooting for Pretty Masculine well into the forseeable future.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever eaten?
I ate a Scotch Bonnet pepper on a dare and lived to tell about it!