Mike Ruiz modeling one of his shirts (Photo Credit: Mike Ruiz)
After working with some of the biggest celebrities in the world, celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz is turning his lens on his most important subject yet: charity! Mike worked with SocialImpak.com to create a fashion collab benefiting causes near and dear to his heart. You've seen Mike on The A-List New York. You've seen him on RuPaul's Drag Race. And now you can see yourself in one of his custom-designed shirts. We chatted up Mike about his charity collab as well as his celebrity crushes, favorite nude scene at Mr. Man, THAT Nolan Gould photoshoot, and more!
Mr. Man: We’re so excited about your collab with Social Impak! How did it come about?
Mike Ruiz: One of my closest friends, Scott Bailey, and I have been wanting to collaborate on something with a philanthropic angle for some time. When he proposed the idea of an online retailer that gave proceeds to various organizations, it was a no brainer. Also, I used to have a t-shirt line that did very well. I've been getting so many requests to relaunch it that this seemed like the perfect way to do both.
MM: How did you choose the look for the collection?
MR: I compiled the collection based on the organizations that I chose to benefit. I wanted the items to appeal to the supporters of the 2 causes I chose.
MM: Tell us a little about the charities you’re working with.
MR: The first charity I chose is the Stand Up For Pits Foundation. They are an incredible entity dedicated to saving lives and ending the abuse and discrimination of Pit Bull “type” dogs (Pibbles) through live events, funds, education, and advocacy. I included a few images of dogs that I've advocated on behalf of along with images of my beloved Oliver, who passed away in 2018. The 2nd is The Ali Forney Center, whose mission is to protect LGBTQ+ youths from the harms of homelessness and empower them with the tools needed to live independently.
Toby Richards modeling a Mike Ruiz shirt (Photo Credit: Mike Ruiz)
MM: We were huge fans of The A-List New York. Do you still keep in touch with the cast? What were your takeaways from starring on the series?
MR: I stay in touch with Rodiney and Derek. Honestly, The group of us would never have come together organically, so it's natural that we had too little in common to keep us in touch with each other.
MM: We’re equally big fans of Nolan Gould. Yes. We’re making this about us. Anything you can tell us about your epic photoshoot with him for C'est Prune magazine? The pull-up heard ‘round the world…
MR: I wish there was a salacious anecdote I could tell you about the shoot but that pull up was probably the most erotic thing that happened on set that day. Fun fact though, we did shoot at The Eagle Leather Bar in Los Angeles!
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MM: What's your favorite celeb photoshoot that you've done?
MR: I would have to say Prince was the highlight of my career. I got to experience some "once in a lifetime" stuff like having him perform some never heard material in a private concert at Paisley Park, having him bring some of us up on stage at Madison Square Garden in the middle of his concert and shouting me out. Just to have Prince defer to me for creative ideas blew my mind.
MM: What celeb do you want to photograph but haven’t gotten to yet?
MR: Greta Thunberg is someone I would love to meet and work with. It's like she was sent from another planet to save Earth. That inspires me profoundly.
MM: Who is your celebrity crush and why?
MM: What shows did you binge during quarantine?
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MM: What is your favorite nude scene of all time?
MR: Without a doubt, the sex scene in Sense8 on Netflix in which everyone is having sex with each other telepathically. It was so erotically filmed it left me sweaty and begging for more!
MM: Anything you want to say to your Mr. Man fans?
MR: Two things: I want to wish everyone a very happy Pride and I want to encourage young voters out there to please vote this November. You are the ones who are going to save us all. Vote like your lives depend on it!!!
Images Courtesy Of Mike Ruiz