Mike Ruiz has become one of LGBT America’s most celebrated photographers. And now Ruiz is taking it to the next level with his own smartphone app “Pretty Masculine” - designed to challenge societal norms of the masculine and feminine.
I chatted with Mike about his app, his love of photography and what is next for him as a breakout star from his work on LOGO.
Tell me a little about the app.
The “Pretty Masculine” app is a new iteration of my coffee table book, published in 2011. The app highlights the juxtaposition of femininity with masculinity. From a philosophical perspective, the project deconstructs societal norms and expectations as to what is masculine, and with that, it seeks to express my sense of the fantastical. There is a constant struggle to bring a natural balance to the work. In so doing, the art form itself begs to speak to a broader audience. That audience is everybody and anybody who appreciates the arts.
How did you come up with the idea?
After having sold out my coffee table book early last year, I realized that the Pretty Masculine story was far from complete. Initially, the project focused on
What first interested you about photography?
In my late teens I became a model but it wasn’t until I was 29 that I actually picked up a camera. I got one as a Christmas present and after that, I was hooked. It helped me find my voice.
RuPaul calls on you season after season to shoot the girls first pics. What can we expect from season 5 of RuPaul's Drag Race?
Drag Race has really grown into a successful behemoth of a show. With it, its budget has grown exponentially—making for a well-polished program. Everything is grander and glitzier and the stories are even more compelling and combustible. I feel very honored to be a part of this experience.
Lastly - You've become a breakout star on LOGO between The A List New York and your guest judge appearances on Drag Race. What's next for you?
I intend to continue shooting more content for the Pretty Masculine app, while I continue my t-shirt line, collaborate further with my Mike Ruiz for J. Cheikh capsule collection, delve further into my charitable work with The Ali Forney Center, GMHC, Green Chimneys and Bullies & Buddies (pit-bull rescue)…and let’s see, what else? Oh yes, and set a date to marry my fiancé Martin later this year (Big grin). That’s pretty much it for now.
To download your Pretty Masculine app, click the following link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id567721491?mt=8
By MATT JAMIESON - STAFF WRITER
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