Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mike Ruiz: Hard-working Man

Canadian photographer/model/director, Mike Ruiz leads a charmed life. His photography work has covered Instinct, Vanity Fair, Italian Elle and Spanish Vogue. In 2007, Ruiz made his directorial debut with Starrbooty starring RuPaul. More recently he was a judge on Canada's Next Top Model. In an interview with Craig Rogers (, Ruiz reveals that "[he] did not always have such a glamorous life. It was a long struggle on his way to the top. He grew up in the rough town of Repentigny, Quebec."

Craig Rogers writes:
“I don’t want to paint a gloomy picture of it because actually molded me into who I am but it was rough. [It was a] very intolerant, blue-collar, lower-income, completely white neighborhood. I was the most ethnic person for a hundred miles,” Ruiz said.

“My mother is French Canadian and my father is Spanish,” he said. “[My father’s] great-grandmother was from Spain, but she immigrated to the Philippines. That is where my grandfather was born and raised and then he moved to the U.S., where he married an American woman. That is where my father was conceived,” Ruiz said. He is fluent in English, French, and he can “get by” in Spanish. We never spoke Spanish growing up. I know what I know from learning it in school and from being in Miami.”

Knowing that he wanted to be as creative as he could, it took a while for Ruiz to find an outlet. As a young adult, he was still trying to discover his way through life after breaking into modeling, acting and even waiting tables and doing retail work in order to get by, when he received the camera that changed his entire life.

“I originally moved from my little suburban hometown when I was 19. I moved into the big city of Montreal, where I started modeling and going whatever I could to get by,” Ruiz said. 
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