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VOICES editor Marie Adelina de la Ferriere
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Out100 | Voices

Welcome to Out100's '30 Years, 30 Voices'

Oh, Out100, you look more fabulous with age!

For 30 years, Out100 has been the heartbeat of our vibrant community, celebrating the LGBTQ+ trailblazers, changemakers, and dreamers who make our world a more inclusive and dazzling place.

As we don the birthday hats, I am thrilled to introduce you to our Out100: '30 Years, 30 Voices.' This series is not just a collection of stories, but a personal journey through the courage and resilience of our honorees, each one a shining star in our community's history.

Thirty voices, and each has a unique story to tell. From the pioneers who blazed the trail from entertainment to business to the modern-day icons, politicians, and activists reshaping what it means to be LGBTQ+ in today's world, these voices are a testament to the power of authenticity and the infinite magic that happens when we dare to be ourselves. This series celebrates our diverse community, where every voice is valued and every story is important.

In this series, you'll find interviews that pull back the curtain on the lives of our honorees, revealing the triumphs and tribulations that have shaped them since their recognition. You'll discover personal reflections that glimpse the hearts and minds of those who've made an indelible mark on our community. And, of course, savor a few inspiring quotes that challenge, provoke, and inspire us to continue pushing the boundaries of what's possible.

When we read the stories of the Out100 honorees of the past, we hear the echoes of our own struggles and triumphs. And in those echoes, we find the strength to keep pushing forward, dreaming, loving, and living—fiercely, bravely, and unapologetically.

"30 Years, 30 Voices" is not just a celebration of our past but a beacon that illuminates our future.

So, raise a toast with me as we embark on this marvelous journey together.

Welcome to Out100 Voices. Let the stories begin.

xx,

Marie-Adélina

See All 2023's Most Impactful and Influential LGBTQ+ People
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Courtesy Mike Ruiz; Mike Ruiz for PhotoBook Magazine
Angelica Ross mike ruiz dog TRIXIE MATTEL photobook cover
Courtesy Mike Ruiz; Mike Ruiz for PhotoBook Magazine
Out100 | Voices

From divas to dogs, this celebrity photographer captures so many Hollywood icons

Have you ever wondered what drives the man behind the camera? Out100 honoree Mike Ruiz shares his professional journey and personal passions.

30 Years, 30 Stories: join us in celebrating the 30th anniversary of Out100 with our Voices essays, featuring powerful personal narratives from past honorees that have shaped the LGBTQ+ community. Unlock the Out100 Vault to explore additional stories and reflect on three decades of progress and resilience. And, while you’re there, don’t forget to cast your vote for this year's Out100 Reader's Choice!


It was a Monday morning, the kind that promises a fresh week and the residual haze of the weekend.

I forgot the day's activities through the haze, including a chat with the fabulous Mike Ruiz. Thirty (okay, 45) minutes later, the face was beat, and the hair was laid.

After all, how often would I get to interview one of the world's most famous photographers?

Mike Ruiz, ever the professional, greeted me with candid humor about his ongoing struggles with Zoom—a relatable hiccup even the most polished of us have experienced. His disarming authenticity set the tone for our conversation: a deep dive into the man behind the camera and the causes that drive him.

OUT100 2010 magazine feature mike ruiz 2020 standalone cover

Back in 2010, Ruiz was among the Out100 honorees alongside Ricky Martin (Entertainer of the Year), Johnny Weir (Diva of the Year), and Rachel Maddow (Newsmaker of the Year). It was a moment that punctuated his career with a shimmering exclamation point. "Most of my goals at the time were professional," he reminisces. "I was in must-succeed mode, career-wise."

Launching his career at 28, Ruiz has photographed some of the best and brightest in music and entertainment, including Cardi B, Billy Porter, Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, and Penn Badgley, with his work featured in the likes of Vanity Fair and Elle. In addition to guest appearances on RuPaul’s Drag Race and America’s NextTop Model, directing music videos and films - including RuPaul’s Starrbooty - and more, his inclusion on the distinguished list of changemakers was an affirmation that his visibility in the community was making waves.

"I was doing so many things at the same time: Drag Race, America's Next Top Model, all of these other projects," Ruiz reflects. "They all fueled each other." Out's recognition was more than a pat on the back; it was a positive reinforcement, a nod that he was on the right track.

GALLERY: Mike Ruiz capturing Hollywood through a gay lens

rupaul drag race set mike ruizWorld of Wonder

However, not all spotlights come without shadows.

"Any form of recognition comes with some negative feedback, especially by internet trolls," he says. It was a jarring experience of encountering mean-spirited attacks amidst the positive affirmations. Yet, he quickly learned to navigate these choppy waters, developing a thicker skin and an unwavering focus on his mission.

A shift in priorities has marked his journey from a career-focused individual to a multifaceted advocate. "About 70% of the stuff I do generates no income. It's just stuff that's gratifying to me." Ruiz's voice lights up with passion when discussing his love for animal rights campaigns, highlighting a profound connection he developed with his adopted pit bull.

Adopting the dog minutes away from being euthanized was a pivotal moment. "That dog literally changed the trajectory of my life," he says. Ruiz's efforts have since mobilized hundreds, if not thousands, of his supporters to save countless lives over the years—animals and humans alike. In addition to his Hunks and Hounds, an annual calendar featuring fitness models photographed with rescue dogs, Mike has recently worked on a photo series in partnership with the Ali Forney Center, featuring individuals positively impacted by the organization.

Another promising project, "Fashion to the Rescue," is an initiative to use the fashion industry's allure to spotlight adoptable shelter dogs. Teaming up with fashion designer John Bartlett and model Guinevere van Seenus, Ruiz is creating a platform where the glitz of fashion meets the grit of animal rescue. "If I package the message in something palatable for people, I can get in through the back door and educate them," he explains, recognizing the power of approachable activism.

mike ruiz photobook magazine covers sam woolf vanessa white harvey guillenMike Ruiz for Photobook magazine

Ruiz also co-owns a digital publication,PhotoBook Magazine. This venture allows him to merge his creative passions with his commitment to ethical, inclusive, and sustainable practices. "It's a rare opportunity to create something that combines creative outlet with doing something for the greater good," he says proudly.

After his many years of working in the field with a variety of two- and four-legged subjects, I had to ask: is it easier to photograph dogs or drag queens? "Well, there are bitches in both worlds," he laughs. However, he finds common ground in both subjects' quick, spirited nature, capturing the essence of his subjects with a practiced eye and a patient heart.

Reflecting on the 30th anniversary of the Out100, Ruiz remains humbled and honored to be added to this distinguished list. "It's very gratifying to be acknowledged," he says. The recognition reaffirms that his efforts, whether in front of the camera or behind it, are valued by the community he loves.

See All 2023's Most Impactful and Influential LGBTQ+ People
Artists
Disruptors
Educators
Groundbreakers
Innovators
Storytellers

Marie-Adélina de la Ferrière

Marie-Adélina de la Ferrière is the Community Editor at equalpride, publisher of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, Plus, and Pride.com. A first-generation Haitian-American trans woman with a robust history of independent work as a communications and social media expert, she has tirelessly championed LGBTQ+ artists and performers, creating a vibrant community engagement approach that infuses each project with a dynamic and innovative perspective. Like and follow her on social: @ageofadelina.

Marie-Adélina de la Ferrière is the Community Editor at equalpride, publisher of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, Plus, and Pride.com. A first-generation Haitian-American trans woman with a robust history of independent work as a communications and social media expert, she has tirelessly championed LGBTQ+ artists and performers, creating a vibrant community engagement approach that infuses each project with a dynamic and innovative perspective. Like and follow her on social: @ageofadelina.