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Sofia Barrriera Pinto Soares
Jincey Lumpkin Out100 Voices Stories
Sofia Barrriera Pinto Soares
Out100 | Voices

This 'lesbian Hugh Hefner' is creating a safe, inclusive place to explore sex

Out100 honoree Jincey Lumpkin shares her journey to LGBTQ+ visibility, acceptance, and creating a safe space for exploration.

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!

The "lesbian Hugh Hefner." The "Oprah of sexuality."

Being named to the Out100 list was a dream come true for Jincey Lumpkin, the sex-positive writer and 2010 honoree.

"I had just launched my company, Juicy Pink Box, and it was a huge moment for me," she shares. "I remember thinking, if I could just be in Out once, I knew I made it." The recognition was also a personal triumph.

Growing up in the American South, lesbian visibility was practically nonexistent. She came out at 25, and by the time she made the list five years later, Jincey was still dealing with some internalized homophobia and a lack of community. But it was her move to New York where she gained a deeper understanding of what it means to be queer.

Lumpkin's journey to that moment was one of determination and a desire to create something meaningful. In 2007, she began writing a sex blog; a year later, she found investors to launch her sex-positive company, Juicy Pink Box, a digital destination for "all things sexy."

Being named to the Out100 validated her efforts and acknowledged a community she longed to connect with.

"It was like being exploded out of a glitter cannon," Lumpkin laughs, describing how the recognition catapulted her career and bonded her even further with the LGBTQ+ community. Professionally, being named in the Out100 put her and her company "in a new stratosphere." People began to see her as someone with something to say, and it legitimized her work in a way that opened doors.

However, visibility also came with some challenges.

Lumpkin underwent personal changes, including a divorce and remarriage, all under the public gaze. She admits that navigating the dating world as a known figure was also peculiar. But through it all, she found love again and grew personally.

The company also evolved. It was initially marketed toward lesbians, but Lumpkin realized the importance of inclusivity. As the brand prepares for its relaunch, Juicy Pink Box embraces a broader spectrum of sexual and gender identities, aiming to provide a safe space for exploration.

"I think in the intervening years, I've really listened a lot and gained a lot of understanding," she explains. This evolution is reflected in the company featuring an inclusive adult entertainment section and pages dedicated to identity exploration.

At a time when queer identity is facing challenges, Lumpkin believes in the power of media representation and visibility. "Visibility isn't just about being seen; it's about being heard and understood," she asserts. Despite the erosion of progress in recent years, she remains committed to pushing for inclusivity and maintaining the rights gained.

Reflecting on the 30th anniversary of the Out100, Lumpkin feels a deep sense of pride and gratitude. "Being part of something really important and profound, amongst really good company, feels like a hug from the community," she reflects.

The evolution of Lumpkin and Juicy Pink Box has been about creating a safe, inclusive space for people to explore and understand their identities. She continues to dream big and push boundaries, all while staying true to her mission of understanding and acceptance.

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.