Mike Ruiz | New York based Celebrity and Fashion Photographer

Mike Ruiz is a world renowned celebrity and fashion photographer, director, television personality, former model, spokesperson, creative director, and actor working with an impressive list of clients including beauty and fashion brands like L’Oreal, Schick, Dark and Lovely and Garnier along with a host of A-list celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Betty White, Katy Perry, and Nicki Minaj to name a few. His extraordinary work has been featured in Elle, Vanity Fair, L’Officiel, Paper, Flaunt, Interview, Brazilian Vogue, Prestige and many more. He’s also done music videos with Vanessa Williams, Kelly Rowland, Jody Watley, Kristine W, Shontelle and The Blonds. Perhaps it is because we are both at a similar age, but what I loved most about the interview was the overall sense I got of what Mike is now filling his cup up with every day, even after all the many successes, achievements and accolades: Gratitude. Honesty. Acceptance. Balance. Authenticity. Creativity. Vitality. Incredible!! I really hope you enjoy this wonderful interview with Mike Ruiz:

My Definition Of Success | My current definition of success is the ability to feel gratitude for what I have and what I’ve accomplished. Adopting that mindset has liberated me from the idea that my accomplishments will never be enough and has afforded me more balance in my life. In the past, my relentless pursuit of success at all cost often left me feeling isolated. 

I Am Driven By | What continues to drive me is my desire to express myself creatively and to use that voice for good somehow. For the past several years, I’ve been very passionate about animal rescue and have been using my photographic abilities to raise awareness and money for the animal who have been discarded, neglected or abused.

I think my ‘MAGIC’ comes from | My need to see the world in a very specific way. My ultimate goal with my work is to create an alternate reality where things are the way I would like to see them. I internalize all of the good, the bad and the ugly that I see and regurgitate it in a way that is palatable and, hopefully, even uplifting.

The Difference Between good And Great | The difference , in my opinion, is people who are great at what they do are willing to be fully committed, consistent and tenacious in the pursuit of their goals. Also, the willingness to be flexible and open to constantly learning is crucial to greatness. Having intense passion for what you do is also paramount to becoming great at something. 

Principles I Live By | The most important principles and values I have learned are to treat people the way I’d like to be treated: with dignity, respect and appreciation. Whether or not it has contributed to my financial success I can’t say, but I do feel like a successful  human being at the end of work day when I’ve been able to leave everyone feeling like their time with me was well spent.

Critical Skills I Develop | The most critical thing that I’ve learned is to always remain open to everything. I have learned some valuable lessons from people more than half my age and certainly from people with far more success and experience than I have. I’m the first one to tell you that I don’t know everything and I constantly welcome new information from any source that I come in contact with.

How I Use My Mind | If I look back to my early childhood, I can remember being able to clearly see my future. I didn’t know that I would end up being a photographer but I firmly believed and was able to visualize the fact that I’d work in the entertainment industry at some point.  As a young adult, when certain things that I had imagined began to manifest, I understood the path to success. I realized that I was able to visualize and experience the feelings of being a part of something that hadn’t yet happened. I think that if you have a clear vision of your future, it’s really just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other in order to get there.

Dealing With Doubt | Dealing with self doubt and fear is a lifelong battle for me. Fortunately, I’m able to differentiate between reality and irrational feelings based on the self-esteem issues that I’ve battled with most of my life. I’ve developed the ability to recognize the negative voices and I’m able to talk myself into understanding that they are not based on anything real. It’s seems like a lot of mental gymnastics but the whole process only takes a few seconds these days.

Performing At My Peak | I’m now 55 years old and what keeps my operating at the level of a 25 year old is staying fit. I eat very well, try to keep my stress low and exercise daily. Actually, fitness is my main distraction from my work.

Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | I find inspiration in almost everything. Film, TV, Art, music, the news. But what I find the most inspiring of all is travel. Experiencing life through other cultures is really what gives me the most perspective and inspiration for my work. 

Balancing High performance with Happiness and Contentment | As a young adult, I most definitely struggled with happiness. I lived in perpetual fear of failing and succeeding simultaneously. That often left me emotionally exhausted and created the need for self-destructive escapism. 

The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | My life mission is to leave an optimistic imprint on as many people as possible as to create a positive ripple effect long after I’m gone.