If you have watched Ru Paul’s Drag Race — and you know you have — you are certainly familiar with Mike Ruiz, the acclaimed fashion and fitness photographer who often shoots the girls. Well, Ruiz began to notice that many of the fitness models he helped make famous were supporting candidates and policies contrary to LGBTQ liberties. Rather than try to change their minds, Ruiz banded together with seven other fitness photogs — Ulrich Oehman, Jorge Freire, Pat Lee, Abel Cruz, Eric Wainwright, Allan Spiers and Michael Downs — to mount a campaign to recruit gays to vote. And remarkably, that’s a pretty heavy task: Research shows that 1 in 5 LGBTQ folks are not registered.
The new campaign, Flex Your Vote, pairs a photographer with a model or two to grab attention and get eyes on Instagram and other social media (hey, it worked with you, didn’t it?) and encourage participation by directing them to register at Vote.org. “We need to change the direction of this country,” Ruiz says.
— Arnold Wayne Jones