Mike Ruiz Gets Engaged, Says Goodbye to 'A-List'

By: Michael Matson

After two seasons as The A-List: New York’s thoughtful elder, photographer Mike Ruiz has decided to move on.

"It just ran its course for me," Ruiz told Edge on the Net about his decision to leave. "I am truly grateful to A-List for giving me the platform in the community that it has, but I feel that there isn’t anything more that I can contribute to it."

Ruiz’s departure from the show allows him to spend more time with his finance, Martin Berusch (left). The affectionate and dashing duo has been a red-carpet staple for many months, and their recent engagement seemed inevitable.

“Martin is a constant source of inspiration to me,” Ruiz said in an exclusive statement to us. “He is so consistently kind, loving and nurturing that he brings out the absolute best in me. I've never been able to picture myself growing old with anyone but for the first time in my life I can picture looking down at my old, spotty, wrinkled hand and seeing Martin's fingers intertwined with mine.” Berusch also appears in Pretty Masculine, Ruiz’s new photography book that explores masculinity from a different angle.

"I was interested in portraying masculinity out of its usual context," Ruiz explained to Edge on the Net. "I think that the younger generation of gay men don’t feel the need to overcompensate for being gay like my generation did[,] aspiring to hyper-masculinity by achieving very muscular bodies and dressing very 'butch.'"

Ruiz will keep busy promoting the book, which he’s donating 100% of the profits to Gay Men’s Health Crisis, kicking things off with a launch party at Red Bull Space in Manhattan this Wednesday. But his creative and charitable endeavors won’t get in the way of planning his upcoming nuptials, which he told us will most likely happen at the end of 2012—the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese zodiac (both Ruiz and Berusch are dragons).

“We are not traditional so there will be no rings or tuxes,” Ruiz told us. “Instead, we will have a gathering of friends and family, and in lieu of gifts will ask that they make a donation to a charity.”

It sounds like Mike Ruiz has found a better reality for himself.

Photos: Getty (top), Mike Ruiz