I first met Diana when I sat across from her in class. As usual in the first semi-awkward days of the new semester, I scanned the room wondering how the dynamic between everyone would change in just a few weeks. That, and also, how I was craving an iced coffee. My first impression of Diana was that of a brunette Kristin Cavallari with the edgy, yet laid back style of Nicole Richie. But, all pop culture references aside, I soon came to realize that although she may at times come off standoffish, she is an intellectual with a soft, caring heart and a spontaneous sense of humor. She is also the first girl I know that has described a video game as “beautiful.”
For our interview, we decided to walk through the Wynwood Arts District. The setting was fitting considering her love for any form of art and the fact that she was the first to take me to the area that would soon became one of my favorite locations in Miami. After some street art, a cup of Panther Coffee, and a stop at Wood Tavern, here is the product of my shoot/interview and a glimpse into the colorful mind of Diana Ruiz.
Name: Diana Ruiz
School/Major: University of Miami/ Business of Motion Pictures
The key to happiness is: Finding the positive side in any situation
My kryptonite is: Donuts...but really.
In three words, I would describe myself: Curious, outgoing, goofy
I dream of: Traveling the world
Success to me means: Achieving my personal goals and being happy even when things get difficult
Define curiosity: Curiosity is the desire to learn new things, even if it’s something undesirable or uncomfortable
To be brilliant is to be: Capable of making a difference in other people’s lives
Style is: Individuality expressed in one’s tastes and actions
Where do you think fear comes from? How does it affect you? How do you deal with it?
Fear is a very personal emotion. People aren’t born fearing anything. The emotion is established and defined through unpleasant and personal experiences. Fear is vital in each person’s life, because it motivates us to act, sometime even irrationally. My fears are actually pretty silly. I’m probably most afraid of spiders. They’re the only thing in the world that can actually make me cry within seconds out of absolute irrational fear.
What do you think it means to be happy?
Beyond happy, to me, is being able to look beyond anything negative in your life. I think once people can look beyond all of the crappiness and imperfections in life, then they can truly be happy. It’s really all about positivity and optimism.
What does "awareness" mean to you? Do you think most people are living with awareness?
Awareness has a lot to do with being perceptive of what’s around you and not living life passively. Sometimes people live their life on autopilot. When you live a life that is very routine based, it’s easy to live passively and not be aware. As long as we keep our minds active and stay curious, we can live with awareness.
What are two key characteristics that a successful person embodies? What is your definition of success?
When I see successful people, I see a certain spark that drives them: a passion. I also think successful people are very grounded and focused on taking advantage of time. They don’t procrastinate if they have an idea.
Love. What do you think is the key to healthy relationships between family, friends, couples, etc?
There are different aspects involved with in maintaining healthy relationships with family compared to a significant other, obviously. I always think the common denominators are always trust and communication.
If you had one message or piece of advice to share with others, what would it be?
One approach that’s really improved my life is not regretting anything and learning from even the worst moments. I’ve learned the most in life from the times when I’ve felt the most vulnerable and uncomfortable. Basically, make every experience a learning experience.
What is your favorite quote?
“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge, you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” – Kurt Vonnegut
As someone who both studies films and truly appreciates films, how do you think films have shaped our sense of style and identity?
The era of classical Hollywood cinema showed the rise of actors and actresses as role models and that admiration for star personas carried on until today. If you look at Hollywood personas from the past, you see a distinct style or the femme fatale, America’s sweetheart, etc. The actors and actresses who played these roles embodied these personalities off camera through their style. I think the fashion industry really blew up because of the rise of star persona and Americans’ desire to emulate these star’s style.
Continuing with the reference to movies, do you think life imitates art or art imitates life? Why and how?
I think it goes both ways. There are some films that try to be true to reality and convey human experiences and emotions. Then sometimes you get movies that really affect people without them even knowing. It’s funny when you see movies like Project X, which is absolutely ridiculous, and then you go to a party the weekend after and people are trying to mimic that party. It’s pretty silly/awesome seeing that because it shows how much of an impact films have on people, even subconsciously.