Rue Kaladyte is a photojournalist and videographer. She started out in journalism, working for the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska, where the pressures of the 24 hour news cycle led her to seek longer form projects, including one that introduced her to her wife, Lael Wilcox. Following the closure of the newspaper, she began working full-time as a photojournalist capturing stories from ultra-endurance bike events. Now, she and Lael travel all over the world highlighting some of the most wild and challenging bikepacking routes.
In this conversation, Rue and Payson talk about why she prefers living in Lael’s shadow even though she is integral to her success, why she would never have chosen to leave newspaper journalism, and why they still haven’t enjoyed a real honeymoon. She shares about the opposition she and Lael have faced from the bikepacking community about documenting events, and the hurdles they have had to jump through to show footage of Lael’s achievements.
Rue also talks about a lesser known side of her story. She was born in a small village in Lithuania and moved to Chicago with her mother and sister as a child. While she returned to the country to visit family throughout her childhood, it wasn’t until college that she reconnected with Lithuania through a journalism project. In that process, she uncovered a painful story about the country that ended up hitting much closer to home than she expected. She talks to Payson about how her identity as a Lithuanian affects her work, and the trip she took with Lael to visit her father and grandfather in 2018.