Television star, culture connoisseur, social worker—and now, #LoveTravels ambassador. As the resident culture expert on the Netflix reboot of make-over show Queer Eye, Karamo Brown works with the show’s contributors to help expand their perspective of the world and themselves.
This also happens to be a mission of Pride Month, celebrating LBGTQ communities, while opening minds and hearts for anyone who might be struggling with acceptance.
Marriott TRAVELER connected with Brown before he boarded the Marriott International #LoveTravels float at the Capital Pride Festival 2018 in Washington, D.C. to chat about how travel influences culture and why he’s so excited to celebrate Pride.
What does #LoveTravels mean to you? How does it come through in your everyday life?
This is a special time. Capital Pride is probably one of the most energetic moments. When it comes to #LoveTravels for me, not only am I member of the LGBT community and a proud gay man, I’m also a father and just recently engaged. A lot of times when my family travels we get worried about if we’ll get looks or be received with negativity.
To walk into spaces like the Marriott which is where we always travel and the hotel we always use, we’re always greeted with respect and love and kindness. Once you have that, it gives you a bit of confidence to walk into the world and spread that on to other people.
Because the love traveled to me and my family, it traveled to someone else, who I then put that positivity on, and it’s a continuum of love and peace being passed around.
When we talk about traveling the world, it's about finding people and new experiences that will help you grow as a person.
You are the culture expert on Queer Eye. Can you talk about how travel and culture interact? How does travel play into that role?
My role as culture expert is dual. It’s about helping people to understand that you should live life curiously and explore new things and experience new things each day. Within that, you should also be checking with yourself to make sure that your self-esteem and your mental health is good. A big part of that is self-love.
So, when we talk about traveling the world, it’s about finding people and new experiences that will help you grow as a person, which can only add to that self-love and that introspection you need so that you can be a better person in this world.
What is one of your favorite Pride memories?
I’ve been sneaking out going to Pride since I was 15 years old. My best memory is probably one of those very first Prides where I was still coming into myself and questioning how I let people into my life in regards to my sexuality, trying to find confidence within myself to say this is who I am and I am proud of who I am.
Seeing some of the people who came before me at the first Pride who just embraced me and showed me love and used to tell me I got this, I’m great, I’m lovable, I’m full of light, those memories always stick with you. Seeing somebody else happy and proud and out made me know that’s possible for me.
What’s your favorite place to travel and why?
I have many! Can we give three? I love Thailand! Oh my God, Thailand is just amazing, the food is great, the culture there is phenomenal, the art there, the beaches are great.
I’m in love with London—the U.K., there’s something about the energy that reminds me of a baby New York where you can still have a fast pace but also step out of it and go back to an old time. And then I love the Caribbean.
I’m from Jamaica, my parents are Jamaican. Even though Jamaica has been notorious for having homophobic views, I’m always finding communities that are embracing me and loving me. Those are my top three!