We had the good fortune of connecting with Ravi Roth and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ravi, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Kindness. In the Queer travel space, you can have a million followers and subscribers, but if you aren’t a kind human, no one will want to work with you, take your advice, or respect you. As a Queer travel creator, I have garnered tremendous respect amongst my peers for my authentic kindness that shines through on everything I do.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a gay travel guru and Queer content creator. I started vlogging about Queer destinations because of my innate curiosity about humanity. I am fascinated by Queer culture and how vastly different it is from city to city. I am a born performer and moved to the Big Apple to star on Broadway. I had lots of success in theatre, but the down time between shows left so much in the open air. I had very little control.
I went on my first trip outside the USA at age 25 with my ex and I decided to vlog my experiences. I showed Jeremy Katz, my talent manager, my tapes and he said “Ravi this is funny! You could be a travel host.” I knew nothing about traveling, but I loved being on camera and editing these videos. I got a baller team of people to help grow Ravi Round The World, and made so many connections in the Queer travel space.
Was it easy? Absolutely not. I started off using i-Movie and had no idea how to edit. My brand was all over the place. My social media was inconsistent. My YouTube videos had no format. I learned discipline. I taught myself how to use Final Cut Pro and became a focused storyteller. What separates me from other storytellers in this industry is that I make the destination the star of the show. So many influencers put themselves in front, and yes that is important from time to time, but what makes my brand stand out is that I tell the stories of locals in their destination. I get a grasp of the essence of each city and learn what gives locals life and energy in each destination. Ravi Round The World started to get national press in 2019 getting recognized by publications Gay Cities, Metrosource and Gaytravel.com for my content creation and social media. And then the world shut down.
Coronavirus made us all stop and get still and really hone in on what we want our world to look like. During the pandemic, I booked the host of the new series Gaycation Travel Show which airs beginning May 14th and we tell the stories of 8 destinations making their comeback in a post-COVID world.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My home base is New York City. I have lived in Manhattan for the past 15 years. If my bestie came to visit I would want them to get the most amount of culture, cuisine, cocktails, and Queerness that NYC has to offer.
There are so many museums and galleries that you could spend a month in the city and still not see them all. As a Queer person, it is most important to know about our history so I would start off by taking them to the Leslie Lohman Museum of Art. The exhibitions constantly change and it gives a radical and poignant view of Queer culture through the decades. I would make sure we each had a city pass, it’s an amazing way to safely see six of NYC’s top attractions while saving 40% off the cost of individual tickets. Top of the Rock is a socially distanced way to see the Big Apple from every vantage point, and Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise is the only cruise that circles the entirety of the city. The Natural History Museum is my favorite because of my obsession with dinosaurs. The MoMa is a must see as it has the most rad modern art in the world.
To get around NYC, I would make sure to get a Citi Bike. It can be daunting at first, but it is so worth it. You get amazing exercise and get to zip around Manhattan in a jiffy. In terms of nightlife, I would take my bestie on a gay tour de france of NYC and hit up Flaming Saddles in Hells Kitchen, which is the gay coyote ugly bar, DBL in Hells Kitchen which has $4 drinks all the time, The Eagle in Chelsea to get our leather bear bar on, Phoenix in the East Village for a hipster chill vibe, Pieces in the West Village for character, Stonewall in the West Village as that is where gay rights was birthed so we must pay homage to our people, and we will absolutely trek it out to 3 Dollar Bill in East Williamsburg. 3 Dollar Bill is an avant-garde hipster Queer bar providing a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community and has a massive club and performance space for lots of girls from RuPauls Drag Race.
Let’s talk about food. NYC has every kind of cuisine you can imagine so we would have to narrow it down. I absolutely recommend Elmo and Cafeteria, both restaurants are fabulous queer brunch or dinner spots located in Chelsea. If you want a fantastic margarita and Mexican food, I will bring us to Arriba Arriba in Hell’s Kitchen. NYC is home to the finest dollar pizza so obviously we are doing that!
For adventure, I will take us jet skiing at Rockaway jet ski and make my us do an aerobics workout at Chelsea Piers which is super fun and so hard! If the weather is nice, we will lay out on the Christopher Street Pier. We will absolutely go to the clothing optional Queer beach Gunnison by Sandy Hook to get some sun and basque in our birthday suits. All of this is just one day one! (kidding) But all jokes aside NYC has so much to offer and I hope that anyone who visits gets a real insider local feel for the Big Apple!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Matt Skallerud who started the #iLoveGay network has been my mentor from the start. He has introduced me to countless people along the way and three years ago, he noticed I had many months of being stagnant. At that time, he questioned whether or not I was wanting to go full out into the Queer travel market or not. He noticed I was always with the cool kids’ table but did not have the same success as them. He taught me one of the greatest lessons in life and that was to do the actual work and create my OWN table. He opened my eyes to realize that my perspective on the Queer travel space is unique, valid, and special. I dove into the work and created a beautiful brand that I am so proud of.