Celebrity Cruises debuted its All-Inclusive Photo Project (AIPP) earlier this year in an effort to showcase some much-needed diversity in travel imagery. The images featured the work of acclaimed photographers including Annie Leibovitz, known for her engaging portrait photography; Giles Duley, an English documentary photographer, and a triple amputee; Naima Green, a Black, queer New York-based photographer; and Jarrad Seng, an Australia-based photographer, filmmaker and creative director of Malaysian-Chinese descent. The collection itself featured models, musicians, athletes, artists, activists, refugees, and more, all change-makers in their own right from underrepresented groups, as they enjoyed the varied offerings on Celebrity’s ships and within the destinations visited.
One of the models featured in the campaign, and shot by Naima Green, was Carlos Martinez. Carlos, who prefers the pronouns he/his and identifies as bisexual, is an actor and LGBTQIA+ advocate living in Miami. We recently sat down with him to find out about his experience working on the AIPP project and to dish all things travel.
Vacationer: Hi Carlos! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us about this amazing project you took part in! Just how did you get involved with Celebrity Cruises’ All-Inclusive Photo Project?
Carlos Martinez: Well, this all took place towards the end of last year. My agent reached out to me letting me know about this campaign. So I let my partner know about it and asked if he would be interested in auditioning with me. Luckily, he was, so we just went ahead and submitted a tape and after a brief amount of time they called us back and told us they were interested in working with us. We happily jumped at the opportunity and the rest was history!
Vacationer: Did they tell you how many people were auditioning before or during the process?
Carlos: It was a little more ambiguous, intentionally. It was only when they brought us all together that I got the real gist of what was going on; the weight of the campaign and everything they were doing with respect to representation. It was a genuine surprise to meet the people we were working with, and everyone was just really awesome.
Vacationer: Why do you think this particular project is so important?
Carlos: Growing up, especially in Miami, I’d see a lot of ads for tourism and you’d see just about anything but your average everyday Hispanic person which, you know, is the dominant group in the area. So being able to represent that for others will hopefully give them the feeling that I never got. Being part of this campaign that showcases all these other groups of people… it just felt great.
Vacationer: That sounds great. Representation is SO important. So, changing gears a bit, what are some things you’d recommend to an LGBTQ+ traveler who’s never visited your hometown?
Carlos: I live in Miami, but there’s a lot of things to do in South Florida in general. I’m in Fort Lauderdale a lot. If you’ve never been, there’s a place called Wilton Manors which is a great place. I wish we had something like that in Miami. It’s just a long strip and everyone is LGBTQ+ friendly, they have the rainbow flags out everywhere. It ranges from bars to thrift shops. It’s a really loving, giving community and it shows. Whether it’s just to eat or to go out to the clubs it’s an overall good atmosphere.
Twist is also a fun place. That’s over in South Beach but I haven’t been there personally in a while, but it’s a good spot!
Vacationer: We took a look at your Instagram feed and you do a bit of travel with your partner, Joel Vazquez. What are some places you both enjoy visiting? Favorite destinations or places?
Carlos: He has a lot more traveling experience than I do and he’s actually very big on tourism. He’s my unofficial tour guide, so to speak, when we plan pretty much anything. A lot of the times, we do end up in Orlando because we both actually lived there at one point in time. We have family and friends there, so we have a reason to go every time. We usually end up at Universal Islands. He has an annual pass for SeaWorld, so we go there a lot because you get a free guest and I just tag along.
Vacationer: What are some of your favorite places to visit?
Carlos: We recently visited Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. You’d think with me being half Dominican that I’d already visited there, but I’d never been. I was very excited to go and embrace my roots and I would definitely go back. There was a bus tour that took us everywhere, so we got to see all the main spots.
We went to Philadelphia a couple of years back for my birthday and that was awesome. It was a completely different vibe. The food was great and my birthday falls right after St Patrick’s Day so naturally, we had to participate in the pub crawls! We also checked out the museums and historical landmarks. It was just really cool.
Vacationer: What places are still on your bucket list to visit?
Carlos: Number one is California, specifically LA, and I’d like to go to San Diego and San Francisco. I’d like to go and do the studio tours and go to Universal.
I have not been to Europe, but I would definitely like to go. I’d probably end up in Paris, Germany probably. Since I am relatively new to traveling, I’d like to start in some spots in the US and then make my appearance overseas.
Vacationer: Sounds good to us!
Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us, Carlos! We wish you safe and fun travels wherever you decide to go next!