Channel 10’s recent reality TV competition I Will Survive didn’t go quite to plan – the initial prize of a spot in the Broadway production of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert was nixed when the show closed early – but it was still a life changer for series winner Mike Snell. The performer, now appearing as the studly UPS guy in Legally Blonde: The Musical, went home $250,000 richer having showcased his considerable talents to a national audience.

The exposure led to a new role for Snell as Hats Off Ambassador, spruiking the charitable benefits of the annual ACON/BGF fundraiser ahead of this year’s February 11 concert at Sydney’s Seymour Centre.

“Being an ambassador is such an honour, so I’m taking it very seriously. [Duties] started when I raised $9,500 doing a bucket drive after a performance of Legally Blonde for World AIDs Day. I’d go out after the show in my UPS delivery guy outfit and charge the ladies $5 for a squeeze of my bum,” he told the Star Observer.

Five bucks for a squeeze of those buns? Snell, you’re selling yourself short.

“You’re right. I shouldn’t have dropped below $20.”

The fundraising drive was his first role as Hats Off ambassador, and he was heartened by the general public’s willingness to dig deep for the cause.

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“I was so surprised at how much money people were giving. I thought I’d be scrounging for spare change, but people were running at me with $20 and $50 notes. It really impacted heavily on me, and made me realise how important Hats Off is in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Australia.”

On top of his ambassadorial duties, Snell will take to the stage to perform at the Hats Off to the Classics concert. I Will Survive fans will be pleased to know he’s planning a duet with series runner-up Tom Sharah.

“We’ve become best mates because of that experience, so we’ll be singing a duet of songs originally by Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand: a medley of Happy Days Are Here Again and Get Happy. I’m Barbra, I’ve decided!”

Snell and Sharah join an epic line-up for this year’s show, themed as a salute to the golden age of musical theatre: co-hosts Josh Horner and Chloe Dallimore, David Harris, Gary Scale, Fiona Sullivan, Josie Lane, Stephanie Grigg, Monique Salle and many more.

“The list goes on. So many talented people here in Australia are willing to give up their time for a good cause. Sometimes I feel like my life as a performer is quite self-indulgent, and I’ve always had the urge to help more. When I can use my profession and my craft to do that, it’s a great feeling.”

Speaking of urges, it’d be remiss of us not to ask: will Snell’s UPS guy short-shorts make an appearance at Hats Off, by any chance?

“Oh my god! I’ve never thought of that…that could be quite interesting, actually. Maybe I could get my buns out and my package out at Hats Off. You’ve got my creative juices flowing. Keep fans posted for a UPS package at Hats Off!”

INFO: Hats Off to the Classics, Seymour Centre, February 11. mardigras.org.au

Check out Mike Snell as ambassador for this year’s spectacular Hat’s Off event:

Photo: Andrew Barclay.

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