Local entertainer Ryan Steele may have tickled your funny bone with his numerous comedic videos for The Ryan Steele Show. But his new role as an ambassador for AIDS Vancouver is no laughing matter and one he takes to heart.
"AIDS Vancouver is new to my life and it's my second function I've gotten to be a part of.…It's such an obviously serious thing to deal with, so I hope I can volunteer more—and forever actually."
Steele and local singer-songwriter Bif Naked were introduced as ambassadors for the non-profit, community-health organization at an open-house event on World AIDS Day (December 1).
Although Steele is an out gay man, he told the Georgia Straight that no one in his personal life has been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS.
"I'm very lucky to know that AIDS really hasn't impacted people in my life and that just speaks volumes of how far we've come and people in my age range. I'm in my mid-30s and I’m lucky that it hasn't really affected anybody that I know."
You may also recognize Steele from his recent stint as a competitor on season 2 of The Amazing Race Canada. He and his buddy and coworker Rob Goddard (a former Mr. Gay Canada) formed one of the competing teams on the reality TV show competition, and the wisecracking duo managed to place third.
"It was the most stressful and fun thing I've ever done in my whole life," Steele said of the show." I would do it again in a heartbeat, but yeah, it was not easy. For someone like me who is not very adventurous…I don't have a need to ever go out and do really risk-taking things physically—I'm just kinda like a white wine, TV kind of guy, a guy who goes to the gym, that's about it. So for me to have to be thrown into these situations where I'm rappelling down a mountain or jumping out of a plane, it was really out of my element. So overall, I'm super proud how far we got.…I really surprised myself."
Naked and Steele (how's that for a sexy combination of surnames?) posed for selfies with attendees at the event to help raise awareness for the organization.
Naked also released a World AIDS Day single, "Intellectual", from which all proceeds will go to AIDS Vancouver.
To learn more about AIDS Vancouver and their programs, services, campaigns, events, and more, visit their website.