By Ross von Metzke
Originally published on Advocate.com September 11 2008 12:00 AM ET
He’s toured the world over as one fifth of the most popular boy band in recent memory, entertained a mission to space, and come out on the cover of People. He’s now poised to turn reality television on its ear when he takes to the stage this season on Dancing With the Stars. Lance Bass practically invites the question: Is there anything this guy can’t do?
Despite rumors that Lance would be stepping out with a male dance partner -- he won't -- the former boy-bander is going to be taking the more traditional approach, paired with seasoned reality show vet Lacey Schwimmer. We caught up with Lance to talk about rehearsals, how those male dance partner rumors got started, and those ’N Sync reunion rumors.
Advocate.com:So how are rehearsals going for you?Lance Bass: They’re a little nuts. My body is completely sore. But yeah, it’s going good!
Every season, one of the competitors seems to have a dance background, and out of this crop, I’d say you probably have one of the strongest. Has your background with ’N Sync proven to be an asset for you?The best thing that I have from being in ’N Sync is that I’m used to the work ethic we have to go through in order to get this accomplished. So I’m used to what it takes to pull off this type of production -- and to staying the extra hours and drilling it.
Has anything about your experience so far surprised you?Yeah -- right now I’m learning the quickstep, and that to me ... when I watch the quickstep, I think it’s the most fun and the most challenging, and it definitely is the most challenging for me so far. But I was really surprised that I picked it up quicker than I thought I would, so that made me happy, and I felt like, OK -- maybe I can do this competition.
Had you watched the show before? Were you a fan?I didn’t watch the show until Joey did it.
You were in the audience every other week, it seemed like.Yeah, I went a couple of times [laughs]. Seeing him go through it was just amazing and I saw how much fun he had and it didn’t scare me anymore after seeing him do it.
There were lots of rumors going around that you were going to dance with a male partner. Was that ever discussed, or was it just a rumor?That was just a rumor, for sure. I don’t think anyone dealing with the show ... I don’t even think that came across their minds. This competition is for a male and female partner -- that’s the way the judges judge. I don’t think it would be an even playing field if we were to do it.
Well, I don’t even think some of the dances would work.No. And who would wear the dress? Come on now [laughs].
Right: Kathy Griffin and singer Lance Bass perform on stage during Bravo's first A-list Awards
Who are you most looking forward to seeing dance?I’m actually looking forward to seeing Cloris Leachman. She’s a little spitfire. I’m interested to see what’s going to come out of her mouth during a live show. She’s awesome. I’ve met her a couple of times, but I’ve heard some great stories already.
You’ve been out a little more than two years now. What has changed most in your life since you came out publicly?Basically my whole life has changed, for the better. It’s just amazing to be the person who you really are and getting to live a proud life, not hiding anything. You become a completely different person when you’re trying to hide something that major in your life. So now I’m not lying to people, and I feel like my friendships have definitely gotten stronger -- I’m closer to my family. Overall, it’s been an amazing experience.
Were you surprised by all of the attention the gay press gave you when you came out?I was surprised by all of the press, actually. I really didn’t think it was such a big deal, but I guess a lot of people did. The good thing about it was how positive everybody was, which I love seeing because I think that will help a lot of people out there who are struggling to be who they are, seeing how positively people reacted to my situation.
When Logo did its Visible Vote push, you did a blog in which you talked about support for gay marriage. Are you involved at all with Prop. 8 [the anti-gay marriage ballot measure]here in California?I’m not really involved too much. Politics -- it’s a really hard line to walk when you’re in the public eye, because once you start you have half of the people hating you and half of the people supporting you. Yes, of course I support [gay marriage] and I’ll do anything they ask me to do for it, but it’s also something I’m not that educated about, so I’m not going to be naive enough to think I can go out there and speak about something I know nothing about.
You know I have to ask -- ’N Sync reunion? Any chance it’s going to happen?Yeah, the chances of an ’N Sync reunion are really good. The good thing is, we’re all brothers, so we all get along, which is amazing. So there will always be an opportunity for us to do music together again, and it’s something we’ll be talking about within the next year.