Stepping out with Lance Bass: Our exclusive interview

Right photo credit: FilmMagic/Jason Carveris
Left photo credit: Getty Images

2006 was an extraordinary year in gay visibility with Lance Bass, T.R. Knight, and Neil Patrick Harris all coming out within six months of each other. The ensuing two years has seen Harris’ profile and success grow beyond all expectations with a hit show on CBS, two Emmy nominations, and fingers in so many pies that it often seems he has more than two hands.

Meanwhile, T.R. Knight also landed an Emmy nod, received a large pay raise on his hit show, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, and found love with boyfriend Mark Cornelsen.

Bass, on the other hand, didn’t initially seem to thrive quite as much. His relationship with Reichen Lehmkuhl floundered in the harsh glare of the media spotlight, a sitcom with fellow ‘N Sync member Joey Fatone didn’t come to pass and Bass seemed to draw more than his fair share of the gay community’s ire.

But all of that might now be past Bass. He’s currently doing well on Dancing with the Stars as that show’s first out gay contestant and earlier this year Bass showed he wasn’t above poking fun at himself when he appeared on Bravo’s A-List Awards Show with friend Kathy Griffin.

Lance Bass and Kathy Griffin
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Noel Vazquez 

Bass has become an active spokesperson for the community working with several groups including the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) which honored him at their RESPECT Awards last Friday night. He is also using his name and time to help efforts to defeat California’s anti-gay Proposition 8 which would take away the right of gays and lesbians to marry in California. recently caught up with the busy entertainer to discuss his dancing, his thoughts on Perez Hilton the man who helped publicly out him and what it’s like to try and date when you’re Lance Bass. What’s going on over at Dancing with the Stars? Is one of the other contestants trying to knock off the competition?
Lance Bass:
I don’t know what’s happening. I think our stage is cursed for the amount of injuries we’re having. I don’t know. Hopefully the last person has been injured, so the next few weeks we’ll all be safe.

AE: I’m starting to suspect Cloris Leachman . . .

[Laughs] Trying to off us, one by one.

AE: Congrats on surviving so far. What’s been the biggest surprise about being on the show?

There really are no big surprises. I kind of knew what I was getting myself into. I knew the crazy hours we were going to have, the rehearsals. I was expecting to have a lot of new friends and really make it seem like a family. And everyone is very family-oriented.

AE: How are you feeling about your chances at this point?

I think the chances are really hard to say right now because everyone’s doing such a great job. We’re definitely in a fight for that trophy, but there are a lot of good people on the show.

AE: Is head judge Len Goodman being too hard on you and your partner Lacey Schwimmer?

I think he’s being really hard, actually. I’m a huge fan of the show so I can step back and look at more material and the way the judges have judged before and yeah, I’ve seen that he’s been really hard on us. I don’t know if that means that he sees the potential in us and wants us to kick it up a notch? I was really surprised at a lot of the low scores.

AE: Who picked the song “I Kissed A Girl”? It was a pretty inspired choice.

That was definitely on our list of songs that we gave them, but in the end the producers choose what song we perform. We like to entertain.

AE: The show has had a few fun "nods" to the fact you are gay. Can we expect to see anything else?
Nothing is planned, that’s for sure. I think all the little pokes at everyone on the show come as just a natural fun thing that are usually just added in there last minute.

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