Lance Bass Discusses GLAAD Awards Kickoff 'A Night of Pride,' NSYNC Rumors (Exclusive)

On Feb. 8, Lance Bass hosted GLAAD and the NFL's "A Night of Pride," sponsored by Smirnoff, at the Sheraton Downtown in Phoenix, AZ. This event kicked off the 34th GLAAD Media Awards, which will take place on March 30 in Los Angeles and May 13 in New York. The evening was highlighted by a performance from Betty Who along with a panel discussion highlighting the advances in and the future of LGBTQ inclusion in professional sports, as well as the NFL's commitment to the inclusion of LGBTQ NFL players and LGBTQ NFL legends in the league.

A number of LGBTQ leaders and allies attended the event, including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Justine Lindsay, Byron Perkins, Meredith Marks, Taylor Hale, and GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. Bass spoke exclusively to about his participation in "A Night of Pride," including the increasing number of future endeavors the star has undertaken to increase LGBTQ+ visibility in the greater community. He also continued to address the pressing question — when is NSYNC coming back?

How did you come to partner with Smirnoff as host of this year's "A Night of Pride?"

Lance: Well, I've done a few events with Smirnoff in the past and just love those guys, and it's just a good marriage with us. So when they asked me to do this Night of Pride with the NFL, I jumped at the chance because I love my sports, especially football. Bringing the NFL together with the gay community is just a perfect scenario for me. So I was super excited to go up and host this event, and it was beautiful, beautiful. Awesome.

How does the event strive to recognize the advances of LGBTQ inclusion in sports?

Lance: It wasn't so long ago that LGBTQ fans and players were completely invisible in not only football but all sports, professional college, and high school. It's just something that people didn't really cater to or even talk about. But then, in recent years with the bravery of a lot of players coming out in their high schools, colleges, and professional, it's finally a subject that we have to discuss and talk about because in these sports, it's still majorly homophobic and it really kind of starts in that locker room.

And with having these players come out and being their authentic selves, it really is changing the sports. And with that, we have to have this dialogue continue. And feel the support from our schools and from our coaches and teams. Because without that, these players aren't gonna feel safe to be out in a sport like that. So we have a long way to go, but these are the steps that we have to take. And having an event like this where the NFL backs GLAAD and the gay community... you have Roger Goodell there making a speech. I mean, that means so much for our community, and we actually feel seen.

What was the most enjoyable part of the event for you?

Lance: Too many parts. I mean, the gay community loves to have a little soiree, and it was a beautiful one. You know, having Betty Who there, one of our heroes, music heroes in our community. The panels were really great. I mean, just having discussions that were just so intriguing to me. Especially hearing the out and proud players and cheerleaders. The ones that are actually doing it right now they're in the weeds changing people's minds and seeing how unafraid they are to be themselves, it's great. And that's what's changing everyone's minds. It's just being yourself. You know, you're an amazing athlete, and that comes first, and then to be gay on top of that. But you know, people have gotten used to it. And again, we're not going anywhere, and it's only gonna get bigger and bigger, so now's the time to start embracing it.

And what are your thoughts on how the NFL and its events like the Super Bowl have made efforts to improve LGBTQ inclusion and visibility, and what more do you think can be done?

Lance: I mean, there's lots more we can do for sure. But, you know, having events like this with the backing of the NFL is a statement to everyone. And, it tells the players, it tells the coaches, it tells the fans where sports are going. And we have to accept all, and it shouldn't be a big deal. I mean, it's just one little part of our lives. It's just so weird how it still offends so many people. I mean, I own a sports bar here in Los Angeles, and the amount of people that are like, wait a minute, and it's a gay sports bar, they're like, gays like sports? I'm like, yeah! Everyone just lives these stereotypes, you know? But you know, you just have to live your authentic self to really dispel a lot of these stereotypes.

And do you have any other LGBTQ events coming up after this one or anything that you can talk about?

Lance: Well, the GLAAD Awards are coming up. That will be a lot of fun and a huge night. I'll be able to host a lot of the GLAD nominees at my nightclub Heart WeHo afterward, so that's gonna be a lot of fun. And then there's a really great documentary, which I can't think of a name right now [Studio One Forever]. I just did a documentary about one of the oldest gay clubs in Los Angeles and kind of how gay nightlife started. I wasn't obviously going out in this era, but it was just really intriguing to me to see how things kind of started and where we are today as a club owner. So we're gonna be supporting that release in the next month or two. And again, having a big night over at Heart WeHo, I love being able to have a venue to be able to host events like that.

You recently said in an interview that an NSYNC reunion is possible and that you owe it to the fans. Can you reveal if there's been any movement on that front?

Lance: No. No movement at all, as usual, but no. I'd be down for it. And yes, I think the fans do deserve something out there, but there's no progress right now, but never say never, as Justin Bieber says.

And you and some of the NSYNC members have collaborated on some projects with the Backstreet Boys. Is that something that you all plan to continue doing?

Lance: Well, you know, I started a new podcast called Frosted Tips, and I had no idea how badly the fandoms needed this — to see these groups come together because no one has really seen our friendship now, back in the day. We were pitted against each other. It was a fun rivalry; it was like the NFL. You had your team, and it was fun, you know, it was fun to be pit against each other, and it made your craft even better. But now that we're older, starting families, and we've matured, we're all friends.

And it's fun to show that on the show. Like on my podcast, I have everyone from the Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block. You name it, they're there. We get to catch up and really get to know them a lot better. But you'll be seeing us collaborate a lot more in the future. We just love each other, and you know, especially when it comes to charity, there's just lots of great opportunities for a bunch of us to kind of get together and do some fun things. Some of the Backstreet Boys and us we've created this kind of BACKSYNC situation. So every pride, we like to perform as BACKSYNC, and it's a very confusing performance of NSYNC singing Backstreet and Backstreet singing NSYNC.

Do you think a Western boyband can reach the same heights that you and Backstreet Boys and One Direction have, and why? Because right now, BTS is kind of dominating everything.

Lance: They are, and it's time. There are always ebbs and flows of these groups. And I think it's time for America to be back on top, but it can't be like England versus America all the time. But then Germany came in, and now Korea, you know, South Korea is just killing it right now. So yeah. I would love to see a great American boy band happen. And I think you're gonna see that in the next couple of years.

Would you ever think about doing one of those reality shows where you would put a boy band together?

Lance: Stay tuned!