After living most of his life in the spotlight, no one would fault Lance Bass if he decided to keep a few things to himself. Yet, shying away from anything, certainly a challenge, has never been his style. It’s why Lance has teamed with Amgen and Otezla® (apremilast) to lead the “Double Take” campaign, raising awareness of psoriatic arthritis, a condition Lance has struggled with privately for over a decade. “I’ve always been the type of person that was very open,” says Lance in an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife. “When I started with NSYNC, I was 16 years old, so all I’ve known is being in the public eye and sharing my life with everyone.”
“Of course, I had a huge secret of being in the closet for years. So once I was able to come out and be myself, I really held nothing back,” Lance tells HollywoodLife. “And I realized at a young age that when you have a platform, as I have, you need to use it for good.” That openness — and commitment to using his celebrity to help others — is why Lance is the face of the “Double Take” #PsADoubleTake dance challenge. Lance, who is not an Otezla patient, created the dance to spread awareness of psoriatic arthritis and where the autoimmune condition first appears.
“I just thought it was dancer injuries. I was a dancer my whole life, and I was always listening to my body, but I just did not put two and two together,” explains Lance. “I was like, ‘Oh, I’m getting old. Oh, I overexerted myself.’ But then – finally! — I talked to my doctor, and he was like, ‘wait, maybe this is psoriatic arthritis.’ And it ended up being that.”
“I was just so happy to understand what was happening because for a while there, I wasn’t able to work out,” reveals the NSYNC member. “I couldn’t do chest. I couldn’t do legs. And I just was not as healthy as I wanted to be. And now that I figured out what it was, I wasn’t afraid to work out as much. So I was able to get that strength back.” Lance — who welcomed twins with his husband, Michael Turchin, in October – said that he’s been able to get his symptoms under control.
“If I would’ve had these kids five years ago, it would’ve been a different story,” he says. ” I don’t know if I would’ve been able to feed them as well or hold them because my shoulders just felt like glass at the time.”
“As a rheumatologist, I hear Lance’s story almost every day,” says Alvin F. Wells, M.D., Ph.D., a leading medical expert and director of the Rheumatology and Immunotherapy Center in Oak Creek, WI. “Patients coming in, they’ve had this disease for a long period of time, and then they finally make their way into my office. And when you look at the numbers, roughly a million people in the US have psoriatic arthritis, and many of these people have psoriasis before they get the arthritis. And just like, Lance, they think they’re getting older, that they need to work out, that they need to eat better, or they need to sleep right and whatever. No one says, ‘hey, go see a rheumatologist.’”
“We have great treatment options,” says Dr. Wells. “That’s why I’m happy to partner with Amgen and Otezla and with Lance Bass to talk about these options for our patients and how they can get the disease under control. This is a chronic disease, and people can be depressed, but hey, good news! We’ve got some treatment options that are not as scary as what some people believe and think about.”
Lance shares that he was only in his thirties when he started to feel the effects of this condition to highlight how PsA could affect anyone. The #PsADoubleTake challenge is meant to inform those who think they’re too young and seek relief from the pain. “We made the dance very simple for everyone,” said Lance. “We want everyone to have fun with it and then get reminded to take that double take, talk to your doctor, go to PSAdoubletake.com, find out all the other signs and symptoms.”