EVERETT —Lisa Delcampo is getting more attention than her famous boy-band boss.
What’s up with that?
The 42-year-old from Everett, a longtime personal assistant to NSYNC’s Lance Bass, is a breakout star on season 2 of the Netflix series “The Circle.” The reality game show uses a closed social media platform through which contestants can play as themselves or take on another identity. It’s like a mash of “Big Brother,” “Catfish” and “To Tell the Truth.”
Delcampo poses as Bass. Players interact only through virtual text chats and don’t see each other in person during two weeks in captivity with the cameras rolling. Nobody knows who’s who, except the viewers.
The series, a Top 10 show on Netflix, has drama, deceit and tons of emojis as players rate each other to stay in the running for a $100,000 prize. The least popular gets the boot each show. Players backstab, hashtag, flirt and scheme to stay in the in-crowd. It’s #MiddleSchool all over again.
Eight episodes of season 2 have aired since April 14. Another four will drop Wednesday. The finale is May 5.
It hasn’t been revealed how our Everett gal does, but so far she survived some near-fatal twists and impressed reviewers. She was featured in People.
The show was taped last October. Over the weekend, Delcampo was herself, having fun as “Aunt Lisa” and hanging with friends in Everett on a visit from her home in Los Angeles.
She was in town to meet sister Lori’s new puppy, giggle with her niece, Charlotte, 4, take her 13-year-old nephew, Riley, to the Snohomish driving range, and see her mom, Marilyn (Bach) and dad, Luis. She also did a video for Everett High School classmate Bobby Thompson, now the school’s boys basketball coach.
“I love Everett. I am the biggest Everett fan,” Delcampo said. “My mom was born and raised here. I come every six to eight weeks. Someday I want to move back here.”
Her “Circle” profile picture is of Bass and his two little dogs, Chip and Dale, with a bio sentence about “Lance” and his boy band.
Other contestants on the catfish spectrum: A 58-year-old erotic fiction writer pretending to be his 20-something friend “River.” A young mom playing a fictionalized version of her husband, “Trevor.” A 6-foot-6 male astrophysics student posing as “Emily,” a petite sorority blonde.
About half stuck to their real identities. Example: A hunky 22-year-old virgin dude, “Mitchell,” plays himself. Shirtless, often doing push-ups.
Watch a few shows and you’ll be on a first-name basis, rooting for your fave.
“The Circle” originated in the United Kingdom and led to versions in the U.S., Brazil and France.
No electronics or contact with the outside world is allowed.
Apartments are decorated like Instagram selfie rooms, with pink coffee tables, psychedelic walls, pop art and sofas in blue velvet and orange pleather.
Delcampo debuts in the third episode wearing a $2,000 Chanel resin candy necklace. We see her grapple over a jigsaw puzzle, romp around in sweats, snuggle up with an ice cream bar and a book. She is auntie-like — effervescent, always nice, never catty. She comes across as the most authentic player, especially amid the mainly millennial, somewhat narcissistic set.
Bass nicknamed her “Giggles.” She has been his personal assistant for 15 years.
“Giggles, we miss you so much,” Bass says in a video cameo. “You said you never wanted to be a celebrity, but look at you now. I guess that means I’ll have to be your assistant when you get back.”
Delcampo met Bass when she was a publicist in Las Vegas after graduating from Central Washington University in 2001.
“I was an NSYNC fan and a boy band fan in general. We hit it off,” Delcampo said. “Six months later he called asking me to be his assistant.”
Since “The Circle” aired, she said, she gets asked more questions about her Chanel necklace than how she got the gig to be Bass’ assistant.
“It’s a candy necklace like you had when you were a kid, only more expensive and not edible,” Delcampo said. “My friend, Marni, had it and she said, ‘You need to have this. It will be your good luck charm.’”
Delcampo said she was hooked on “The Circle” after seeing season 1. Winner of the $100,000 in the first season was Joey Sasso, 25, a New York actor who played the game as himself and now has a line of “Broey Joey” hoodies.
“I never thought I’d actually make it. So many people try out,” she said.
Feigning the identity of a pop star seemed more appealing than that of an auntie from Everett.
“I know Lance Bass better than Lance Bass knows Lance Bass,” Delcampo said.
Still, pretending to be Bass was challenging.
Others were skeptical why a rich celeb would sequester himself for two weeks on a game show for a shot at a mere $100,000.
Delcampo’s response — that the money would be used for starting an NSYNC tour — drew even more skepticism.
“I forgot to put a laughing emoji like that was a joke,” she said. “That is my least favorite line. I hadn’t been in the flat for that long. I didn’t fully prepare.”
Over the weekend, Bass, 41, told Us Weekly that he gave Delcampo permission to say anything she wanted, but that they had a plan.
“She did the exact opposite of what I told her!” Bass said. “I’m excited to see how she recovers from this really bad gameplay.”
Don’t we all. Though it wasn’t really bad, and he meant it in an endearing way.
Tune in Wednesday.