celebrity

When Elliot Page was promoting Juno, he was forced to wear a dress. It 'almost killed' him.

This post deals with mental health, and could be triggering for some readers.

In 2008, 21-year-old Elliot Page was becoming the next big thing.

He had just played the lead role in Juno, a coming-of-age drama about a teenager who unexpectedly falls pregnant.

The film was a massive success, both critically and commercially, earning four Oscar nominations, including a Best Actress nod for Page's performance.

Watch the trailer for Juno here. Post continues below.


Video via Searchlight Pictures.

But it was at the height of the film's popularity that Page, who has since come out as transgender, was struggling with his identity the most.

"During awards-season time, I was closeted, dressed in heels and the whole look - I wasn’t okay, and I didn’t know how to talk about that with anyone," the 35-year-old wrote in a new article for Esquire, for which he appears on the June 2022 cover.

"I can't pinpoint a 'worst' day," Page later said. 

"But when Juno was blowing up - this sounds strange to people, and I get that people don’t understand. Oh, f*** you, you’re famous, and you have money, and you had to wear a dress, boo-hoo. I don’t not understand that reaction. 

"But that’s mixed with: I wish people would understand that that sh*t literally did almost kill me."

Wearing dresses became not only mentally, but physically painful; to the point where Page could barely function.

"I would berate myself for it," he wrote.

"I was living the life and my dreams were coming true, and all that was happening. And yet, for example, when I was shooting Inception, I could pretty much not leave whatever hotel I’d be staying in."

In December 2020, Page announced he was transgender. 

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"Hi friends, I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot. I feel so lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life," the actor wrote on Instagram.

"I feel overwhelming gratitude for the incredible people who have supported me along this journey. I can't begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self."

Five months after coming out, Page gave his first television interview, appearing on Oprah Winfrey's The Oprah Conversation. 

Speaking to the TV host, Page explained just how bad his mental health became when his manager surprised him with three dress options to pick from for the Inception Paris premiere.

"I just like, I like, I lost it," Page told Winfrey. 

"It was like a cinematic moment, you know, the kind of thing that would be in a movie. And that night, after the premiere, and at the after-party, I collapsed, and that was something that's happened frequently in my life, usually corresponding with a panic attack," he continued.

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"And yeah, I'm sure the two corollate and that whole period correlates."

In Page's June 2022 article for Esquire, the actor wrote about his childhood, career, transition and life now.

He detailed the period before transitioning - discussing just how uncomfortable life became living in the body he was born into.

"I struggled with food. Intense depression, anxiety, severe panic attacks. I couldn’t function," Page wrote.

"There were days when I’d only have one meeting, and I’d leave my house to go to the meeting and have to turn around."

Page knew living as a female wasn't in his future.

"I could not picture myself as a woman aging. Obviously," he wrote.

"I would say, verbatim: I’ve never been a girl. I’ll never be a woman."

The actor also looked back on filming Juno and its success, wishing he hadn't "squashed" just how important of a movie it was.

"People, especially teenage girls, really responded to that character, Juno. The clothing - which was just me taking a producer to used-clothing stores in Vancouver. The vibe - something that was, if not nonexistent... it was new for a film that reached the audience it reached, and with her as the title character," he wrote.

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"It related to my queerness and my transness," he added.

"I wish I could go back and experience it now. As me."

Page also examined his transition and people's mixed response to it.

"I didn’t expect [the response] to be so big," he said. 

"In terms of the actual quality of the response, it was what I expected: love and support from many people and hatred and cruelty and vitriol from so many others. 

"I came out as gay in 2014, and it’s different. Transphobia is just so, so, so extreme. The hatred and the cruelty is so much more incessant."

He wrote about one personal experience, highlighting the abuse trans people deal with on a day-to-day basis.

"This really big dude, less than an arm’s length away, was just screaming at me, 'You f*ggot! Don’t look at me! You f*ggot, f*ggot!' I couldn’t even just go, like, I’m not looking at you," Page wrote.

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"And then eventually, after him yelling, 'F*ggot! F*ggot! F*ggot!' some more. He started to walk off, and I started to cross the street. And then he just started screaming, behind me, 'I'm gonna kill you, you f**king f*ggot! I’m gonna kill you, you f**king f*ggot! I’m gonna gay-bash you!' 

"So I ran - I was alone - I ran into a convenience store, and as I was opening the door he yelled, 'This is why I need a gun!' he wrote.

But Page shared the negativity he has experienced since transitioning is outweighed by the joy he feels in living authentically. 

"I know I look different to others, but to me I’m just starting to look like myself," he wrote.

"It’s indescribable, because I’m just like, there I am. And thank God. Here I am."

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner. If you're based in Australia, 24-hour support is available through Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

Feature image: Instagram/@elliotpage

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