Elliot Page Says He ‘Compromised’ His True Gender Identity To Succeed In Hollywood
Elliot Page has revealed he ‘compromised’ his true gender identity in order to succeed in Hollywood.
The Juno and Umbrella Academy star opened up about his transition in a new interview in which he revealed he ‘felt like a boy’ at the age of nine.
Now 34, Page publicly announced he was transgender towards the end of last year and has since undergone ‘life-changing’ top surgery, but he has acknowledged that in the years prior he had to ‘look a certain way’ for his film and television roles.
The actor had his hair cut short when he was nine and found that people finally began to perceive him the way he saw himself, but just a few months later he landed a role in a Canadian TV film titled Pit Pony, and the character he was hired to play required a more feminine look.
Speaking with TIME Magazine, Page said, ‘I became a professional actor at the age of 10 and pursuing that passion came with a difficult compromise. Of course I had to look a certain way.’
Page had chance to shave his hair off completely when he was 16 and landed a role in a film called Mouth to Mouth, where he played a young anarchist, but in 2005 he was asked to wear a wig while auditioning for the 2005 thriller Hard Candy, and before long his hair was back.
The Inception actor faced further stress following his rise to fame through his leading role in Juno, with red carpet appearances and magazine photoshoots all highlighting a disconnect between who Page was to the public and who he knew himself to be.
The actor said it was difficult to watch his own movies, especially the ones in which he played more feminine roles, explaining, ‘I just never recognised myself. For a long time I could not even look at a photo of myself.’
As a result of having to hide his true self, Page began suffering from depression, anxiety and panic attacks and didn’t know how to make people see that ‘even though [he was] an actor, just putting on a T-shirt cut for a woman would make [him] so unwell’.
With his success in Hollywood, the actor tried to convince himself that he was fine, but he admitted that he was exhausted by the work that required him to ‘just exist’.
Page came out as gay in 2014 and asserted more agency in his career, including making a masculine wardrobe a condition of his roles, though he admitted that the ‘discomfort’ in his body never went away.
After being inspired by transgender icons such as Laverne Cox finding success in Hollywood, Page’s ‘shame and discomfort’ gave way to revelation and he was ‘was finally able to embrace being transgender’.
Thankfully, the industry has largely been welcoming to the news, with casting directors reaching out to Page’s manager saying it would be an honour to cast the actor in their next big movie. Page will also continue to star in The Umbrella Academy, which is filming its third season in Toronto.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers.
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