CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses mental health issues.

Juno was the film that shot Elliot Page to fame, earning him an Oscar nomination in the process. But it wasn’t all glitz and glam, with the Umbrella Academy star describing what he went through during the movie’s press tours as “extremely fucked up”.

Page came out as trans in December 2020 and was in the closet for a lot of his stardom.

In an interview with Esquire magazine, he opened up about the toll it took on his mental health.

“When Juno was at the height of its popularity, 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,” he said.

He spoke about how he was constantly forced to wear dresses in pivotal moments of his career, and the impact that had on his own self-image.

“I remember the premiere of Juno at the Toronto International Film Festival… I said I wanted to wear a suit, and Fox Searchlight was basically like, ‘No, you need to wear a dress.’

“And they took me in a big rush to one of those fancy stores on Bloor Street. They had me wear a dress, and . . .  that was that. And then all the Juno press, all the photo shoots — Michael Cera was in slacks and sneakers. I look back at the photos, and I’m like . . .?

“It’s easy for people to roll their eyes, but you know what? No. That was really extremely, extremely fucked up.

“I shouldn’t have to treat it like just this thing that happened — this somewhat normal thing. It’s like: No. Regardless of me being trans! I’ve had people who’ve apologised about things: “Sorry, I didn’t know, I didn’t know at the time.” It doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter if I’m trans or cis. Lots of cis women dress how I dress. That has nothing to fucking do with it.”

“In my early to mid-twenties, I didn’t know how to tell people how unwell I was,” Page recalled.

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

“I get that people don’t understand. ‘Oh, fuck 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 shit literally did almost kill me.”

After Elliot Page came out, Netflix announced his character in Umbrella Academy would also come out as trans — which we’ve had our first glimpse of here.

It’s been a long road for Page, but here’s to watching him be the representation he needed to see in the world.

If you’d like to talk about the issues raised in this story, you can call the QLife LGBTI peer support hotline on 1800 184 527 or chat online. 

QLife operates between 3pm and midnight daily.

Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.