In our second episode of Person of the Week, I’m thrilled to be talking to Elliot Page. He’s an actor who currently appears on Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy, and is one of the most famous transgender men in Hollywood. And he’s here to tell us about Pageboy, his memoir that was published at the start of Pride Month, and which recently became a #1 New York Times bestseller.
Page burst onto the scene playing a pregnant teenager in the 2007 hit Juno, back when he was perceived as a woman. That movie earned him an Oscar nomination, but the stardom that followed was incredibly difficult.
He announced he was gay in 2014, and came out as trans in 2020. And his new memoir details what it’s been like for him to embrace his identity in the public eye. This book is such a powerful read—especially now, at a time when trans rights are under attack across the country. And as a bonus, we put together a Spotify playlist of the music that Elliot mentions in his book and in our episode.
Tune in every Thursday, and join us as we continue to explore the minds that shape our world. You can listen to the full episode in the player above, but here are a handful of excerpts from our conversation:
On why this was the right time to write a memoir:
Writing this, it really was about untangling and unraveling so much of what sort of held me back in the moments where I wasn’t able to be my authentic self, where I wasn’t able to step into my truth and how actually horrifically damaging that was, and the difficulties that that caused and the consequences that were quite severe in moments.
I’ve finally gotten to a place in my life where I feel like I’m alive for the first time and thriving and creative and productive and present and feeling a way that I never thought I could experience. It felt like potentially the right time to share my story.
On the difference between his experience making Juno and his experience promoting the movie:
Making it was a really special experience. It was definitely one of the best filmmaking experiences I’ve ever had. I felt so lucky to play that character. On set was wonderful…Everybody was so heartfelt and genuine and just a tremendous group of people. And I think what was cool is I did get to bring a lot to the table for that film, you know? Especially how she dressed, how she presented. And I think a certain spark to her and a way of existing really reached a lot of people and I think particularly young women, and at a time when that was fresh in some ways.
Cut to the film coming out, and then that whole aspect of myself, [I was] just being told to shove it away. Just squash all of that away. Being told to wear the dresses and the heels and not including my girlfriend in any events… [That] really did lead me into a very, very difficult time, you know? I mean, obviously already I was experiencing lots of discomfort and incongruence in terms of my body and my relationship with it. But that was not a fun or celebratory period for me.
On the creation of Victor, his Umbrella Academy character:
That was really quite an amazing experience. I feel, again, really lucky for Steve Blackman and just how open and collaborative and wonderful he’s been with all of that. And I mean, he really was one of the first people I came out to, which is funny because the third season was not too far off.
I wanted to get the surgery and called him to basically be like, I really wanna do this… and he was the one that was like, ‘I want to include it and I wanna include it now, like this season.’
We worked together to, you know, make that story work in a way that felt natural and organic and not some big dramatic plot line. And Victor steps into his truth and they all go back to their lives.
Correction, June 22
The original version of this story misspelled Elliot Page’s name. It is Elliot, not Elliott.
- Taylor Swift Is TIME's 2023 Person of the Year
- Meet the Nation Builders
- Why Cell Phone Reception Is Getting Worse
- Column: It's Time to Scrap the Abraham Accords
- Israeli Family Celebrates Release of Hostage Grandmother
- In a New Movie, Beyoncé Finds Freedom
- The Top 100 Photos of 2023
- Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time