Elliot Page 'Collapsed' at an 'Inception' Premiere After a Panic Attack Over Gender Pressures

Elliot Page came out as a transgender man in December

Elliot Page, Oprah
Photo: Apple TV+

Elliot Page is speaking candidly about societal pressures he has faced over the years before coming out as a transgender man.

Joining Oprah Winfrey for Apple TV+'s The Oprah Conversation, the 34-year-old actor revealed how his mental health was affected by the expectations he felt he needed to meet due to gender pressures.

Signaling out an incident that occurred during the press tour for 2010's Inception, Page said he suffered a panic attack and fainted when he felt he had to present himself in feminine clothing.

"There was so much press and so many premieres all around the world and I was wearing dresses and heels to pretty much every single event," Page said of the press tour, per Insider.

After his manager offered him three dresses to wear to a screening of the film one evening, Page told Winfrey, 67, "I lost it, it was like a cinematic moment. That night, after the premiere at the after-party, I collapsed. That's something that's happened frequently in my life, usually corresponding with a panic attack."

"Ultimately, of course, it's every experience you've had since you were a toddler, people saying, 'The way you're sitting is not ladylike, you're walking like a boy. The music you're listening to as a teenager,' obviously, the way you dress. Every single aspect of who you are constantly being looked at and put in a box in a very binary system," he added. "That's what it leads to."

Elliot Page
Apple TV+

During his first television interview since coming out as a transgender man, Page also spoke about a similar experience of anxiety that occurred two years prior, after the release of 2008's Juno.

Page was nominated for Best Actress for his role in the film at the Oscars, and described the moment as "a pretty intense time."

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"I remember it felt so impossible to communicate with people how unwell I was because obviously there is so much excitement," he detailed. "The film unexpectedly became a big hit, I became quite known, all these things and I felt I couldn't express just the degree of pain I was in."

"So the Oscars, for example, I could not look at a photo from that red carpet. People might watch this and say, 'Oh my gosh, this person is crying about the night they went to the Oscars.' And I think again that prevents the ability to allow yourself to not just feel the pain but reflect on the pain, to even begin to sit down and bring it all up and finally confront all of that," Page added.

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Since publicly coming out late last year, Page has slowly been opening up in interviews about his life up until that freeing moment. In a Vanity Fair feature published on Wednesday, Page said that as a little kid, he "absolutely" knew that he was a boy.

"I was writing fake love letters and signing them 'Jason.' Every little aspect of my life, that is who I was, who I am, and who I knew myself to be," he told the magazine. "I just couldn't understand when I'd be told, 'No, you're not. No, you can't be that when you're older."

"Now I'm finally getting myself back to feeling like who I am," added Page, "and it's so beautiful and extraordinary, and there's a grief to it in a way."

In an interview with Time last month, Page also spoke about how he wants to use his "privilege and platform" to help other transgender people.

"Extremely influential people are spreading these myths and damaging rhetoric — every day you're seeing our existence debated," he said. "Transgender people are so very real."

Page's full interview on The Oprah Conversation is now streaming on Apple TV+.

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