The new face of Gucci Guilty, Elliot Page opens up about feeling comfortable in his body, the shifting concept of home and stealing cologne from his step-brother’s room as a teenager
When Elliot Page appears on the Zoom call, I am genuinely starstruck. He’s not wearing anything especially flashy; actually the opposite – a plain black hoodie and simple framed glasses. He is polite, warm, generously open with his answers, thoughtful and careful with his words, frequently (and quite endearingly) punctuating replies with ‘gosh’. He is, undoubtedly, a superstar. Someone I, and many others who made the Juno soundtrack our personalities, have grown up with on our screens.
Now, he is also one of the new faces of Gucci Guilty, a first for Page who has never fronted a beauty or fragrance campaign before. Starring alongside A$AP Rocky and Julia Garner, the Glen Luchford-shot campaign is an ode to the idea of home, a literal but also metaphorical place where we are free to be our whole, authentic selves. It’s a concept that has shifted for Page recently, as he grows ever more comfortable in his body and self. “For the first time ever I do feel at home in myself. And that sensation has been so thrilling, not something I thought I’d feel,” he says. “It’s given me a new relationship to the idea of self-love and self-acceptance in many ways.”
The campaign sees Page, Rocky and Garner playing house, gazing at each other, dancing, tangled up together on the sofa. The chemistry between them is palpable and Page lights up when he talks about his castmates and the experience of filming the campaign. “It was just the most lovely, comfortable, kind, fun experience. And the three of us really just immediately connected,” he says, at his most animated. “It really had that sensation like a connection had been formed and it made filming it just utter joy, like a true joy.”
For a long time, fragrance and fashion were worlds he felt mostly separate from, unable to connect with. But as he’s grown into himself, comfortable in his body for the first time and feeling present and joyful, Page has understood more about the impact they can have and finally feels aligned with what he’s drawn to. “What I’ve actually personally been attracted to has never changed. My ability to feel fully comfortable and confident and at home in my body, that’s what’s dramatically changed.” This sentiment, his newfound confidence and comfort in his body, comes up again and again during our interview – “I sound like a broken record,” he jokes at one point – and it’s clear what a joyful and still tender feeling it is for him.
After I came down from the high of being face to (screen) face with a hero, I managed, still buzzing, to write up the conversation. Read below as Page shares about nostalgic scents, stealing cologne from his step-brother’s room as a teenager, and his production company’s upcoming queer cheerleading movie, Backspot.
What are some scents that have the strongest memories for you or that always bring out nostalgic feelings?
Elliot Page: I think for me it’s, gosh it’s a bit cliche, but it’s the ocean, anything ocean. Seaweed, salt in the air. I’m from Nova Scotia and it just does something, it just immediately transports me home. So I’d say that would be one of my biggest memory zaps.
You smell the saltwater and you’re immediately transported back.
Elliot Page: Yeah, I am. There’s something about it – the smell of it and the feeling of it in the air.
What do you think a good fragrance should be able to do for the wearer?
Elliot Page: Gosh, I think it should do what the wearer’s looking for, and what their individual want is in that moment or on that day. For me, it’s about feeling confident, it can give a boldness, a sensuality perhaps. This nice mix of feeling emboldened but also open. I think for me, that’s a nice thing about when a fragrance works.
Why did you want to be part of this campaign and work with Gucci on the fragrance?
Elliot Page: It just seemed like an awesome opportunity. I’ve not done something like this before. To get to work with Gucci was obviously a very thrilling opportunity and it felt like the right thing to do. I feel really lucky that they involved me and I’ve gotten to work with Julia and Rocky on this, it’s just a fantastic experience.
Was a fragrance campaign something that you had in mind that you wanted to do or did it come out of the blue?
Elliot Page: It just came. I mean, I think so many aspects of these things, like fragrance and fashion, I felt so separate from. Now that I’m really at home and comfortable in my body for the first time and feeling present and joyful in this way – I’ve understood now more about fashion or fragrance, whatever it is that people enjoy and the impact that it can have. The artistry of it, the creativity, the exploration and curiosity – all these things are very exciting and interesting. It’s a new kind of challenge and a wonderful thing to be a part of.
One of my questions was gonna be how your relationship with fragrance has changed through your life. So that’s really interesting. Did you used to not feel connected to the fragrances you were being sold?
Elliot Page: Yeah, I think that was more when I was much younger, growing up as a teenager. What I’ve been attracted to has never really changed. It’s a bit of a stereotype, [but] even as a little kid [I was] going to my step-brother’s room to steal some cologne. But it’s the act of me choosing whatever I wanted regardless, which is what everybody should do: choose the fragrance that feels the best for you. So what I’ve actually personally been attracted to has never changed. My ability to feel fully comfortable and confident and at home in my body, that’s what’s dramatically changed. And so all of that coming together is very nice.
What does Gucci Guilty smell like to you? Does it remind you of anything?
Elliot Page: Gosh. It’s funny, I think I’m having one of those true fragment memories, where I’m like, ‘it reminds me of when we were shooting the campaign’ [laughs]. And of course it does! That makes sense, Elliot. But I think the campaign is obviously representing [the fragrance]. So I guess for me, it just reminds me of this boldness, this confidence, but mixed with this real sort of sensual comfort. For me, it’s that balance that I really, really love about it.
It’s interesting that you said comfort, because the concept of the campaign is about home and creating a place where people can be authentically themselves. Where or when do you feel most at home?
Elliot Page: I feel most at home with my dog Mo, and the people I love and my friends and in the spaces that I can be fully myself and feel safe and supported. That sense of love and companionship and community, especially right now, is what allows me to feel that sense of home. And for the first time ever, I just – I always sound like a broken record – but I do feel at home in myself. And that sensation has been so thrilling, not something I thought I’d feel. And so like really, it’s given me a new relationship with the idea of self-love and self-acceptance in many ways.
The idea of home is now just with you, wherever you go. You have that sense of belonging, always.
Elliot Page: Yeah. It’s just the sense of getting to be present in the moment, it’s really special. And blocking out all the noise that you could latch on to and internalise, and really trying to feel present in the moment and embrace gratitude for it.
How was the experience of filming the campaign? Do you have good memories from that day?
Elliot Page: Such good memories! Yeah, it was multiple days and it was so fun. Walking into it I was definitely nervous. It’s not something I’ve done before, with these two super amazing talented people I respect so much and everyone at Gucci and Julia and Rocky, it was just the most lovely, comfortable, kind, fun experience. And the three of us really just immediately connected, it was fantastic. And even as the fourth day we’re ending, it was just like, ‘oh, I’m not gonna see you tomorrow?’ It really had that sensation like a connection had been formed and it made filming it just utter joy, like a true joy.
I think you get that sense from the film, that chemistry really comes across. I wanted to ask you about your career – you’ve been doing more directing and producing in the last few years. Is that something that you want to do more of in the future?
Elliot Page: Yeah, it is. It’s something I’m continuing to do. I feel lucky to have a platform and be in a position where I can help certain things get developed and help different stories be told. So that’s something that I hope to continue to do and am continuing to do.
You’ve spoken before about the impact that the film But I’m a Cheerleader had on you growing up, and Backspot, which your production company is working on now, is about that same queer cheerleading world. Is that one of the reasons you wanted to tell that story?
Elliot Page: Oh, goodness, that’s so funny. Yes, But I’m A Cheerleader, well what a forever, forever iconic film. Yeah, I’m so excited about Backspot because it’s a fantastic script and story. Devery Jacobs is incredible. And D.W. [Waterson] is directing and I’m just lucky that my company is a part of it. I’m really excited for people to see what they’re making.
Before we go, what is your current obsession?
Elliot Page: Gosh. I’m so into VR working out on Quest. So I do the Supernatural VR and that’s something I love and make sure it’s a part of my day, every day. It’s a fitness programme but it’s extraordinary, it’s so fun. So it just makes getting up and moving and exercising one of the most joyous parts of my day.
Gucci Guilty Eau de Toilette Pour Homme is available at Boots.
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