I first met Ellen Page at Sundance. She was there for a film called An American Crime, the true story of a teen girl who was abused at the hands of her guardian and then locked in the basement. Page was very fragile at the festival. She couldn’t get the character out of her head. She’s naturally very small and, at this point in her career, she was also very, very thin. She seemed frail, emotionally and physically. So I was asked by the publicist to keep the interview light and fun, to stay away from questions dealing directly with her character’s struggle. Which, frankly, doesn’t happen very often. You are rarely asked to NOT ask questions about the movie.

In the end, we just ended up “small-talking”. And that worked for her. She seemed relieved. She even smiled. She was less jittery when she left. But I remember worrying about her, worrying about whether or not she was going to make it in an industry that can be so sh-tty to sensitive young women.

But Page was totally different the next time I ran into her for Juno and later on for Whip It. It was as though she had moved through whatever it was that was weighing on her and she was ready to let herself live outside the darkness. She welcomed the opportunity to be silly, goofy. It was encouring that somehow she’d found a way to get through her pain.

While I can’t know for sure whether self-acceptance was the reason for her transformation, hearing her address the audience at the Human Rights Campaign Time To Thrive conference the other day, sharing her experience and describing the “pain” that’s now behind her, was a powerful reminder of who she might have been before and a beautiful introduction to who she is now.

Big ups to Ellen. And THANKS GOD we no longer have to listen to dumbass bullsh-t about whether or not she’s dating Alexander Skarsgard. Did I ever tell you about the crazy emails I used to get from some TwiHard last summer who was convinced they were planning a secret wedding?