When Ellen Page played quick-witted teen Juno MacGuff in the 2007 hit film Juno, her character surprised her friends and family when she announced her pregnancy. In February, when the actress gave a speech at the Human Rights Campaign’s Time to THRIVE Conference, she surprised the audience by coming out. Her courage is being feted this month with an Out100 cover and the title of Entertainer of the Year. The pint-sized Canadian star is featured on one of four covers shot for Out magazine’s special 20th anniversary issue; the other three are fronted by Orange Is the New Black‘s Samira Wiley, actor Zachary Quinto and British musician Sam Smith.
In the interview, Ellen discusses the pressures she felt from Hollywood to keep her sexuality hidden. “No one’s ever been so direct as to say, ‘You’re gay, so we’re gonna hide it,'” she says. “But there’s an unspoken thing going on. [People] believe it’s the right thing to do for your career. They don’t realize it’s eroding your soul.”
According to the 27-year-old actress’ Twitter page, she just wrapped filming on Freeheld, a feature-length movie of the acclaimed short that details the struggles of a real-life lesbian couple in New Jersey, who were denied spousal pension benefits when one of them was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Ellen co-produced as well as co-starred opposite Julianne Moore. “It’s very direct in showing how discrimination against the LGBT community affects people,” she says of the film.