When We’re Growing Up There Are All Sorts of People Telling Us What To Do . . .

Ellen Page? Lisa O’Kelly? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: I once heard an insightful remark about growing up from the prize-winning Canadian actress Ellen Page. I do not remember the exact phrasing. Roughly, she said that young people are often told what to do when they should be given space to decide what to become. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 2010 “The Guardian” newspaper of London published an interview of Ellen Page conducted by journalist Lisa O’Kelly. Page discussed the plot of the 2009 film “Whip It” in which she played a beauty pageant queen trying to please her mother. Her character secretly rebelled by joining a roller derby league. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

It is more that she loves her mother and wants to please her and that becomes the strongest dilemma for her: how to establish a sense of self while still fulfilling her obligations to other people. I can identify with that. When we’re growing up there are all sorts of people telling us what to do when really what we need is space to work out who to be.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

In 2015 “People” magazine published “Ellen Page’s Best Inspirational Quotes” which included the following: 2

On finding yourself
“When we’re growing up there are all sorts of people telling us what to do when really what we need is space to work out who to be.” –to The Guardian in 2010.

In 2019 “The Ottawa Citizen” published a puzzle column called “Canadian CyberQuotes” which printed the quotation as the solution of a previous puzzle: 3

Previous Solution: When we’re growing up there are all sorts of people telling us what to do when really what we need is space to work out who to be.
—Ellen Page (b. 1987, Halifax, NS. Actress, producer)

In conclusion, Ellen Page should receive credit for the remark she made during an interview in “The Guardian” in 2010.

(Great thanks to Delphine Ménard whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration. Ménard sent the correctly phrased quotation to QI and requested a citation. QI invented the paraphrase.)

Notes:

  1. Website: The Guardian newspaper, Article title: Interview: Ellen Page: ‘I’m totally pro-choice. I mean what are we going to do – go back to clothes hangers?’, Article description: Interview of Ellen Page by Lisa O’Kelly, Date on website: April 3, 2010, Website description: Newspaper in London England. (Accessed theguardian.com on June 24, 2020)
  2. Website: People magazine, Article title: Ellen Page’s Best Inspirational Quotes, Article author: Lydia Price, Timestamp on website: Updated October 02, 2015 04:00 PM, Website description: Covers gossip, crime, and show business news. (Accessed people.com on June 24, 2020) link
  3. 2019 March 14, The Ottawa Citizen, Canadian CyberQuotes by Adrian Powell, Quote Page NP6, Column 3, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Newspapers_com)