You probably know Regé-Jean Page from his turn as the brooding Duke of Hastings in the Netflix hit series Bridgerton (via IMDb). After all, Page brought his insanely talented acting chops to the role, and basically had viewers wanting to marry him or be him by the time season 1 came to a close. Certainly we were left feeling a certain kind of way after watching all of those scenes — you know, the steamy, romantic moments Page shared with Phoebe Dynevor. Excuse us while we catch our breath.
While Page has definitely ascended to the rank of Hollywood sex symbol, there’s a lot more to know about the actor besides his innate charisma and acting abilities. In fact, Page has quite the unique background, complete with humble origins and a quest for identity that bucks the norms of a society. Curious to know more about the handsome and mysterious Page?
Page was born in Zimbabwe
Page might be wildly popular here in America, but that’s not where he originally hails from. According to Square Mile, Page was born in Zimbabwe, the son of an English preacher father and a nurse mother — sounds like just about anyone’s origin story.
Page lived in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capitol city, until he was 14 years old; his family then moved to London, which shaped Page’s concept of what home truly is. “Home is a relative concept,” he explained to Interview magazine. “Home is very much wherever it is that your people are and where you fit in.” We’re 100 percent on board with that notion.
Additionally, Page was shaped by travel when he was younger, thanks to having relatives in an assortment of locales. “I have family in South Africa, Australia, Sweden, Grenada, Florida,” he continued. “So you make pit stops and you grow your perspective.” Clearly, Page has always been a man of the world.
Being biracial in Zimbabwe shaped Page
Much like America has a complicated and troubling past, thanks to the institution of slavery, so too does Zimbabwe have a history that lingers. As Page tells it, Zimbabwe is definitely not an old country, and British colonialism was a factor until the ’80s — and that had an impact on the young Page. “Zimbabwe was still a relatively young country when I was living there and its post-apartheid society was only newly formed,” he explained to The Guardian. “Being a mixed-race child in that environment means that you have to think about crafting your own identity and you question why you belong in that world.” That sounds like an intense situation to cope with, especially when you’re so young.
But coming of age in Sub-Saharan Africa also had a hand in helping Page develop, as he worked to comprehend how the world works. “You’re also not at the center of the universe in Zimbabwe, so you watch these important places like London or New York make their decisions and you ride the ripples of that as they become waves for the rest of the world,” he continued. “It’s an outsider’s view that I’ve retained in my work and life today.” Fascinating.
As a teen, Page was in a punk band
In addition to his race having an impact on his identity as a young man, Page also was shaped by his creative endeavors. That included music, as Page was in a punk band with his brother during his adolescence; he found that it helped him channel his growing aggressions and frustrations. “As a teenager, the idea of running around, screaming at people was very appealing to me,” he explained to The Fall. “I found comfort in aggression, in breaking through false walls and challenging norms.”
It wasn’t all just screaming and yelling, though; in punk, Page found comfort as it was “clean, pretty, ugly and dirty all at once. [It was about] not needing to bow for validation,” he continued. “In fact, not even needing validation.” And that was a revelation.
By immersing himself in the punk scene — dying his hair, making music, and discovering friendships — Page found his very foundation evolving underneath his feet. “When I got involved in the punk scene, my notion of what a career was changed,” he added. “I realized that a career in the arts was actually about having the people and community to support you making your art.” We love to hear it.
Page started acting as a teen as well
While Page didn’t act growing up in his beloved Zimbabwe, that changed when he and his family relocated to London. At first, it started small, at a local drama center that nurtured Page’s innate talents. “I went to a Saturday school where you would do an hour of dancing, an hour of acting, and an hour of singing,” he shared in a chat with Interview. “It’s basically childcare — ‘Get my loud, attention-seeking child out of my hair for three hours.'” Hey, obviously it worked, because Page is a triple threat now.
It didn’t take too long before Page’s talent was noticed by the school, who also acted as an agent for him, finding him roles here and there. “Once every two years I’d get a job, I’d make a little money, and that would pay for my Gameboy,” he continued.
From that point on Page was hooked on acting, so he decided to enroll at the esteemed Drama Centre London. There he flourished among his peers, according to drama teacher Annie Tyson. “Regé absolutely put himself on the line and worked with huge courage,” she revealed in an interview with Square Mile. “The class was both spellbound and a bit nervous about what he’d unleashed.”
Page isn't new to acting
While Page became world-famous for his turn as Simon Basset in Bridgerton, he’s not new to the acting profession. For one, he starred as Chicken George in the History Channel’s 2016 revamp of the Alex Haley classic Roots (via IMDb). After that he appeared in a host of other films and shows, including The Merchant of Venice, Mortal Engines, For the People, and Silvie’s Love. Plus, before his turn in Roots, Page had roles in Fresh Meat, Waterloo Road, and Survivor. So clearly, Bridgerton wasn’t Page’s first rodeo, even if it made him a superstar.
As for Page, he doesn’t want his breakout role to pigeon-hole him, something he made clear four years before we all binged Bridgerton. “You have to remain reaching for the moment,” he explained to Variety. “You grow with every role and absorb things from them. I think it’s interesting to define things as I go.”
Given that Page has been cast in Dungeons and Dragons and is rumored to be considered James Bond material (via Variety), we’re pretty sure no one will pen Page in. The world is his oyster.
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