Elaine Paige: Being short has contributed towards my insecurity

Tom Horton, PA
·2-min read

Elaine Paige says that being short has contributed to her “terrible shyness” and feelings of “insecurity”.

The radio presenter and musical theatre star, 74, told the Radio Times that her height means some people treat her differently.

“I’m not even five foot tall and I felt – and still do on some occasions – that no one takes any notice of you because you’re living life down here and a lot of the time ‘down here’ you get overlooked, literally,” she said.

“Once” opening Night – London
(Anthony Devlin/PA)

“This is all part and parcel of this insecurity, if you like, and terrible shyness because you’re not the same as everybody else and I was patronised a lot as a young girl.”

She added that a teacher left her “absolutely crushed” while she was at school after telling her she was too small to pursue her ambition of being a tennis player.

“I’ve never forgotten it because in one sentence that woman devastated my dream,” she said.

She also revealed she had a “terrible” experience appearing on Desert Island Discs in 1987 to be interviewed by Michael Parkinson.

The Prince of Egypt musical
(Ian West/PA)

“I was so scared and I knew nothing about anything,” she said.

“I shouldn’t have done it then. I wasn’t ready.”

Reflecting on her career, Paige said she thinks she could have done some things differently.

“I regret a few things but everything that happens to you, whether it’s good or bad is grist to the mill and makes you who you are,” she said.

“How would that little girl in Barnet have imagined this most interesting, fulfilling and exciting life of travelling the world and meeting so many talented people, kings and queens and princes and presidents?”

Read the full interview in the Radio Times.