Interview with Hilary Swank

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Hilary Swank on Priorities

We talk with the uber-talented star about priorities, celebrity and her inspiration.

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When Hilary Swank walks into a room she commands attention. The star is uniquely striking and abundantly talented. When you see her in person it’s obvious why in she is named one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People.”

Hilary Swank on Priorities

For a famous actress who has earned two Academy Awards, two Golden Globes and an Independent Spirit Award, Hilary is surprisingly humble and down-to-earth. Perhaps this has something to do with her trailer-park upbringings in Bellingham, Washington and the fact that she succeeded through hard work and talent — in a Hollywood where success frequently comes through family connections and industry contacts.

Hilary Swank on Priorities

For starring in her breakthrough film, Boys Don’t Cry, for which she won her first Oscar, she earned a meager $3,000. Hilary won the lead role of Brandon Teena after three hundred other actresses had been considered and rejected over the course of three years.

Hilary works hard for all her roles. To prepare for Million Dollar Baby, for which Hilary won her second Oscar, she radically overhauled her body by enduring three months of intensive physical training. “I had to eat about 210 grams of protein a day, so I’d drink egg whites and protein shakes and flax oil.” She nearly died during her training from potentially fatal blood poisoning. “I was in a bad way. It got to the point that where I couldn’t walk.” But Hilary shrugs it off, as if all actresses would go through this kind of torture. “My job was to do my best to look like a boxer.” And that she did.

I first met Hilary Swank at the Tavern on the Green in New York City way back in 2001. We were at an awards ceremony and she sat down next to me, said “Hilary” and stuck her hand out. My first reaction was to wonder how she knew who I was and there was a bit of confusion until we realized that we shared the same name — and spelled it the same way! We ranted for a bit about Hillary Clinton jokes and how the former first lady misspelled her name.

Over the next year I saw Hilary at the Golden Globes, the Independent Spirit Awards and the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, and she always made a point of saying hello. Now, at the posh Windsor Arms Hotel in Toronto, Hilary sits comfortably in a chair, her left knee propped against the table. She is wearing black boot-cut pants and a delicately lacy black top. She excuses herself and gets up to pour herself a cup of coffee at the buffet. She brings the cream back with her, but decides against using it. Instead she pours half a packet of “Raw Sugar” into her black coffee and delicately takes a sip.

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A writer, artist and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary spends most of her time in France, but still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC and has traveled extensively around the world, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 4 Comments

  1. Wow, that must have been a fantastic interview. Even after being such a “HUGE” celeb, she seems to be really sweet and she definitely doesn’t seem to have a “Swollen” head.
    I love the part where she replies that even after winning the Oscar, “you’re still the same person”.
    There are so many actors and actresses who completely change (in a negative way) after gaining fame. Hilary Swank is so down to earth.
    Love her even more after going through this interview..!!

  2. It's great that she takes pride in her work to the extent that she devotes herself to it completely and only picks roles she likes. It's the best way to enjoy a profession!

  3. Jen Spillane

    I loved reading this interview! Hilary Swank seems really professional, really down-to-earth. It's refreshing!

  4. Hannah Mayers

    We’ve a lot to learn about our own priorities, reading this interview is very timely as I’m in the process of sorting out mine.

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