Inspiring Women

Hilary Swank: Priorities & Critics

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


Hilary Swank: Priorities & Critics

“My schedule is so packed,” she explains almost apologetically, “I’m booked up the rest of the day and I fly out tonight.” I feel lucky that she made time for this interview as she was flying home to New York to appear on The Late Show with Jay Leno later that evening. I don’t know how she does it. She must be one of those rare people who can survive — and still be articulate — on next to no sleep.

Urbanette Magazine: How do you deal with critics and the public’s opinions?

Hilary Swank: “I think that any time you start concerning yourself with what people think you’re going to fail, because you’re never going to please everybody. If you try to make everybody happy you might as well quit. I think that what I have to do — and what I remind myself of constantly — is love what I’m doing because I care so much about it and I put so much into it that I need to be able to respond to it.”

Urbanette: Do you ever get hounded by paparazzi?

Hilary: “You know, I think that’s just part of the job. I’m not a scandalous person so it’s not like they’re searching for me left and right to catch me doing something bad ’cause I guess I’m just so boringly clean.”

Urbanette: How did your life change after you won the Oscar for Best Actress?

Hilary Swank: Priorities & CriticsHilary: “What’s interesting is that my life didn’t really change. When I watched the Oscars I used to always say ‘God, I bet their lives will never be the same.’ But you’re still the same person and you still have to do the laundry and walk the dog–you know, you’re the same person. My job opportunities have changed, that is a positive change.”

Urbanette: Did you have a trick or method that helped you to play Brandon Teena so convincingly in your breakthrough film, Boys Don’t Cry?

Hilary: “I tried to find the humanity that transcended gender. I didn’t play Brandon as an alter male ego. I didn’t think it was a gender that I was playing – it was something deeper than that, a quality that we all have as humans.”

Urbanette: When you’re immersed in a role and doing a movie do you find that you’re cut-off from your friends and life outside of the industry?

Hilary: “For sure, especially when I went off to do Boys Don’t Cry; I told everyone that I’m not going to call anyone and I’m just totally unreachable for this amount of time because you just have to totally immerse.

Hilary Swank: Priorities & Critics

For The Affair of the Necklace I was a bit more available. I flew my grandfather and mother in to visit. My best friend visited as well and brought her kids. So you try to keep those avenues open although you can’t be as available as you’d like to be as a family member or wife or friend. But it’s one of those things you choose when you choose your career. There’s pros and cons of everything, I mean, if you choose to be a lawyer you may have to work long hours as well. It’s one of those things you have to just weigh.”

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A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 87 Comments

  1. Eloise Ferris

    Already shared this article with my mom, she’s such a fan of Hilary Swank just like myself.

    • Christine Wiggin

      My sister and I watched Boys don;t cry together and we liked it so much. We became fans ever since.

  2. Genie Mackenzie

    Being a celebrity can be a privilege. But living as a celebrity is not all about glam and money. They have to live with all the extras that come with it, especially the critics. All eyes are on you wherever.

    • Hillary Williams

      I have read a lot of celebrities going mad about paparazzi taking pictures of them wherever they go. Truly annoying!

  3. Mona Murrell

    Such an amazing article about Hilary Swanks!

  4. April Henry

    I can imagine how much pressure was put on her when she finally got the role in Boys don’t cry considering hundreds of other actors who tried to steal the role And then they proved everyone she was the perfect choice when she was praised and got the Oscar award.

    • Deanna Woods

      Pressure when she was auditioning and more pressure when she needs to play the part of the character,

  5. Diane Roth

    She was selected among the 300 other actresses who auditioned for the role, that was big! Then, she won her first Oscar, that was even bigger.

  6. Jenni Wilson

    Talent, hard work, and dedication, these are what bring her to the top of her career!

  7. Brandy Hood

    For a model like me who likes to succeed in the field of Fashion, I really got inspired by this article as it shows how talent and hard work can bring someone on top even without pulling some strings.

  8. Susan Rice

    Wow! Her preparation for the Million Dollar Baby movie was extreme. Her dedication is unquestionable.


      I do not think I can drink raw egg whites. She was amazing!

  9. Ida Reeves

    Celebrities love paparazzi because whether they took bad or good pictures, it will always be a publicity for their career. Part of the drama, I must say.

  10. Jossen Row

    When she said that she is boringly clean, I was like, “what?”, okay, I hope so.

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