When Hilary Swank does something, she does it 100 percent. So when her father needed a lung transplant in 2014, Hilary was there. The two-time Oscar winner turned down work to be his live-in caretaker for three years—or as she so beautifully put it in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, ““I was saying yes to something else that I wanted to be a part of.”
But now, her father is well again, and she’s back at it again in Hollywood. This past year, she appeared on screens big and small in What They Had, I Am Mother, and Trust, all while producing three TV shows and running her clothing business, Mission Statement. We told you: Hilary gives 100 percent, and we can’t wait to see what she creates in 2019.
You won an Academy Award for your performance in Boys Don't Cry. Tell us a little about your work building up to your role in the film and how winning an Oscar changed the course of your career.
It was imperative that I tried my hardest to do justice to this real life person, who died in such a horrific manner for just wanting to give and receive love. So, I spent 4 weeks walking around public trying to pass as a boy, seeing what did and didn’t work. To be believable in front of the camera, it was important that I could pull of being a boy in all of my everyday experiences—no matter how challenging this was at times.
Winning an Oscar gave me more opportunities to learn and grow as an artist and human being and to continue do what I love...tell more stories collaborating with people I admire.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
You can do anything as long as you work hard enough. This came from my Mom.
You took a break from acting from 2014 to 2017 to care for your father when he had a lung transplant. How did it feel to leave Hollywood for three years?
On one hand, it was scary because I was walking away from something that defined me, but on the other hand, it was liberating as I realized I’m so much more than an actor. Ultimately, I was just grateful that my career was in a position that I could take time off to care for a loved one.
What’s been the biggest surprise or highlight of your career to date?
The biggest surprise of my career has been winning two Academy Awards for doing something I love so much. Getting to collaborate with so many extraordinary artists is a reward in and of itself, but getting peer and industry accolades on top of that makes it even more sweet.
The biggest highlight has been the challenge to push myself in ways I never imagined and learn that our biggest obstacles are often ourselves.
Which women in your industry do you look up to most? Why?
It sounds cliche, but I can’t help but look up to Meryl Streep. She has continued to surprise us with such poignant and chameleon-like performances while navigating mainstream and art house films. She seems to have found a perfect career balance while staying true to her internal artist’s compass.
You started your fashion company, Mission Statement, in 2016. What did you feel was missing from the women’s clothing space?
I created what I felt was missing in the marketplace: affordable luxury in the leisure space that also has versatility to take you through your entire day and all of its needs.
What have been the most exciting and most challenging parts of starting your own business?
The most exciting part is embarking on a journey to fulfill a new dream you want realized. The challenging part is having to undergo a crash-course in business while not having any business training.
When you hit a bump or hurdle in your career, how do you find a new road + switch gears to find success?
I’m always looking for constructive criticism from people I love and who believe in me. This enables me to continue to grow, never become stagnant and never rest on my laurels. It’s important to me to remain curious and always seek to learn—which I can’t do without my tribe.
What are you most excited for in 2019?
Watching Mission Statement grow and continuing to tell stories about the triumph of the human spirit and perseverance.
Photo Credit: Greg Williams Photography