A Look At Hilary Swanks Rise To Stardom

American actress and film producer Hilary Swank has become among the most recognizable faces in Hollywood. Over the course of her career, she has played numerous roles including her film debut with a small role for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, breaking through as Julie Pierce in The Next Karate Kid and portraying Carly Reynolds on the eighth season of Beverly Hills, 90210. However these small roles did not bring in success to her career until she starred as a transgender man in the movie Boys Don’t Cry which earned her several awards. The American film actress has enjoyed a successful career since and has amassed a stunning $60 million net worth.

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Early Life and Starting Her Passion for Acting

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Hilary Ann Swank was born on July 30, 1974 in Nebraska. Her father was a Chief Master Sergeant of the Oregon Air National Guard Stephen Michael Swank and her mother was a secretary and a dancer Judy Kay. Most of their immediate family members originated from Ringgold County, Iowa but her maternal grandmother was born and raised in El Centro, California with Mexican blood. Their family lived in Spokane, Washington initially but they moved when Hilary was only six years old to a home near the Lake Samish in Bellingham, Washington.

She found an interest in acting and made her first stage appearance at the age of nine starring in the play The Jungle Book. During her high school years, she competed at the Junior Olympics as well as the Washington state championships in swimming. She attended the Happy Valley Elementary School then transferred to Fairhaven Middle School then moved to Sehome High School in Bellingham until she reached the age of sixteen. It was when she was only fifteen years old when her parents have decided to separate and her mother is supportive of her interest to be an actress and for that reason, they moved to Los Angeles. During that time, they were living in their car while Hilary’s mother saved up enough money to rent an apartment in the area. Due to this incident, Hilary has always seen her mother as her inspiration for her acting career.

Hardships Before Her Career Took Off

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Hilary had set her eyes on being an actress as early as fourteen years old. She has performed numerous times at some small theatrical school productions and because of this she recognized her desire to be an actress early on. The more she performed on stage, the more she realized her passion for performing on stage and she feels as if she belongs every time she is onstage. When they moved to Los Angeles, she enrolled at the South Pasadena High School and she always felt like she does not fit in at all and she said that she became an actor because she was an outsider however every time she acts, she feels the sense of belongingness. When they moved to Los Angeles, her mother only had $75 in her pocket and they had no connections but they still tried their shot at making it.

Upon arriving in LA, her mother started calling multiple agents however they had no idea what they were doing. With luck on their side, an agent happened to be holding an audition when they called which made Hilary secure herself an agent. However that does not mean immediate success for them, she continued to work her ass off but she kept getting rejected. Sometimes she will be able to secure a small role but most of the time she was rejected. This went on for years and she eventually started to wonder if this is really for her. During this time, she thought that she finally got her big break when she was hired to star on the eighth season of Beverly Hills 90210. However she was subsequently fired because she does not feel the role and she’s just wasn’t thrilled with it.

Unknown to her, during this time, a young passionate director was starting to develop a project. Director Kimberly Pierce was trying to bring the story that touched her to become a film. Pierce has funded the development of the film by working during midnight as a paralegal and as a film projectionist. When the film was finally developed, she hired Hilary for the main role. This was about two months after Hilary was fired from the Beverly Hills 90210.

Suddenly Making It Big in Hollywood

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The overall budget for the small movie for the Kimberly Pierce project was only $2 million. At the time, Hilary was just paid $75 per day and it only amounted to about $3,000 for the entire film. The movie turned out to be a blockbuster film titled Boys Don’t Cry. This has even earned Hilary an Academy Award. Hilary now believes that she was fired for a reason and it turned out to be a blessing. If she was on a contract for Beverly Hills 90210, she would not have starred in a blockbuster film and she would not have her overnight success. Though she was only paid $3,000 for the entire film, she was recognized for it and critics even noted that it was the best female performance of 1999.

People might think that she just came out of nowhere and just suddenly became famous, but for Hilary, it was nine years of hard work. Her so called overnight success was built on the foundation of long and never ending nights for her worrying if it will ever pay off. She believes that it did pay off because she worked hard every day towards her dream. With her career taking off, she is now worth $60 million and owns numerous real estate properties with her husband Philip Schneider.

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Sources: Celebrity Net Worth, Forbes, IMDB

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