Making a Statement: Hilary Swank

5 years ago by


Erik Melvin

This interview with Hilary Swank is one of those conversations where after five minutes, you notice the whole team sitting in a circle, taking in every single word. This is what happens when someone talks with such authenticity and honesty, you become totally mesmerized. It’s also probably part of what makes Hilary such a wonderful actress and such a magnetic person – impossible not to love.

Today we talk about her early years growing up in a trailer park and playing competitive sports, both of which instilled a work ethic and confidence in herself that would push her to become one the most respected actresses in Hollywood. She recently launched Mission Statement, a clothing collection that combines high performance and fashion, and I wanted to know more about that venture. We laughed, we cried, and we went deep! I hope you’ll love this Pardon My French episode as much as I do!

pardon my french podcast hilary swank photo

pardon my french podcast hilary swank photo

On making the most of our time…
I really feel we have to step into our life every single day and be disciplined about what’s important to us and not put off tomorrow what you can do today. And I know it sounds so cliché, but it’s so true.

On her mantra…
I don’t want to have regrets. I don’t want to be on my death bed saying, oh, I wish I would have, I wish I would have. I think about what those things are for me and every single day, I take a step forward into making those happen. Whether it’s something that seems small or something that seems big. So my mantra is, make a choice, make it happen.

On the benefits of playing sports…
I think it makes you realize your body is more than what the world will tell you a woman’s body is here for. You realize your strengths and how that work ethic, due diligence and work you put into your sports, you carry all that into your daily life. And you realize your mind is your biggest obstacle and to push through that and not let that be something that holds you back.

On how long she can go without working out…
If I go a week, I am not a person you want to be around! I get ornery and a little pokey, just a little off and I don’t feel good. I feel sluggish and I don’t like it. It doesn’t have to be an hour everyday, it can be 20 minutes, or a really brisk stroll, or a nice long walk. It can be simple and doesn’t have to be hard. You don’t have to kill yourself every time you workout to achieve something. It’s not about that.

pardon my french podcast hilary swank photo

pardon my french podcast hilary swank photo

pardon my french podcast hilary swank photo

On why she’s open and honest about her past..
What inspires me are people who persevere through adversity. And I think it’s so important that we share what our struggles were because it makes us feel less alone in our own.

On comparing yourself to others…
If I am in a place where I’m comparing myself, it’s the quickest way to not feel good about yourself. That is someone else’s journey. It’s ok to say things like, that person has achieved this and I look up to that and that’s something I want to achieve, and if that makes you work harder, that’s healthy.

On what she does in her free time…
When I do have time off, I go to the shelter and I’ll either adopt a dog and find a foster home for it or I’ll just go in and I’ll love on dogs.

On why she calls her new line “aesthetic-wear” instead of athleisure….
Instead of calling it athleisure, I call it aesthetic-wear because it’s aesthetically pleasing to the eye. I have Mission Statement on right now, so not everything is necessarily for a workout. You can travel in it, wear it to the office without working out, or wear it to dinner.

pardon my french podcast hilary swank photo

On wanting to achieve more…
People say to me, you’ve won two Academy Awards and you can sit back and relax and I think, NO! There is so much more I want to tap into. I feel like I have so much more to achieve and not even winning awards! I want to go deeper and further and I don’t ever want to rest on my laurels and say, yeah that’s enough. I’m 42 years old. I feel like I’ve just entered my second act!

On how she came up with the name, Mission Statement…
I was trying to come up with names and my co-founder said to me, you have to really think in building this and going around to have people align with you to help you, what your mission statement is. And I was like, that’s it!! And he’s like, yeah, you have to do that, and I said, NO NO, that’s it! That’s the name!

On having parrots as pets…
They are very smart and can give affection, but they are very choosey and picky about who they give affection to. There’s always a little bit of wildness in them. They can be like, I like you now, but in another moment like, hey, get off me!

Making a Statement: Hilary Swank

Other things we discussed…
The Hilaroo Foundation
Women’s March on Washington
Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss
The full collection from Mission Statement can be found here.
Don’t miss an episode of Pardon My French! Subscribe on iTunes and catch up with Garance every Thursday.


Add yours
  • She is a force of nature and at the same time so vulnerable and so humble. Thanks Garance to close the gap between us and the people we admire so much. Love this conversations.


  • Great interview. I love what she says about perseverance. And she looks so much younger than 42!

  • Very inspiring interview x

    Jessica — NinetyCo 

  • I love Hilary Swank, but I am in a bit of shock at the disconnect between growing up in a trailer park and then designing a clothing line that is absolutely out of reach for the average person (see: a $595 sweater, an $895 jacket). I understand that the line is meant to be high fashion and aimed at a more affluent consumer–but I’m surprised that’s the direction she chose to go, given her background. As someone who grew up without much money (and in an area with many trailer parks), I would’ve been more impressed if she created a similar line that was more accessible for the majority of her fan base. It just feels a little out of touch and strange to me–but that being said, the clothes are beautiful, and I do understand wanting to create a stand-alone line rather than a collab with Target, for example. Just thinking out loud here :)

  • She has such an intensity about her – pretty incredible. It’s interesting that she came from a lower socioeconomic class, and now her clothing line sells $400 tennis dresses. Part of me finds that inspiring, but the other half of me finds it strange and out of keeping with her organization for foster children… By selling the clothes for Mission Statement at that price point, it feels like she is shutting the door on the people who live the way she did in her childhood. Do any of the proceeds on the clothes go to a charity or something? She seems like a highly empathetic person, and so I’m baffled by her choice in target audience for her clothes.

  • Wow juste Hilary Swank! Vous êtes belles

  • Having seen H. Swank from time to time at Will Rogers State Park…she is truly an athletic beauty. Yes, this is pricey stuff and it looks well done – way beyond what most women want to do athletics in. However, in Los Angeles there are plenty of women who will buy and have NO intention of breaking a sweat. She is plenty bright and this is collection #1 yes? She’ll figure it out.

  • Je la trouve absolument ravissante, de ces beautés naturelles et sportives que j’aime beaucoup ! Et quelle énergie ! Merci pour cette jolie interview.

  • Vraiment cool interview et une telle franklly entrevue agréable et nous espérons que l’avenir est si brillant votre

  • Grand entretien bien fait et super impressionnant

  • Great interview, Garance. Hillary Swank is one of the most inspiring persons because she never allows herself to be pigeonholed. Thank you for featuring her and giving inspiration to many!

  • Inspiring All to Never Ever Give Up! January, 13 2017, 6:26 / Reply

    Women design. Women act. Women give back. No matter their origins. Everyday, women, young and old, feel that they can do more, and Hillary Swank found this out early in life. Kudos! Wonderful interview, Garance.

  • Very sincere interview!!!

  • Simple et tellement inspirante ! ?


  • Simple et tellement inspirante


  • Finally got to hear the whole thing. WOW! I loved it!!!! Thank you for doing this interview, Hiliary and Garance! I am so loving podcasts of conversations between grown women that talk about substance in their lives. So interesting to hear about Hiliary´s life and what she is doing with it- today. She is SO giving back. Such an inspiration for women of all ages. I feel very honoured to hear this conversation and I have taken it to heart. Makes me want to go out of my comfort zone and do more in my community. Isn´t that what´s it all about in life? Good job! (What´s fun with podcasts- is that while we hear the communication, our visual senses are also tuned in- I could actually “see” the smiles and sparkle in your eyes while listening ;-))

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