Skip to content

    Women's Health

    Font Size

    Hilary Swank's New Role: Malaria Hero

    In her latest film, the actress plays a mom determined to eradicate the disease.

    Swank's Beautiful, Powerful Roles continued...

    One thing she's adamant about is setting a positive and healthful example for her female fans. "I choose roles that don't involve a lot of vanity," she says. "I'm not the girl on the guy's arm; that's not my MO. One of the things that bothers me the most is when the press asks, ‘When are you going to play a pretty girl?' I get that all the time. To me, the characters I play are beautiful!"

    There are few good role models available for girls, she says. "When I see young girls struggling with what they look like -- as if that's the most important thing in life -- who think they can't be successful or achieve their goals if they don't look a certain's the most misrepresented ideal! You see [unattainable expectations for women] on billboards, on television, in movies, on magazine covers...give me a break! I'm just trying to find a way to get that message out there."

    5 Things to Know About Hilary Swank, the Athlete

    1. Hilary Swank is not just a champion when it comes to acting. A born athlete, Swank competed in the Junior Olympics as a teenager -- "swimming was my sport; I used to train four hours a day" -- and she also pursued competitive gymnastics. "Exercise for me is like breathing or eating," Swank says.

    2. "There are so many great things about sports for everyone, particularly for women. I think you realize what you're capable of achieving physically, and how you can be strong and still be feminine."

    3. "I change my workout steadily. I don't like to be bored. When I do different things, my body reacts the best. Wherever I am, I find a trainer at least two times a week. And I switch it up. In the summer I'm hiking, playing tennis, swimming in the ocean, water skiing, anything I can do outdoors. In the winter I play squash, and I love to snow ski."

    4. "I love Pilates. I've done it for years. I do Power Pilates in New York with a stupendous teacher. She sees everything. You can breathe through the moves and not get much of a workout, or you can do the move right and barely be able to get up out of a chair the next day!"

    5. "I try to work out at least four times a week. Sometimes I can't do more, but I try never to do less. When I don't exercise, I feel sluggish. And when I feel that way, I know it's time to get moving."

    Today on WebMD

    hands on abdomen
    Test your knowledge.
    womans hand on abdomen
    Are you ready for baby?
    birth control pills
    Learn about your options.
    Is it menopause or something else?
    woman in bathtub
    bp app on smartwatch and phone
    estrogen gene

    Send yourself a link to download the app.

    Loading ...

    Please wait...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    Blood pressure check
    hot water bottle on stomach
    Attractive young woman standing in front of mirror