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Hilary Swank Talks Poor Childhood and Career Success

Hilary Swank and Paz Vega at the Madrid Masters
Hilary Swank attends the Madrid Masters final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Also spotted at the match was Paz Vega, who sat next to Hilary. (Bauer Griffin)more pics »Hilary Swank grew up in a trailer park in Washington, and she says she was shunned by her classmates because their parents didn't want them hanging out with someone from a poor background.

She said: "I grew up feeling like an outsider because we had no money, so I understood 'classism' at a young age. A lot of parents didn't want their kids playing with me, even though the kids didn't care."

Swank feels like she fits in in Hollywood (Getty)
The 35-year-old star was forced to spend her spare time reading and watching movies, where the characters became the closest thing she had to friends.

She explained: "Because I experienced that, my friends became characters in books or movies. That's what I could relate to. The first three movies I remember watching -- The Elephant Man, The Miracle Worker and The Wizard of Oz -- were all about outsiders facing adversity."

However, Hilary feels as though her film career, which has seen her win two Best Actress Academy Awards, has helped her finally fit in.

She explained to Britain's Cosmopolitan magazine: "The fact that people I admire so much have embraced me with the awards means that I don't feel like such an outsider any more. I've grown up and experienced a lot in life, and have traveled and seen the world. What I recognized was that I wasn't alone and everyone has that feeling. But my job brings me so much joy, I'm always on the film set thinking 'How did I get so lucky?' I don't ever want to take it for granted."

More pictures of Hilary Swank (click any photo):
  • Hilary Swank in Hilary Swank and Paz Vega at the Madrid Masters
  • Hilary Swank in Hilary Swank and Paz Vega at the Madrid Masters
  • Hilary Swank in Hilary Swank and Paz Vega at the Madrid Masters
  • Hilary Swank in Hilary Swank and Paz Vega at the Madrid Masters
  • Hilary Swank in Hilary Swank and Paz Vega at the Madrid Masters
  • Hilary Swank in Hilary Swank and Paz Vega at the Madrid Masters
  • Hilary Swank in Hilary Swank and Paz Vega at the Madrid Masters
  • Hilary Swank in Hilary Swank and Paz Vega at the Madrid Masters
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