She has won the Academy Award for Best Actress twice, for playing Brandon Teena in Boys Don't Cry (1999) and a struggling waitress-turned-boxer Maggie Fitzgerald in Million Dollar Baby (2004).
Swank made her film acting debut in the 1992 film Buffy the Vampire Slayer in a small role, after which she acted in the direct-to-video drama Quiet Days in Hollywood.
Her first leading film role was in The Next Karate Kid (1994), which utilized her gymnastics background and paired her with Pat Morita.
In 2006 Swank signed a three-year contract with Guerlain for the women's fragrance Insolence.
She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 8, 2007.
Swank is also known for her roles in Insomnia (2002), The Reaping (2007) and P.S. I Love You (2007).
The surname “Swank”, originally Schwenk, is of German origin.
She also competed in the Junior Olympics and the Washington state championships in swimming, and she ranked fifth in the state in all-around gymnastics.
Swank made her first appearance on stage when she was nine years old, starring in The Jungle Book.
She became involved in school and community theater programs, including those of the Bellingham Theatre Guild and The Seattle Children's Theater.
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