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Raised by a single mother, Hilary grew up poor. But when Hilary was just 15 years old, her mom, Judy, was fired from her job as a secretary. The two decided to pack up their car and, with just $75 in cash, head to California to pursue Hilary's acting dreams.

Judy says that she remembers when she decided to leave for California: "In Washington it rains a lot. I was standing at the window and it was raining. I thought, 'What am I going to do? We have no income. How can I do this?' And I actually said, 'I know the Lord doesn't give you more than you can handle, but my plate is really full right now and I don't know what to do.' And then, all of a sudden, the sun broke through those rainy clouds. And it hit me: You didn't give me more. You took it away. You took away the thing that was kind of holding me here, which was money. You took it away and I am free to go. I'm free to take this beautiful child of mine to go follow her dream."

Hilary says, "I have this kind of crazy optimism in my life and it's because of my mom. My mom instilled that in me. My mom said you can. If I said, 'Oh, I don't know if I'm going to be able…' 'Don't say that. You can. Don't put that in your head, you can do it.'"
FROM: Hilary Swank and Oscar® Nominees
Published on January 31, 2005


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