Hilary Ann Swank (born July 30, 1974) is an American actress. Swank's film career began with a small part in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) and then a major part in The Next Karate Kid (1994), as Julie Pierce, the first female protégé of sensei Mr. Miyagi. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress twice, as Brandon Teena, a transman in Boys Don't Cry (1999) and as struggling waitress-turned-boxer Maggie Fitzgerald in Million Dollar Baby (2004). Since 2003, Swank has also worked as an executive producer.
Swank was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, , the daughter of Judy Kay (née Clough), a secretary and former dancer, and Stephen Michael Swank, an officer in the Air National Guard and later a traveling salesman. She has a brother, Daniel, who is eight years her senior. According to Swank, her maternal grandmother was of Spanish and Shoshone (Native American) ancestry, and many of Swank's family members hail from Ringgold County, Iowa. Her surname, originally Schwenk, is of German origin. After having lived in Spokane, Washington, the family moved to a trailer park near Lake Samish in Bellingham, Washington when Swank was six.