Hilary Swank proves that even if you’ve won an Oscar (or two), the struggle is very real for actresses in Hollywood.
Swank attended a dinner party taped for Chelsea Handler’s Netflix talk show, “Chelsea,” this week and explained that winning Oscars didn’t automatically place her on easy street.
For example, she said her salary for “Boys Don’t Cry,” the breakout film that earned Swank her first Oscar, in 2000, wasn’t enough to get health insurance.
“When I did ‘Boys Don’t Cry,’ I was 24 years old. I made $3,000,” Swank told the other women at the dinner. “In order to have health insurance, you have to make $5,000. So I didn’t even know that I didn’t have health insurance until I went in and tried to get a prescription filled. … I had an Academy Award, no health insurance.”
Swank clearly learned how to keep an eye on her salaries as she moved along. After winning a second Oscar, for “Million Dollar Baby” in 2005, she discovered the harsh reality of Hollywood’s wage gap.
“Then I win my second Academy Award,” Swank said, “and the next couple movies later, I get offered a movie. But the male hadn’t had any kind of critical success, but had been in a movie where he was ‘hot.’ And he got offered $10 million, and I got offered $500,000.”
That comes out to just 5% of what the man was offered. Swank said she turned down the job and was replaced by a newcomer, who made just $50,000.
“So they made a savings of $450 [thousand] probably to give the guy his bonuses,” Swank said.
Watch a portion of the interview from “Chelsea” below: