Tilda Swinton’s Wisdom on Navigating the Industry When You Don’t Fit

Looking at Tilda Swinton’s career both in terms of diversity and longevity, one is ought to wonder how she managed to build such a bold resume from the get go, and to keep her direction. Unsurprisingly, during the masterclass of sorts she did at SXSW, Swinton was asked how she learned to navigate her relationship with an Industry known for keeping women on track.

Just like when she talked about how she picks her role, Swinton’s answer feels genuine and inspiring. Even though she doesn’t do it on purpose, she can be seen as a role-model for actors and active film-lovers at large who want to pursue a certain artistic sensitivity:

Tilda Swinton’s Wisdom on Navigating the Industry When You Don’t Fit

“I learned -and this is kind of heavy to say this, but I learned that the mountain does come to Mohammed. If you do your thing, and you’re doing it for all the right reasons, and you’re really bringing yourself with you, you’re not living yourself outside, and you’re chosing collaborators who want you, they don’t want you to leave yourself outside, they really want you and everything you can bring with you, it comes around.

And I learned that partly, as I said earlier, from Derek [Jarman], who just became central but not by chasing the center, by whiping the center around him, and that’s just how it works.

This is going to sound so trite, because everybody says this, but you just have to plant your feet in your own ground and be your own center.You know, bend your knees for sure, because there’s going to be some winds coming, but make sure you’re in your own ground.

I don’t know about the Industry and I don’t know how to make those compromises. You know there are people who will say, with very good reasons, “There’s a battle here to be lost for this reason”, and “Go and do this because then you’ll get a chance to do that”. I’ve never done that.

So I don’t know how to play that game, and I’m sure that it works for lots of people, but I’m just saying that, if you don’t feel you can do that, just keep breathing, just plant your feet, do it your way, and it might mean you’ll have to have really creative conversations with your bank manager, it probably will, because it’s not a get-rich quick thing, but just… the Culture is being built by us, it doesn’t belong to anybody else and we, you know, need to make deals with it, it’s ours, so we make it, right?

And you just do your thing and you will put another flick of skin on that body and it will become you-shaped.”