Scottish-Australian actress, model and fashion icon TILDA SWINTON stars in the hotly-anticipated new Wes Anderson project, The French Dispatch, coming to cinemas in October 2021. Her movie with Pedro Almodóvar, The Human Voice, shot during the pandemic and out now, is making waves as one of the most beautiful projects to come out of 2020.
INSPIRE DESIGNERS Karl Lagerfeld cast her in Chanel’s “Métiers d’Art Paris-Edinbourg” campaign and she has been muse to Viktor & Rolf, Lanvin, Céline and Dior.
SPEAK fluent Italian and Russian.
SHARE a unique status with Marion Cotillard. They are the only two women ever to have won a BAFTA, Golden Globe, SAG, and Critics’ Choice nomination for one particular role.
LOVE gardening, and dogs. She had nine dogs, at one point, and describes herself as a dog pervert. “If we see a dog on the corner we will say ‘Oh look at that!’ Mmmm.”
HAVE a posh past. Before studying Political Science at Cambridge, she attended West Heath boarding school, where Princess Diana was her classmate.
TAKE great interest in the education of future generations. She is currently directing a documentary about progressive education systems around the world. She also co-founded the Drumdaun Upper School in Scotland, which her own children attended.
TOWER over many of her co-stars – she is 5’11”.
HAVE two specific style icons, both male: David Bowie, and her father, Major General Sir John Swinton. “My aesthetic North Stars. The individuals with whom I share the same planetary DNA.”
DRIVE a Skoda.
THINK that children ought to have one extra birthday when they turn eight and a half. Her foundation gives movies to kids on their “eight-and-a-half” birthday because she says kids this age are prey to multiplex movies and bland television shows, and ought to develop their cinematic palates.
PUSH ARTISTIC BOUNDARIES In 1995, she made a live art installation with producer Joanna Scanlan at the Serpentine Gallery, London, in which she slept, or appeared to, in a glass case, for a full week.
COME from common stock. The Swinton family – on her father’s side – is one of only three that can trace its unbroken land ownership and lineage to before the Norman Conquest. Her mother is Australian.
DRINK – or rather, can’t. “I do try, it doesn’t really work. I either go to sleep or throw up.”
BELIEVE in having a stylist, calling them “a fantasy” and dresses herself for red carpet events and appearances.
HAVE snobbish taste in movies. Despite her high-calibre list of film credits, she admits School of Rock (2003) is one of her all-time favourites, and was first in line at her local cinema in Inverness when the new Transformers movie came out.
ENGAGE with social media. “I am a complete Luddite … I just have other things to do. I know it’s going on. It’s like there’s a forest on fire somewhere down the end of the garden, but I’m concentrating on the roses.”
IDENTIFY as queer, despite being in a heterosexual relationship with German visual artist Sandro Kopp since 2004. “I’m very clear that queer is actually, for me anyway, to do with sensibility. I always felt that I was queer – I was just looking for my queer circus, and I found it.” She used to live with both Sandro and her ex-husband.
HANKER AFTER accolades. “If you’d asked me when I was ten or 20, I would have said my only ambitions were to live in a family, to have friends that made me laugh and laughed at my jokes, and to live in the highlands of Scotland, by the sea with a lot of dogs and a kitchen garden.”
BELIEVE IN the word “British” Speaking to the BBC in 2020, she said she felt the word was “sort of a strictly-for-export term. I don’t really know what it means. I think it has something to do with a political attitude.”
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