Tilda Swinton transcends Hollywood


I’ve always thought Tilda

was a fascinating woman, but ever since the Oscars, I’ve upgraded her to amazing. While

the fashionistas ripped her makeup-free face and Hefty-bag chic, I though

she was one of the most striking women on the red carpet (OK, fine,

the trash bag was weird, but she still managed to almost pull it off).

That blaze of red hair and those porcelain angles make it nearly impossible

not to stop and stare. And have I mentioned the suits?

Tilda graces the cover of Out magazine’s

April “Transgender Issue.”

While the Oscar-winning actress isn’t trans, she does delightfully

blur the boundaries with her style, attitude and roles. Anyone who saw

her in 1992’s avant garde epic Orlando knows she can gender-bend

with the best of them. Also, sweet fancy Moses, does she ever look good

in a suit.

And what’s great about

Tilda is that the more I read about her, the more amazing she becomes.

Like, what did she want to eat during her Out interview? Mashed

potatoes or “anything I can eat with a teaspoon, basically. I’m

not really up to a fork.” How delightfully weird. But there’s nothing

weird about Tilda’s take on making art.

“I’ve never been

comfortable calling myself an actress or an actor. It sounds pretentious

to say, but it’s actually me trying not to be pretentious.

I just don’t know how to act, particularly. I think of myself more

as an artist’s model than anything.”

That self-analysis may be one

of the best descriptions of her I’ve ever read. Throughout her career,

Tilda has tended to make art, and not necessarily entertainment. Her

films are sometimes difficult to watch, sometimes bordering on awful.

But she has this way of turning herself into a canvas where the character

paints itself with bright, vibrant tones.

While some of the tabloids

recently tittered about her unconventional living arrangements, Tilda

saw no reason to hide her relationships. She lives with her long-time

artist husband, John Byrne, and went to the Oscars and other public

events recently with her younger lover and fellow artist Sandro Kopp.

How did she explain her relationships? “We ostensibly live in the

same house, but I travel the world with another delightful painter.”

Now that’s how you defuse gossip.

In an industry that champions

set gender roles, the fact that as androgynous an actress as Tilda has been able

to work and thrive is pretty amazing in and of itself. She told Out that her inherent

outsider status is one of the reasons she fees so connected to the gay community:

“I think there is

something very specific about a community of people who have by very

virtue of their sexuality had to be self-determining, that early realization,

that early decision, all the feelings of loneliness, all the feelings

of pride -— all of that is my home. There are things that … I take from

my background with great gratitude — things like a love of nature,

the idea of social responsibility, good manners, etc. — but I had to

make a departure very, very early, and maybe that’s the real key to

why I feel very much at home in the gay community.”

Like I said, amazing.

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