Tilda Swinton’s exquisitely bizarre W Mag photoshoot: amazing & alien-tastic?

Tilda Swinton is the cover lady for the May issue of W Magazine. The pictorial is called “Stranger Than Paradise” and Tilda is photographed by Tim Walker in a variety of crazy ensembles and situations, all done at the exquisitely bizarre Mexican estate Las Pozas. I have no idea if the photos are supposed to tell a particular story, or if the story – as always with Tilda – is simply that “Tilda is magnificently strange.” You can see the full pictorial here. From what I can see, Tilda didn’t sit down for a formal interview, choosing perhaps to simply collaborate with her photographer friend Walker and then just drop this wonderful story on the W Mag writer:

“Being beautiful was never really something I associated with people I knew—certainly not girls,” she says. “Boys, maybe. Horses, yes, and certainly my great-grandmother Elsie Swinton, whose imperial grandeur was like a watermark.” A drawing of Elsie, by John Singer Sargent, once hung in Tilda’s family’s sitting room, just above the television. “I saw her looking out of the corner of her eye, straight at me, during my teenage years—a knowing, engaging, and infinitely amused attitude,” Swinton recalls. “She was dark and luscious, unlike the rest of us, who are sandy and pale. Not looking like her felt, somehow, like being born on the wrong side of the beauty tracks.”

[From W Magazine]

Sigh… Tilda. I wish I could talk/think/be like that. Just drop little nuggets of awesomeness randomly, whilst wearing a full-length taffeta skirt with a bustle, leopard-print gloves and a metal bra, and I would just say: “Beauty cannot be ascribed to mere mortals, only horses.” And then I would saunter off, humming a few notes of “Clair de Lune” and teasing my hair into a Mohawk. I have one explanation for why Tilda doesn’t look like her great-grandmother: because Tilda is an alien. There. Done. Case closed.

Photos courtesy of W Magazine.

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77 Responses to “Tilda Swinton’s exquisitely bizarre W Mag photoshoot: amazing & alien-tastic?”

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  1. GossipG says:

    She cant do wrong by me…BEAUTIFUL…

  2. T.Fanty says:

    Tilda Swinton is the ONLY person who could get away with that photoshoot. And look awesome while doing so.

    Also, the horse quote made me snort my tea.

  3. Cherry says:

    OMG! AMAZING photos. She’s a work of art all by herself, but these pics are really magnificently done.

  4. embertine says:

    This is possibly the best thing I have ever seen.

  5. Anmelt says:

    Looked up the painting of her grandmother. Wow, she was a real beauty. Many of the old society ladies do not look particularly beautiful to me but Elsie Swinton is exactly as Tilda describes in her interview.

  6. mkyarwood says:

    Noway, Tilda has her great grandmother’s nose tip, chin and lip shape, even if they are thinner. It’s in there.

  7. ds says:

    Love the shoot, but would love to see her in something unexpected, ’cause when you hear Tilda and magazine this is what you have in mind.

  8. allons- y alonso says:

    Tilda Swinton is just effortlessly cool.

  9. FirstTimer says:

    One of the coolest women ever. Love!

  10. loma says:

    How can it be?? Tilda brings a sense of creativity to any damn thing she touches. Love her

  11. bns says:

    She is exquisite. Only she can be so pretentious without being obnoxious.

  12. Nev says:

    The ones with the black netting. So happening.

  13. MonicaQ says:

    I love her look. Can’t figure out why but she always looks something more than human in a good way.

  14. Audrey says:

    Some of those are downright freaky looking, “good” freaky, but still freaky.

  15. Arock says:

    Goddess. What’s amazing is how sincere and conventional she makes her oddity look without ever drawing attention to the fact that it is itself, odd and unconventional. her presence embodies the sound of a small, feminine inward gasp and a sonic boom all at once.

  16. Nanea says:


    She’s ethereal and otherworldly and unique.

    This is why I like her so much, even if I don’t agree with everything she says.

  17. ladybert62 says:

    WOW! Those are downright scarey! And beautiful in a strange way – she is probably the only one who could do this so successfully!

  18. Mew says:

    Amazing!! This is true art, not some meat-dress by Gaga.

  19. nuzzybear says:

    She. Is. 52. Years. Old.

    How many lines from “Orlando” define her now?

    “She’s lived for 400 years and hardly aged a day; but, because this is England, everyone pretends not to notice.”

    “Do not fade. Do not wither. Do not grow old.”

    “Orlando, to me you were and always will be, whether male or female, the pink, the pearl, and the perfection of your sex.”

  20. Evadstructn says:

    Meh. It’s a giggle.

  21. Lemony says:

    She is beautifully terrifying. Love her!

  22. RHONYC says:

    she is my fairygodmuse!

    of how i do love thee, godmummie Tilda.

    & no joke y’all ever since falling in love with Tina Turner’s hair as a kid, i’ve been wearing my hair like pic #3 around my house.

    now that i’m wearing my natural-textured hair…i’m looking for a gig to wear my hair out like that every damn day. i swear its my favorite style since middle school. this & Aimee Mann’s Til Tuesday hair. lol

    ultra liberating. *sigh* :-)

  23. Diana says:

    See? Actresses CAN be feature in magazines and not be sexually exploted by being shown half naked and mouth-breathing throughout the affair. When one is interesting there is no need to oversexualize everything.

  24. Thiajoka says:

    Tilda Swinton and David Bowie are two of the most weirdly beautiful people ever and they both know how to use this to their advantage. Beautiful pictures–just excellent!

  25. Sassy says:

    I honestly do not get her appeal. I’m sure I’m in the minority. Oh well.

  26. Helvetica says:

    She is so fantastically weird and in a league of her own.

    Always comes off as intelligent and bohemian.

  27. Tania says:

    I adore her. I love that she pushes the boundaries of conventional beauty and the definition of femininity. This IS beautiful, without implants, stilettos and an open mouth. Beauty personified.

  28. Heathers says:

    I love these shots. Very creative and she looks beautiful in all of them. I’ve hated some of her “alien” shoots in the past, but this one is awesome.

  29. BengalCat2000 says:

    Back in the day my ex (much older bf, sadly now deceased) introduced me to her awesomeness in “Orlando”. It changed my perspective (sp?) of what beauty could be. She’s been my girl-crush since.

  30. Bread and Circuses says:


    Just, wow. Her awesomeness smites my eloquence.

  31. picopink says:

    I think she is beautiful and these pictures don’t do her justice. Looks like someone was trying to get the pictures to look weird as they could think of in a random way. Bizarre and offputting imo.

  32. It is ME!! says:

    This woman has her own planet of awesome. She occasionally lets us go to there.

  33. emma says:

    love Tilda.
    love these pictures.
    I had no idea she was Scottish royalty basically.

  34. Thora says:

    Unconventionally attractive I guess.