The English-born actress eschewed the traditional "Hollywood route" to stardom and instead chose stay in Europe to make films and work as a model – eventually leading to her becoming a fixture of the Swinging Sixties scene.
"I wanted to make more art house films, more independent films, films that perhaps were a little bit more difficult to make and certainly wouldn't necessarily put me on the Oscar trail," Rampling, 70, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive video.
"But, they're the films I chose do," she adds.
Despite her "unconventional" career path, Rampling eventually received an Oscar nomination. The Dexter alum earned a Best Actress nod for her performance in 45 Years, her first nomination ever.
For Rampling, the most important thing is to remain true to yourself.
"I've done what I've done, and I've done the best I can," she says. "Your life is what it is and your life is what you've made it. I can't really think back and say, 'Oh dear, I wish I had done it different' because I really don't want to do that."