Making a difference! Selma Blair graced the May 2023 cover of British Vogue — and struck a pose with her cane amid her battle with multiple sclerosis.
“I have an emotional and physical attachment to the cane. I settle in my voice and body as soon as I hold [it],” Blair, 50, told the outlet in an interview published on Thursday, April 20. “I know it adds to visibility. So many younger people have started publicly embracing their sticks more. I do think representation matters. If I can help remove stigma or over-curiosity in a crowd for someone else, then that’s great.”
The Cruel Intentions star donned two looks for the photo shoot: a beige cutout gown and matching Valentino heels [on the cover and a black The Row dress with Manolo Blahnik stilettos for a second pic. Blai was one of 19 creatives from the disabled community to be featured in the issue — which was shot by photographer Adama Jalloh.
The Legally Blonde actress told the outlet that her cane has become an “extension” of herself since being diagnosed with MS in August 2018. (She publicly disclosed her condition via social media two months later.)
Blair — who shares 11-year-old son Arthur with ex Jason Bleick — has remained candid about navigating her health challenges in the spotlight, even starring in a documentary about her diagnosis, Introducing, Selma Blair, which premiered in March 2021. She joined season 31 of Dancing With the Stars in September 2022, returning to the ballroom for the finale two months later after exiting the series prematurely due to her ongoing symptoms.
The Michigan native attended the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards, walking onto the stage with her cane to present the final award at the September 2022 ceremony. Her appearance was met with a standing ovation from the crowd.
While the Joe, Duncan, Jack and Jane alum is outspoken about her battle now, she struggled to come to terms with her health issues earlier in her career and masked her symptoms by self-medicating.
“Sets were excruciating sometimes with the exhaustion and the tics. I took benzos and Klonopin, [a medication used to prevent seizures and anxiety disorders]. I didn’t abuse those things, just alcohol,” she told British Vogue in her cover story. “But I was lost and sad and could hardly ever smile. Hence my roles, I imagine.”
Blair shared that she was “worried” a “glaring fault” would “remove” her from her career, whether it was “incoordination” or being “too weak or sick” to do the job. The After star was terrified of being “found out” by her superiors.
“The vomiting or body issues were terrifying, [and the] baldness or rashes,” she recalled to the outlet. “I remember being very, very poorly on Hellboy and was diagnosed with cat scratch fever and possible leukemia in Prague. I couldn’t tell anybody. I couldn’t admit alcoholism or [access] treatment in my insurance for fear I’d be deemed an insurance risk. I fell apart once I got back to L.A.”
Now, however, Blair’s empowering advocacy is making a real difference in the MS community. Christina Applegate, who revealed in August 2021 she had been diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder, gushed over her friend’s influence.
“Selma has had an incredible impact on the MS community but, more so, she’s had an impact on how the world views it,” the Dead to Me alum, 51, explained the British magazine. “I was sitting in Selma’s living room, our children playing, and I told Selma I’d been having this weird tingling in my feet. She said, ‘You must get tested for MS.’ [Even my doctor doubted it] but there it was. In essence, because of her I’m going to have a better quality of life.”