Two weeks ago this Sunday, Selma Blair showed up at the Vanity Fair Oscar party and took over the red carpet. I’ve been saving these pictures ever since, saving them for today, International Women’s Day. It was Selma’s first public appearance since revealing her MS diagnosis last fall. All actors want the biggest stage, right? This is not shade. If you saw Selma’s interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America last week, you would have seen her sense of humour about the dramatic flair – the moment comes near the end, at the 5 minute mark if you want to skip ahead, but if you haven’t watched this, few things today will be worth as much of your time:
“No one has the energy to talk when they’re in a flare-up. But I do…because I love a camera!”
And a long red carpet cleared just for her on Oscar night. Dramatic pose. Hair flip. Smize.
That’s the work that Selma is doing here: she’s showing us that a person with a disability can still have those moments, should still have those moments, does not have to be afraid of those moments. She’s making her disability visible in an environment where “perfection” is the standard. As Dani-Elle Dubé wrote this week in Flare:
I’m happy to see Blair be so public with her MS—especially when she’s doing so in heels and a blinged-out cane. Her positivity and humour is shining through and I think her approach is allowing people to see another (dare I say younger?) side to disabilities.
Dani-Elle was diagnosed with MS just before she turned 21. According to the Mayo Clinic, “women are about twice as likely as men are to develop MS”. It can start as early as 15. This is what Dani-Elle was getting at in her essay: MS is very often a disease that affects young women and there haven’t been very many young women with the disease giving it, and disability in general, a public face.
Maybe if I had someone I could relate to during the early years of my journey—a young, vibrant career-driven woman, like Blair—the fight would have seemed a little less lonely. But I hope her story helps the next batch of young women diagnosed with MS, or any other disease or disability. And I hope it encourages more people to understand what we’re all going through.
Dani-Elle also points out in her piece that even when disability is covered in Hollywood, it’s talked about like a “death sentence”. She cites Michael J Fox as an example, how the media at the time of Michael’s diagnosis went heavy on it like it could only be a tragedy without much focus on the hope. This is not how Selma Blair is going about her story – it’s not how she was with Robin Roberts and it’s not how she’s profiled in Vanity Fair. In fact, it’s right in the title, “There’s No Tragedy For Me: Selma Blair’s Transformation”, accompanied by a killer photo shoot and an interview that’s as much about her work as it is about her disability. She’s been working on a movie and a TV series. The goal of the article is to raise awareness of MS but also, Selma’s raising awareness for herself – like, hey Hollywood, what’s up, I’m still around, and pretty popular now so you should put me in your next movie, call my agent!
Also? The clothes for people with disabilities suck and she’s looking to design some better ones because, well, clearly Selma knows about clothes and style. So, no. This is not a f-cking tragedy. Selma Blair is here to tell us that people with disabilities aren’t tragic. They are sometimes sad. They are tired and of course they struggle. But they have great comic timing, they have attitude, they can be extra (look at some of these poses!), they are funny and they have fun, and most important, they are here, this space is theirs too. On this International Women’s Day, this space belongs to Selma Blair.
Have a great weekend!
Yours in gossip,