Selma Blair has graced the cover of British Vogue, in a stunning portrait that highlights her mobility aid; a cane that she has carried since her multiple sclerosis diagnosis.
“I have an emotional and physical attachment to the cane,” Blair told British Vogue. “I settle in my voice and body as soon as I hold (it). It’s an extension of me. And 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.”
Blair recalled her first symptoms appearing in her childhood, when she began losing control of her eye, leg, and bladder. Though she managed her symptoms throughout her youth, she feels as though they could have been addressed sooner: “If you’re a boy with those symptoms, you get an MRI. If you’re a girl, you’re called ‘crazy.’”
By the time she was a household name, her symptoms were becoming severe.
“I was worried since the beginning of time that a glaring fault would remove me from the workforce. And usually it was my incoordination or getting stuck, too weak or sick, in my trailer – or any time, really. The vomiting or body issues were terrifying, [and the] baldness or rashes. 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 LA.”
Now, Blair is proud of her personal progress and the progress brought about by the disabled community. Her MS is currently in remission, as the result of a stem-cell replacement surgery. The cane, however, is here to stay; not as a tool, but as an extension of herself.