'Legally Blonde' co-star discusses living with multiple sclerosis
“Introducing, Selma Blair” really is a case of reintroducing Selma Blair as she’s living her life now.
Known for her caustic humor and such movies as “Legally Blonde” and “Cruel Intentions,” the actress has dealt with health problems for years, but only in 2018 was the cause diagnosed as multiple sclerosis. The single mother-of-one has been public about her recent struggles — and that now encompasses director Rachel Fleit’s “Introducing, Selma Blair” documentary that makes its discovery+ streaming debut Thursday, Oct. 21, a week after its limited theatrical release (and after its world premiere during March’s online South by Southwest Festival).
“I don’t have advice,” Blair notes of doing the film. “I just wanted to lead by example of saying, ‘This is just where I am.’ If I slow down and have patience with myself, I do find that this too shall pass … whether it’s a glitch in thinking, a movement or something else. Everyone’s journey is their own, so I can only speak for myself, but I’ve always been very calm in my diagnosis because I’ve been carrying around some sort of chronic illness for a long time. I’m learning, like everyone else.”
“The thing that’s so remarkable about Selma’s experience,” says filmmaker Fleit, “is that it just feels so universal. Whether it’s MS or — I have alopecia areata, or if someone else has a chronic illness or disability, or is just walking around in the world feeling uncomfortable in their skin — I think she really has been an inspiration to show us, first of all, it’s one day at a time. And second, we just must embrace ourselves. Selma just has been this sort of lightning rod to be able to really show the world what it’s like to be in her body.”
Having her condition in the COVID-19 age, Blair explains feeling that “I just entered this pandemic time earlier than everyone. We’ve all gotten a kind of diagnosis. It’s called ‘living right now.’ I think everyone’s really realized a lot of our mortality, what you want to do in this time. It taught me a lot more patience and understanding, but I don’t feel that I hold the key to this particular isolation or challenge. I absolutely feel we’re all in it now, in the same space I was.”
With that, Blair largely appreciates the response to her and her situation. “You’re under some scrutiny that can affect you and take away a lot of energy,” she allows, “but I have to say I honestly feel like I have friends. When I go out in public, if they say ‘Hey,’ I’m good with that. I love if people feel affected or moved.”