The Invincible Woman, Selma Blair

Long before we met, I thought I knew who Selma Blair was. As a pop culture buff, I'd watched her work, and I believed I could surmise what her life was like through red carpet photos, magazine covers, and movie screens. I came of age, and Blair rose to stardom, in an era before social media, when fans put public figures on a pedestal and projected a grandeur onto their every moment. On a recent Saturday night Blair and I met over Zoom. She was perched in front of a blue wall in her Los Angeles home, wearing a dreamy sequined Molly Goddard dress, with one knee pulled to her chest. I was in a New York hotel room, wearing my best red lip and quickly learning how wrong I had been.

In conversation, Blair is wonderfully human. Of course, you're aware that she's a movie star, but since she disclosed her multiple sclerosis diagnosis on Instagram in 2018, Blair has become more than just her profession, she's been a light for many disabled people. After her disclosure, I was one of many disabled people who felt seen, understood, and, strangely, hopeful. As a public figure who has been open about her disability and the ways in which it can be both beautiful and frustrating, she has made room for many of us to do the same. More important, she's a full person whose life includes her illness, but she is not solely defined by it. Blair is a world famous actress, someone with MS, a goofball, a beauty buff, a fashion plate, and a fierce mother. The fact that she is able to be all these things at once and out loud makes her feel like something more than the sum of her parts, something like a messenger of hope.

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