Selma Blair Poses Proudly With Cane for 'British Vogue' Cover: 'It's an Extension of Me' 

The actress opens up about the many on-set hurdles she faced before receiving her life-changing MS diagnosis.

Selma Blair looks stunning. The 50-year-old actress poses for the cover of British Vogue's May 2023 issue with one key accessory -- her cane -- proudly on display. 

"I have an emotional and physical attachment to the cane," she tells the mag. "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's interview serves as one piece of a larger portfolio for the mag, created with and for the disabled community.

Blair stands tall and smolders for her photo shoot, channeling her inner superhero with a caped dress on the cover. In another shot, she opts for a classic black strapless gown. In an effort to be honest about the reality of her multiple sclerosis diagnosis, she admits to spending the remainder of her day in bed after wrapping up at the shoot. 

"I require more sleep than a bear in winter," she says. 

Blair opens up about her lifetime of symptoms, including losing the use of her her right eye, left leg and her bladder at seven years old. "If you’re a boy with those symptoms, you get an MRI. If you’re a girl, you’re called 'crazy,'" she says. 

Growing into adulthood, Blair says she learned to keep her symptoms a secret. 

"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," she recalls.

"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," she continues, noting that she lived in "terror." 

Taking a step back from the industry in 2009, Blair says she could barely make it to auditions. 

"My autoimmune system was misfiring… losing most of my hair and all of my energy. I kinda bowed out [after the show]. It was a French exit and everybody else stayed at the party… My self-hatred was extreme. I could not manage well and I couldn’t even try to find work… It was a running joke. How far was the audition? How many naps would I fit in on the side of the road before and after? [When I quit acting] I spent my days in bed, crying, sometimes binge drinking, sometimes reading and sleeping, seeing doctors and healers… I gave up almost until the diagnosis. I was always terrified I would be deemed incapable. Or mentally unsound. My mother taught me that was death for a woman career-wise."

Blair was diagnosed with the disorder in 2018 and has since undergone a hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Today, she says she's using her voice to help Hollywood move forward in its inclusivity. 

"I don’t know if performing was seen as a viable option for disabled actors. Isn’t that a wild thing to say? Doors are closed until they are held open," she says. "Infrastructure [on sets is] still an issue, isn’t it? Disabled bathrooms. Ramps. But there are people in high places enacting change. It’s the disabled representation by disabled people behind and in front of the camera or stage that will set this tone. I have hope for the industry. Times are changing. I want to encourage this by just being a loud squeaky wheel. And listening. And getting loud."

She adds with a laugh, "Once I wake up."

In her personal life, Blair is focused on raising her son, Arthur, 11, as a single mom but is "open" to love. 

"I have grown not to expect much. I don’t get asked out. It takes patience and sensitivity, and I won’t compromise anymore. I am happy with what I have, but open to more one day," she muses. "I like brilliant people. I could use a brilliant man who loved me. Perhaps. I don’t know…"

Blair's longtime friend and Sweetest Thing co-star, Christina Applegate, who was also diagnosed with MS in 2021, sang Blair's praises to the mag. 

"Selma has had an incredible impact on the MS community but, more so, she’s had an impact on how the world views it," Applegate says, crediting her friend with encouraging her to seek medical attention after reporting some troubling symptoms.

"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," she says.

Speaking with ET during her turn on Dancing With the Stars last fall, Blair gushed over her relationship with Applegate. 

"Christina still supports me. She's just a strong one," Blair revealed. "She really is. She's such a nurturer. If you need something she's at your house. There have been things that I had been unglued, and she's like, 'I'm outside. Answer the door.' She's just amazing and strong and fun."

"But I'm more like, 'OK, if you need help with canes,' and that stuff, 'cause I'm like, really into all of that, like all the things that help me get around, but she's getting it locked down," she continued. "She has a lot on her plate. It's a lot, but she's as brilliant and beautiful as ever."