“I don’t know if I believed in myself or had the ambition before my diagnosis,” Blair says of continuing her career, which is marked by films including Cruel Intentions and Legally Blonde. “And oddly now I do, and I don’t know if it’s too late.”
Blair's uncertainty surrounding her career post-MS diagnosis follows five years of uncertainty about what could be causing her symptoms, which included neck pain, vertigo, loss of feeling in her leg, anxiety and depression. All of the doctors' declarations that Blair was being "dramatic" about her symptoms came to an end when a new physician ordered an M.R.I., which revealed 20 lesions covering her brain.
Blair tells the magazine that she listened to Pink's "Just Give Me a Reason" while in the machine, cried for 10 minutes following the diagnosis and then got back to living her life. She revealed her disease to the public in an October Instagram post and just made her first public appearance since the announcement at Vanity Fair's Oscars party on Sunday.
“It wasn’t about announcing a dramatic diagnosis. I had no idea, for some reason, that news outlets would pick it up or anything,” Blair says. “When they did, I was kind of uncomfortable. Then I was worried, thinking, Will anyone hire me?”
“... I’m pretty much a nobody in Hollywood,” she adds. “But when I read comments on Instagram from people who were suffering, whether it was from MS, or anything, I thought, 'Holy s**t, there’s a need for honesty about being disabled from someone recognizable.'”
After going public, Blair quips that she "reconnected with so many people who thought I might drop dead soon,” including Amy Schumer, Marc Jacobs and Kris Jenner.
Jenner, whom Blair portrayed in The People v. O.J. Simpson: AmericanCrime Story, sent Blair flowers that "were more expensive than my mortgage." The gesture reconnected the two women and Jenner has come to greatly admire Blair.
“She really is sharing something so vulnerable, and so scary,” Jenner says. “She showed me what courage is, and how to be brave. I changed a bit of the way I live my life because of her.”
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Blair's Cruel Intentions co-star, also speaks highly of her longtime friend, revealing that "there's a calmness to her" since the diagnosis.
"I think now she knows she can’t do everything, and it’s OK, some days, if she can’t," Gellar says. "… It’s been wonderful to watch her be more settled, more content, and almost more in control of herself in a weird way.”
Blair's new physical limitations -- which include having trouble dressing, uncontrollable noises from her body and an inability to raise her arms to brush her hair (hence her new bob) -- have resulted in a new closeness to her 7-year-old son Arthur and a "humility and a joy... albeit a fatigued joy."
“He wants to be closer to my body more, and I can tell he wants to make sure I’m still here inside," she says. "I used to be so athletic with him. Now I fall in front of him.”
Along with her MS diagnosis, Blair says “there were a couple of experiences in my recent adult life that transformed me.” One of those was a 2016 incident on a plane where she was removed from the aircraft when she blacked out after mistakenly taking an Ambien pill that she thought was her anxiety medication. When a doctor told Blair that her diagnosis would cause her life to "forever be different," Blair says she thought, "Well, thank God."
Though she says she wasn't drinking during the plane incident, it did prompt her to quit drinking, something she previously used to self-soothe in order to combat her emotional pain and cover up her unexplained physical discomfort.
“After I had my son and he’d go to his dad’s [fashion designer Jason Bleick], I started drinking because of the pain, one, of him not being with me, and two, my physical pain was so extreme that I would drink by myself," she admits. "That was also a warning to me. I’ve never been one who handled alcohol like a lady. I was self-medicating.”
Though Blair "never thought" her MS would "get this bad," she's focusing her efforts on bringing attention to people with disabilities.
"I really feel like people with disabilities are invisible to a lot of people," she says. "Because they’re uncomfortable, or don’t have the energy to dress up, don’t want to be seen... I wasn’t sensitive to it before I became like this.”
“I would like to partner with someone like Christian Siriano on a line for everyone, not just people who necessarily need adaptive clothing, but for those who want comfort, too," she adds. "It can still be chic. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice style."
Through the struggles of navigating her MS, Blair remains firm that "there's no tragedy for me."
"I’m happy, and if I can help anyone be more comfortable in their skin, it’s more than I’ve ever done before," she says.