“It was on that runway, with the thrill of walking in the show, that I suddenly lost feeling in my left leg. What do I do?“
Actress Selma Blair revealed her multiple sclerosis diagnosis to the world back in 2018, and it was one of the first celebrity health stories of the era that really made you do a double-take. How could a young, vibrant woman like Blair suffer from an autoimmune disorder like MS? More importantly, how did it happen, and what did she feel leading up to her diagnosis?
According to the Legally Blonde actress, she first knew something wasn’t right in February 2018. She was set to walk in the New York Fashion Show for designer Christian Siriano. And in a scene taken straight out of a movie, Blair felt something wasn’t right at the worst possible time — literally while walking the runway.
“It was on that runway, with the thrill of walking in the show, that I suddenly lost feeling in my left leg,” she told Town & Country magazine. “But I was on a runway and thinking, What do I do?“
Three years later, Blair shared pictures from that night in NYC. She later said the sensation of losing feeling in her leg left her “stunned.”
“When I first stepped out. I couldn’t feel the ground or how to lift my left leg. My brain was trying to compute. As I walked the runway, stunned,” she said of the evening.
Selma Blair said multiple sclerosis may have sidelined her as an actress, but it would be the beginning of a fascinating new adventure
Doctors assumed her disease could be neurological based on her symptoms. But it wasn’t until they found lesions on her brain scan that they diagnosed Blair with MS.
The actress made her diagnosis public, and immediately began educating people on the condition and its symptoms in unique metaphors.
“I am disabled. I fall sometimes, and I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken GPS,” she wrote on Instagram. MS is a chronic, progressive neurological illness that affects the central nervous system. Numbness, like the sensation Blair felt in NYC, is a common early symptom.
In 2019, Blair showed up to a Vanity Fair Oscars party, walking with a cane — bedazzled with polish, jewels, and monograms. She said the cane was needed for walking, yes, but it was also a symbol of everything she loved about the entertainment business; and everything that she had lost as a result.
“I hadn’t been on a red carpet for so long, and now I was coming,” Blair said. “Evn then I knew, since my diagnosis, people might be watching … I don’t mind if my muscles get caught at the intersection of a slow brain signal — I just want those words to come from lips covered in Chanel gloss.”
Even though her career — and life — will never look the same as it once did, Blair said she’s “very comfortable” in her body.
“I am fascinated by this body and this life,” she said. “I am humbled and pleased to be any inspiration for people.”