Selma Blair just represented chronic illness again in a big way, modeling on the cover of the August issue of People magazine while rocking her cane.
On Wednesday, Blair showed off her People cover on Instagram, which shows the actress styled in denim with her cane. Captioned, “I won’t let this disease stop me,” the magazine puts chronic illness front and center. The Cover also highlights the pain, paralysis and depression Blair has as part of her multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis.
Blair publicly announced her MS diagnosis in October 2018. MS is a neurological condition that causes your immune system to attack the cells that insulate the nerve fibers in your brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. MS can cause a variety of symptoms, from issues with mobility to blurry vision, feeling a tight sensation around your ribcage called an MS hug and other painful physical sensations.
Like other public appearances in the last several months, Blair posted on Instagram that she hoped her People cover provides much-needed representation for others living with chronic illness. After all, she said, her interview and cover highlight that people with chronic illness are more than “just” their condition.
“Mom! I have arrived! I am on the cover of @people and the Michigan girl in me is smiling way too broadly,” Blair wrote, adding:
This is such an honor to have this magazine and this thoughtful writer @karajwarner , pay a tribute to chronic illness and the people who pave the way to healing and love. This isn’t about how sick I may seem. This is about me as a mom and friend and a person who is growing every day and I hope some of you feel represented. Thank you. #queenforaday or however long this magazine stays on newsstands.
In an online preview of Blair’s interview, she shared with People how her friends like Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jaime King support her and how her son, Arthur, responded to her MS diagnosis. While she was afraid Arthur would think she’s an “embarrassment,” Blair said the 8-year-old tells people, “‘Mommy’s not sick. Mommy’s brave.’” However, Blair said because of the unpredictability of her symptoms and how they impact her ability to take part in everyday activities, she has to consider Arthur’s understanding of her condition.
“I explain what’s happening and that my voice doesn’t hurt, and we have really decent exchanges,” she told People. “We play dodgeball, but I don’t dodge because that could be so dangerous. Maybe in the future for sure, but I don’t move side to side perfectly, and so I get to just hit him and then he throws it back to me, really chivalrously. And then I get to hit him again, and he thinks it’s amazing.”
It’s not often you see people with chronic illness featured on the cover of mainstream magazines. Seeing Blair with her cane in such a prominent place gives a voice to others living with chronic conditions and disabilities. This representation matters because as Mighty contributor Mariana Solarte Caicedo wrote about seeing Blair with her cane during the Oscar’s, it’s empowering if you live with a chronic illness:
This sends an important message to anyone who uses mobility aids — that we are entitled to live our lives in the most magnificent way we can. We are worth it, even if at times it doesn’t feel like it. I know now that I can look magnificent and powerful with my cane and deformed joints. I know that I’m not a weirdo for giving my body the help it needs. I know I can be a beautiful, empowered woman thanks to this representation.
Blair said of her cover and public presence, she wants to not only represent others living with chronic illness but also bust the myth people with conditions and disabilities have a “tragic” life.
“This is it. The only life we get,” she told People. “My disease isn’t a tragedy, but I tell myself, ‘You’re going to live in a way that would be an example for yourself and your son.’”
If you want to grab a copy, Blair’s August People cover is available in stores and newsstands now.