Selma Blair Has Shared How She Applies Makeup In The Face Of Her Debilitating Disease

Actor Selma Blair has sometimes found life a struggle after her health deteriorated due to a serious health condition. However, when she uploaded a makeup tutorial video to Instagram, she showed the world that the disease has not robbed her of her sense of humor. And the hilarious clip sent the internet wild.

A native of the Detroit suburbs, Blair had her big break when she won a starring role in 1999’s teen thriller Cruel Intentions. Starring alongside Ryan Phillipe and Sarah Michelle Gellar, she received a mixed reception from the critics. The film did well at the box office, however, and has had enduring popularity.

Hit comedies such as The Sweetest Thing and Legally Blonde kept Blair in the public eye in the early 2000s. Later that decade, she hit superstar level as she played Liz Sherman in the Hellboy fantasy movies. And the actor’s success has continued up to the current day, with roles on the big screen and on TV.

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Recently, however, that success has proved harder to maintain, but not because casting directors don’t call. Rather, it’s because Blair has been struggling with her health. Throughout most of the 2010s, the actor suffered a host of intermittent symptoms. These included pain sthat truck her neck, spells of dizziness, difficulty in walking and the abrupt loss of sensation in her leg.

Blair did not know the cause of the symptoms, but they proved debilitating. She had become so tired by the illness that she had to ask her agent only to get her work local to her home in Los Angeles. However, in 2018 she made the trip to Vancouver, Canada, to the film series Another Life for Netflix. And in 2019 she was able to shoot a film in Atlanta.

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For some time, though, Blair’s doctors put her condition down to depression or other mental causes. The only help she could find was a steroid jab in her neck to lessen the pain. However, on one occasion, the actor went to get the shot from a new doctor and he straight away told her to get an M.R.I.

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The M.R.I. showed 20 lesions on the actor’s brain, leading to a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (M.S.). At last Blair had an explanation for her sickness. She later explained to Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts that, as a result of her condition, she was also suffering spasmodic dysphonia. This is a brain condition that affects the speech.

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Finding out that she had M.S. actually proved a great relief to Blair. The revelation of her diagnosis, however, left her in tears. The actor told Roberts, “They weren’t tears of panic, they were tears of knowing that I now had to give in to a body that had loss of control, and there was some relief in that.”

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Blair went on to tell Roberts how her son, Arthur Saint, had taken the news. The seven-year-old had only wanted to ask one thing. And that was: Would it mean the end of his mom’s life? She reassured him that it didn’t, but the change in how she sounded and looked had made him want to keep close to her.

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That Blair’s fatigue should turn out to be caused by M.S. is perhaps not a huge surprise. After all, it’s the commonest symptom of the disease, occurring in about four of every five sufferers. With M.S., the central nervous system’s nerve endings come under attack by the immune system, making it hard to transfer information.

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The National Multiple Sclerosis Society estimates that over two million people live with the disorder globally. It’s hard to say exactly, though, perhaps because there are a host of potential symptoms, including stiffness, weakness, tingling and dizziness, sometimes even depression or moodiness, and they can be written off by sufferers. The symptoms can, from time to time, “flare up,” getting worse. In addition, new symptoms can often suddenly appear.

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Having received the diagnosis, Blair decided after a couple months to share it with the world. Since she has well over a million followers on Instagram, that seemed the perfect venue for it. So, in a post in October 2018, the actor broke the news to users of the social media platform. The accompanying picture was of a costume fitting for a show, and that provided a way to tell her story.

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Blair explained that her costumer, Allisa Swanson, didn’t just put together the clothes for her Netflix show. The actor wrote, “she carefully gets my legs in my pants, pulls my tops over my head, buttons my coats and offers her shoulder to steady myself.” And then she explained why she needed to rely on Swanson. She said, “I have #multiplesclerosis.”

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Nevertheless, Blair explained that she still had a job, which she put down to “the grace of the Lord, willpower and the understanding producers at Netflix.” However, the actor also shared some of the symptoms that she had been suffering. She then explained that she was having an “exacerbation.”

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Blair told readers, “I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken G.P.S.” But she wasn’t going to let any of it get her down. The actor said, “I laugh and I don’t know exactly what I will do precisely but I will do my best.”

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In a further post in March 2019, Blair described how she would withstand an M.S. flare up. She wrote, “All we have is right now. This. But I remember knowing to just feel the warmth in the breeze. The gift of this trip. Under the table my leg was dead. I couldn’t stay awake and my right hand couldn’t find my mouth. But I was happy.”

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And there was plenty for the actor put up with. After a treatment brought on a bad reaction, Blair found it hard to control her body and was left with a limp. Her vision became poor, which made getting dressed difficult. And because it was so tough to lift her arms head-high, she had to have her hair cut short.

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But Blair did not have to cope completely on her own. Among those who supported her were comedian Amy Schumer, whose dad suffers from M.S., and designer Marc Jacobs. Kris Jenner, who befriended Blair when the latter played her in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, sent flowers that the actor claimed were “more expensive than [my] mortgage.”

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Meanwhile, another actor who has struggled with a debilitating illness would befriend the Cruel Intentions star. Michael J. Fox reached out when he heard that Blair dropped things and was acting strangely. The actor told Good Morning America, “Really, he gives me hope.” There was further upside too, as she explained that “I have Michael J. Fox’s email now.”

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Topping all that support, though, was the actor’s best friend, Sarah Michelle Gellar. Following the diagnosis, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer star rushed to give her pal special attention. Blair told her Instagram followers, “She tucked me in and brought me dinner and loved me up.” But it was no surprise that Gellar was there for her: they’ve been friends for more than 20 years.

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That all began when roles in Cruel Intentions were being given out in 1995. Gellar had campaigned for Blair to be cast as Cecile Caldwell. And when she spoke to Entertainment Tonight about her friend’s illness, it was clear that the affection still burned bright. The actor said, “Maybe her body is not where she’d like it to be at this very moment. But it’s not gonna stop her from doing anything.”

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Gellar continued, “[Blair] just does the school run every morning and [is] out there at birthday parties and is not letting an illness stop her from accomplishing everything and anything.” And clearly that admiration goes both ways. As Blair later wrote on Instagram, “I am so in love with my angel of a friend.”

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That post provoked a heartfelt reply from Gellar, who used her own Instagram account to share the love. She said, “Our relationship began with me fighting for you, and I will spend the rest of my life continuing to fight for you.” And she had an optimistic hope for Blair. She wrote, “This is one of those bumps in the road, that I truly believe within the year, we will barely remember.”

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Consequently, the pair took their mutual love-in on the road, as they visited Disneyland together in March 2019. It proved to be a family affair, since their kids came along to the resort in Anaheim, California. The two stars even took time out take a picture with Captain Marvel, mouse ears to the fore.

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And Gellar showed the nature of their friendship, as she took the helm of Blair’s wheelchair. But that mode of transport would not put a damper on the star’s day, as the two brought the good old days back. On their first visit to Disneyland in more than two decades, they looked to recreate some of their best memories.

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And, indeed, being restricted had served to calm Blair down, as Gellar noted to Vanity Fair magazine. She said, “There’s a calmness to her because I think now she knows she can’t do everything. And it’s okay, some days, if she can’t… It’s been wonderful to watch her be more settled, more content and almost more in control of herself in a weird way.”

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Blair agreed, telling Vanity Fair magazine, “There’s a humility and a joy I have now, albeit a fatigued joy.” But getting there was a struggling. Indeed, the actor later admitted,” I was self-medicating when [Arthur] wasn’t with me. I was drinking. I was in pain. And I was really struggling with how am I going to get by in life.” But get by, she most definitely did.

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Consequently, Blair’s spirit has driven her onward. By February 2019 she was ready to appear in public for the first time since sharing the news of her diagnosis. And she looked amazing at the post-Oscars party held by Vanity Fair. Alongside her multicolored dress, she sported a cane that had been made specially for her.

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Not that it wasn’t a struggle to get out and about, as the actor shared with her Instagram followers. “Going out, being sociable, holds a heavy price,” she wrote. “My brain is on fire. I am freezing.” However, the actor revealed her spirit later in the same post. She said, “My smiles are genuine. This is okay. Life is an adventure with many shards of awakening.”

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Although Blair is willing to express the pain the disease has brought and what it has cost her, she also explained how she finds the strength to carry on. In a post on Instagram she said, “We do what we can. I have a full week ahead with mothering and appointments and things to look forward to. But like many of us, I am praying. Soaking in love where I can. It’s not easy. That’s okay.”

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But there’s a deeper reason for Blair’s willingness to be seen in public when she’s struggling. As the actor explained to Good Morning America, she hoped to help raise awareness of the condition. And she certainly put it on view in a video she posted to Instagram in March 2019, sharing a “makeup tutorial.”

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Blair began on Instagram Stories by explaining that her fine motor skills were not at their best. Consequently, she didn’t feel that she could give a tutorial in makeup. However, she noted, “If I do, then you know I’m just really trying to have fun. because I notice [that after] I put my makeup on in the morning, all day people are rubbing my face. And I say ‘Whatcha doin’?’ And they’re like, ‘Just a little makeup.’”

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After grabbing a brush, Blair put the video up on Instagram. For the caption, she wrote, “I couldn’t make this get onto my Insta story because… I don’t know. But here is my solution to applying makeup with a lack of fine motor skills. #laugh and feel free to reapply my makeup. #makeuptutorial #real.”

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First of all, Blair stares out of the screen, looking deadly serious. She gives instructions to the viewers, barking out, “People. Brush. Big. Bronzer.” At the same time, she brandishes a huge makeup brush. With her countenance still stern, seemingly focused on the job ahead, the actor makes ready to apply the powder to her face.

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But if viewers were for some reason expecting a demonstration of fine technique, they were in for a shock. Blair starts sweeping the brush in broad circles around her face. The actor then dissolves into giggles, enjoying the rather imprecise application of makeup. Then she says, “There. Done. Stop.” And she leaves watchers with a huge smile and a cheery “Bye.”

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Certainly, Blair did not show much in the way of fine motor skills in the video! But her followers loved it, with more than a million people viewing the clip. The thousands of comments contain loads of positivity, with one user saying, “Definitely the best make up tutorial I have EVER watched!”

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Meanwhile, it wasn’t just the actor’s fans who loved it. Blair’s friends did too, and they flocked to comment. Debra Messing wrote, “O.M.G. you are so funny! I love you so much, Selma.” Kris Jenner didn’t hold back either. She added, “What a ROCKSTAR you are… I adore you… Sending you tons of love today, my girl.”

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On top of that, actor Brooke Shields approved of the makeup advice. She commented, “You are so beautiful, you don’t need make [up] but I agree ‒ big brush always.” And an Instagrammer explained exactly why Blair had captured followers’ hearts, saying, “What I love so much about you is that, as much change as you have been through, you are still the same at [heart]!”

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It’s doubtless been an emotional rollercoaster for Blair, but there’s hope of light at the end of the tunnel. She has since embarked on a course of intravenous drugs, and Saud Sadiq, her doctor, is optimistic. He told Vanity Fair magazine that he thought she would be “a different person in a year.”

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At the end of the day, Blair said on Instagram, she was doing fine, albeit in need of some support. She then appealed for that help, saying, “If you see me dropping crap all over the street, feel free to help me pick it up… Thank you and may we all know good days among the challenges.”

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