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Illustration: Selma Blair and her cane at the Oscars by Jessie Ace

Selma Blair putting MS back on the international stage

Jessie Ace

Selma Blair is everywhere at the moment gracing us all with her cane at the vanity fair Oscar party.

Selma bravely came out a little while ago about her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in an interview with Good Morning America, but is it really a good thing for celebrities to highlight these issues?

The only person in the world with MS

There are many thoughts in our MS community about Selma’s recent interview and red carpet look with her cane. Like, ‘why was she drawing so much attention to the fact she has MS? A condition that so many people have that others just ignore.

Is it right for the media to highlight the fact that she has MS like she’s the only person in the world with a health condition? Or is it a good thing that MS is now more publicly well known?

Standing tall to send a message

I think it was incredibly brave of her to not only talk about her diagnosis on camera but half way through a flare up too? Then to attend the vanity fair Oscar party in full view of thousands of journalists with a walking aid? This woman is a legend!

I think she sends a good message to other people with MS especially people who use walking aids. It sends out the message that whatever your illness is, you shouldn’t hide it away from everyone, you should embrace it, stand tall and show everyone who you are and what you are made of.

That actress with MS

Think back to when you were first diagnosed, how did you feel when you had to tell your employer or your friends? Anxious? Scared? Can you imagine feeling the pressure of being in front of thousands of photographers flashing their cameras left, right and centre at you? Can you imagine doing that whilst also having a flare up? I certainly couldn’t.

She will now forever be known as ‘that actress with MS’. I think people respected her honesty that night and making it so blatant by using the cane on the carpet highlighted what MS is even more. You can ‘look’ healthy but still be sick.

Celebrity sickness

It isn’t a ‘made up’ condition like a lot of people think it is. Although technically you could joke it really is all in your head (and spinal cord).

Also don’t forget the increase in people now googling ‘multiple sclerosis’ and learning about our condition is a good thing. Lady Gaga’s fibromyalgia, Selena Gomez’s Lupus, Selma Blair’s multiple sclerosis - celebrities seem to be feeling more comfortable being open and honest about their health related issues nowadays.

We are more likely to change the views and perceptions of ‘healthy people’ if these issues are highlighted in the mainstream media.

Keeping it real

However, from the point of view of someone with MS it’s also rather annoying when celebrities come out about their diagnosis stories for many reasons. The amount of people who have said to me after finding out about Lady Gaga’s fibro ‘she can do a whole arena tour with fibro it can’t be that bad, why can’t you do ‘xyz’ activity?

It suggests most celebrities aren’t being totally true to how their condition really affects them. But if people had watched Gaga’s Five Foot Two documentary, they’d have seen the pain she goes through with every performance.

The beast that is MS

Selma in her interview showed the true beast that is MS and I feel so proud of her for doing an interview during a flare up. The controversy that her speech created gave non MS’ers a true look into how MS actually affects us.

Think about it this way, maybe the main reason celebrities don’t go into much detail about their health conditions is because it could affect their chances of getting work.

Whenever you hear a celebrity’s health story, we should understand it’s an incredibly brave thing for them to do. Selma Blair is an absolute goddess and who knows how she wore those crazy high heels? I couldn’t wear those on a good day!

How do you feel about celebrities ‘announcing’ their diagnosis stories? Do you think it’s a good thing?