Dr. Eliot may have measured his life in teaspoons, but millennials do it in Selma Blair’s movies.
We went to high school when she hit the big screen in Evil intentions; we received her diploma when she obtained her law degree in Legal blonde. Our first G-string was inspired by her The sweetest thing Loan Luan sex movies; we copied her Hell boy scowl when (irritably) caught at the gym. We also copied her style: the shiny leather jacket from her Chanel campaign, the eye-catching black lace in her Miu Miu ad, the chic Marc Jacobs bag (named, of course). The Selma”) which she paired with simple tanks and jeans. And we traced her – constantly, compulsively, still – as she revealed her struggle with multiple sclerosis through her (very good) Memoir Mean Baby and series of documents Introducing Selma Blair.
This month, Blair revealed another role—Official Gap style icons—Just in time for our annual fall fashion wake-up call. Here’s how the actress once dressed Valentino, what she wants us to learn from her on-screen mates, and where she thinks accessible fashion could go next.
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True or false: Before you became famous, you worked at The Gap.
Right! I really love The Gap, because their staples and reinvented staples are my fashion language, you know? Back in Michigan, I worked at Gap in the mall. It’s a teen mall job – like, I’ll get a cookie from the food court on my break, and try to get Bennigan’s to serve me a margarita . But then I moved to New York and working at Gap was like being a celebrity.
Oh, that’s the final high-low! And that was always me… I mean, it was the ’90s and I was a young woman living in the Salvation Army, and trying to be an actress, and I worked at Gap on the Upper East Side. , actually, the Distance. It’s uncontaminated inside, and everyone who works in fashion comes to this Distance. Models are coming, Pat McGrath is coming, and Valentino – I’m personally styling Valentino at The Gap.
Wait. Are you Valentino’s personal Gap stylist?
I am sure so. Personally, I’m selling him T-shirts, going down to the basement to get more stock for him. I say to the others, “No one should touch him” and they’re like, “Who, the tanned man?” I said, “Guys, tanned man is Valentino, and I’m going to sell him every pocket T-shirt in this store, and he’ll bring them on board and dress every one of his guests in Gap. ” I remember knowledge By the way, it is remarkable that I am delivering clothes to Valentino who is very kind. I remember telling him, “These t-shirts are great; you should give them to everyone on your yacht to make them feel comfortable. ” He said, “Wow, what a great idea!” I think it was the first time I felt like a celebrity.
Give us more Gap tea.
Well, in addition to helping Valentino, I became an expert at folding everything into a neat, identical pile. I’m still good at it. At The Gap, we had this plexiglass “folding board” that we used to make it look just right. But you can also just use a cutting board. That’s what I do.
Can you help settle a dispute at the ELLE.com office? What is the best Gap campaign of all time?
Wait, what your?
I love Carol King one– the piano chime sent to me — but Claire is 100% sure about it Soft gold.
I’m a dancer, so I’ll have to come along commercial swing khakis. Everyone sees the shape and movement of those clothes, and it just feels good to be airing in a big campaign, all over the waves. I find that remarkable. The Audrey Hepburn performance, where she was dancing, was also always sensational. When there is dance in the campaigns, you will find this Gap silhouette really luxurious as it moves around the frame. You see these people wearing clothes that give them freedom to dance and move around. Isn’t that the most iconic, free thing?
Freedom is also about accessibility, right? Has your experience with MS and mobility shaped your view of accessibility in fashion?
In the end, it has to come down to style. I think the fact that all body types are so different, and finally acknowledged and unashamed – ability, size, shape, all of them earn more respect. I mean, from the ’90s to the early ’90s, it was too much of a shame if you weren’t a certain body type. It’s like, only certain bodies are allowed to “cool”. Now we know that what’s interesting is what we bring to it… and obviously, the “accessible” style is just that. Style. But don’t be childish, accessible fashion is something that still deserves a larger space and greater focus. I hope it’s something I can do in my future, because when I get older, and I use a cane, or I use [service] dog, I have to get creative with ways that make me feel alive, or acknowledge strength in a state of vulnerability, instead of feeling suffocated. Anytime we do anything that might feel left out by the fashion industry, that makes me really hopeful. Obviously, I hope this campaign can help others feel more hopeful about that as well.
You’ve had an iconic career in fashion and film. It’s hard to believe that The sweetest thing released 20 years ago. You have gone from being a Gap employee to being a character caught with a guy in the mall.
Oh my God. The dressing room setting is my favorite. It’s mine favourite. It’s the day after my birthday [and] I did therefore tired that day. But I remember being so excited when I shot that scene, because it was so engaging, and you know, back then, the girls never got to the story of the “sexy” scenes. In The sweetest thing, we did, and we’re not ashamed! To this day, I am very proud of that. Like, why will not we get excited about sex, and talk about sex, and have some really funny moments around sex? Also, I really have bad TMJ.
Oh no. Were you really in pain in that scene?!
It was like, I had a lot of empathy, you know? So we shot the penis in the mouth — we used a banana — but filming one scene took all day. So it was like, eight hours with a banana in my mouth, that’s a lot! So when I cried in the scene from TMJ? I actually cried, because I was locked up. But I miss Johnny Messner already really sweet about it. I mean, I had to brood over his sweaty groin with a banana in my mouth under the light, just stare at him and cry for hours. And I love that we did it! [Laughs.]
I love that you did too.
It’s amazing that women have made a sex comedy in this place we are joke makers. I mean, Cameron [Diaz] and Christina [Applegate] are the coolest people on the planet. I can’t believe I worked with them. Christina and I, you know, we’ve been through a lot together; we are still very close…and I love Cameron so much. She’s gorgeous, amazing, fun, generous, all of it. So when I look back The sweetest thing, those were happy days. There was no grief for me on that path. It was an explosion.
Let’s get around health for a second. You’ve talked a lot about cold water swimming as part of your physical and mental recovery. But the first time I jumped into cold water was hard. How do you force yourself to do something that you know will hurt, even though it helps?
Ugh, I know what you mean. And even if you say, “It hurts for the first few seconds, but when you’re in it for two minutes, you’ll see what it can do and you’ll feel great!” it’s just difficult. The first time I took an ice bath, I was in so much pain and I hated it so much, I literally cried and cried. I slept therefore That night, but I never went into the ice bath again. Instead, I would enter a 50-degree pool. I don’t heat my pool anymore; I just jumped in. That’s great for my body and mind. And the first time you do it, just remember, scream is okay. Let yourself scream, as long as you’re still doing it.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
“Her beauty and her brain don’t go together.” —William Shakespeare