Domain Registration

Selma Blair reflects on life, identity in memoir ‘Mean Baby’: ‘We are all in search of a story’

  • May 20, 2022

Selma Blair may never have seen herself as leading lady material, but she’s stepping fully into the spotlight by telling her own story.

Blair’s debut memoir “Mean Baby: A Memoir of Growing Up” (Alfred A. Knopf, 289 pp., ★★★★ out of four, out now) offers a biting, emotionally poignant account of the Hollywood star’s life, from her upbringing in Michigan to her roles in iconic films “Cruel Intentions” and “Legally Blonde.”

While Blair’s first role may not have yielded her Hollywood breakthrough, it certainly made an impact. In the book’s opening pages, she writes she was labeled a “mean baby” by neighborhood kids and that her heavy brow line as an infant gave her a “judgmental” glower: “I came into this world with my mouth pulled into a perpetual snarl.”

Selma Blair, ex-boyfriend file restraining orders against each other

‘I can recover’:‘Introducing, Selma Blair’ star on vulnerability, her health today

Selma Blair on the lessons of her MS diagnosis, her raw doc

‘Always here’:Selma Blair shows solidarity with Christina Applegate over multiple sclerosis

The “Another Life” star brings clarity to her past suicide attempts, showing how these dark episodes belied the emotional distress she was experiencing at the time. During her freshman year of college, Blair said the personal devastation of her then-boyfriend wanting to break up prompted her first suicide attempt. “I don’t think I wanted to die in that moment,” recalls Blair of the attempt. “I just didn’t want to be in pain anymore.”

Blair would attempt suicide again on her 22nd birthday, after feeling “crushed” that the man she was dating left her for another girl while they were out at a bar. This attempt inspired her to check into an inpatient rehab facility in Michigan, where she benefitted from the self-accountability of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Selma Blair gives comforting advice amid coronavirus in conversation with Miley Cyrus

‘There is no bright light of glamour’:Selma Blair shares painful health update

The ‘mean baby’ makes it in Tinseltown

Although Blair found stardom alongside Sarah Michelle Gellar, Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe in the teen drama “Cruel Intentions,” the actress incisively pulls back the curtain on her Hollywood experiences in “Mean Baby”: from being framed as a potential physical threat to Drew Barrymore, to biting supermodel Kate Moss in a London hotel suite following a Marc Jacobs show.

And while Blair always saw herself as the “sidekick” instead of the ingenue, she says she found solace in this role, as well as a genuine kinship with her famous peers.

“The truth is, I don’t know that I would fit in elsewhere,” Blair writes. “It’s much easier here, in this setting where people need a bit of a label to be understood.”

‘Out of options’:Selma Blair on undergoing ‘aggressive’ chemotherapy to treat MS

More:Selma Blair rocks no hair, no pants photo. With her usual sass, actress defends the pic

Blair also talks about navigating the pitfalls of celebrity during the 2000s, an era notorious for its unforgiving media scrutiny — especially toward young women. Following a “bad” drinking binge, Blair said she checked herself into the Malibu rehab center Promises, coincidentally at the same time Britney Spears was recuperating at the facility (Blair also admits to throwing a pair of Spears’ wedged flip-flops in the trash — as a gesture of fashion altruism, of course).

Chloë Sevigny, who passed. The demure aloofness of this character solidified Blair’s Hollywood label, which itself was an extension of her childhood identity.

“I never had an arsenal of gentle, weightless, girl-next-door glances. Always the mean baby, I played the girl who was misunderstood and set apart,” Blair writes. “She is all the women in my life – my mother, my sisters – or a ridiculous child woman making her way. Or all these versions combined.”

Opening up:Selma Blair shows off shaved head in emotional post about multiple sclerosis treatment

Motherhood:Selma Blair thought she was an ’embarrassment’ to her son, but he says she’s ‘brave’

Blair finds ‘relief’ in MS diagnosis: ‘I had a map to follow’

After years of navigating symptoms that were “dismissed as ‘anxiety’ and ‘emotional,’ ” Blair was given a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 2018, which she says validated her struggles and affirmed her humanity.

“I was overwhelmed by a sense of relief, like the way you feel when an ocean wave breaks right at the shore before taking you under,” Blair writes. “Now I had a map to follow. I had information. A label. This time, one that fit.”

Selma Blair growing ‘seemingly sicker’ from multiple sclerosis, dreams of horseback riding

True friends:Selma Blair shares photo with pal Pink and shares a lesser-known MS symptom

Blair says that while she “can’t be a spokesperson” for every person living with chronic illness, she hopes to “erase the stigma attached to MS, bring increased awareness to those living with disabilities, and help people who are coping with chronic illnesses.

“When it comes to chronic illnesses, there’s a lot of shame in disclosing one’s experiences,” Blair writes. “People judge. People dispute your symptoms. People say things can’t be proven. Let me assure you, this stuff is real.”

The brilliance of “Mean Baby” lies in its bruising honesty and introspection. By providing an unflinching chronology of her personal experiences – triumph, devastation, and all the messy gray areas – Blair offers the reminder that while we may be a patchwork of our social experiences, we always possess the ability to transcend the labels and reclaim the truth of who we are.

“We all have (a story); I carry mine inside me. You carry yours inside you,” Blair writes. “I can hear mine now, in my own voice. Strong and clear. All it took was to stop listening to the stories everyone else told about me.”

If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time day or night, or chat online.

Article source:

Related News


Find best hotel offers