In 2018, actress Selma Blair shared that, following years of health hurdles and misdiagnoses, she’s now living with multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis (MS), as defined by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.
In time, Blair empowered herself to not only continue living her life to the fullest as a working actress and loving mother; but to also welcome new, unexpected opportunities that advance inclusivity and disability representation. In 2021, Blair appeared as herself in Introducing, Selma Blair, a raw, award-winning documentary highlighting her shift into the disability community. And earlier this year, in May 2022, Blair further chronicled her life, including her disability journey, with the release of her autobiography, “Mean Baby: A Memoir of Growing Up.”
Making Inclusivity Beautiful
“Even out of the hardest things in life… something beautiful can be born,” says Terri Bryant, a makeup artist, beauty educator and founder of GUIDE Beauty.
Launched in 2020, GUIDE Beauty is an inclusive collection of makeup tools and products that simplify makeup application through universal design. The brand’s all-abilities approach is personally motivated. When Bryant started to experience stiffness in her shoulder and a loss of dexterity in her hands, she quickly realized how inaccessible beauty products were and how that could impact both her professional and personal routines. Her diagnosis came: Parkinson’s disease, which is a progressive disorder that affects the nervous system and the parts of the body controlled by the nerves, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“When that ability [to easily apply makeup] shifted due to the onset of Parkinson’s disease, it became so clear that my needs ─ like so many ─ had not been considered in the design and development of the products I had always used; so I decided it was time to create them,” Bryant explains.
The decision to bring Blair, whose been outspoken about her disability journey, on as the brand’s Chief Creative Officer was a no-brainer. “We are proud to welcome Selma to the family. Her devotion to creative expression and advocacy for all people fits perfectly with GUIDE Beauty’s mission and practice of universal design,” Bryant asserts.
“When I first held the GUIDE Wand, I immediately felt more confident than I ever had with a traditional pencil liner and found myself looking forward to doing my own makeup for the first time in a long time,” Blair says. “Upon meeting Terri, we bonded instantly over our mutual love of makeup and its ability to transform a face and a day. I’m thrilled to join her and GUIDE to create and advocate for a more inclusive world of beauty.”
GUIDE Beauty recently introduced its new makeup brush collection utilizing its patented GUIDE Ring to steady the hand and make application smooth and easy; as well as its first eye shadow palette that was co-designed with Blair to showcase beautiful, easy-to-wear neutrals for everyday and/or special occasions. Customers already love the brand’s previously launched, ability-inclusive products including the Lash Wrap Mascara and Brow Moment Brow Gel, both of which feature the GUIDE Ring, and the award-winning GUIDE Eyeliner Duo. All products are labeled cruelty-free and vegan.
Bryant acknowledges that GUIDE Beauty is currently seen as a “radical brand,” but she and Blair hope to shift the narrative to help inclusivity become business as usual. “When we design with all people in mind, we create the best products for everyone! From the novice [makeup user], to somebody who has challenges with movement or strength, and even the professional makeup artist on set… GUIDE’s products enhance the lives of makeup users everywhere,” Bryant says.
Beautiful Twists and Turns to Come
Blair, a Michigan native, was discovered in an acting class in the mid-1990s. She quickly became a rising star, landing television and movie roles alongside tons of celebrities including Reese Witherspoon, John Travolta, Cameron Diaz and Christina Applegate. [Applegate also announced, in 2021, that she too was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.] Blair’s efforts to advance disability representation within the entertainment industry are being applauded by her fellow actors and fans alike. At the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards (television on September 12, 2022), Blair received a lengthy standing ovation as she presented the Emmy for outstanding drama series.
Blair, who uses a walking cane, will also show television viewers that she isn’t afraid to push the limits. Presumably wearing GUIDE Beauty products, 50-year-old Blair will next share the stage with professional dancer Sasha Farber. The pair will compete together on season 31 of Dancing with the Stars, which premiers on Disney+ on September 19, 2022.