Selma Blair Is Gap’s Latest Style Icon (Ours Too)

T.S. Eliot can have measured his life in coffee spoons, but millennial girls do it in Selma Blair movies.

We hit highschool as she hit the massive screen in Cruel Intentions; we got our diplomas as she scored her law degree in Legally Blonde. Our first G-strings were inspired by her Sweetest Thing sexcapades; we copied her Hellboy scowl when (annoyingly) catcalled on the gym. We copied her style, too: the shiny leather jacket from her Chanel campaign, the peek-a-boo black lace of her Miu Miu ads, the swingy Marc Jacobs bag (named “The Selma,” after all) she paired with easy tanks and jeans. And we rooted for her—consistently, compulsively, still—when she revealed her struggles with multiple sclerosis via her (superb) autobiography Mean Baby and the docu-series Introducing Selma Blair.

This month, Blair unveils one more role—Official Gap Style Icon—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 onscreen sex follies, and where she thinks accessible fashion can go next.


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True or false: Before you were famous, you worked at The Gap.

So true! I genuinely love The Gap, because their staples and reinvented staples are my fashion language, you understand? Back in Michigan, I worked at Gap within the mall. It was very much a teenage mall job—like, I’d get a cookie from the food court on my break, and take a look at to get Bennigan’s to serve me a margarita. But then I moved to Latest York and dealing at Gap was form of like being a star.

How so?

Oh, it was the last word high-low! And that’s all the time been me…I mean, it’s the ’90s and I’m this young woman living within the Salvation Army, and attempting to be an actress, and I worked at a Gap on the Upper East Side that was really, like, the Gap. It was immaculate inside, and everybody who worked in fashion got here to this Gap. Models would are available in, Pat McGrath would are available in, and Valentino—I used to be personally styling Valentino at The Gap.

Wait. You were Valentino’s personal Gap stylist?

I sure was. I used to be personally selling him T-shirts, happening into the basement to get him more inventory. I told everyone else, “No one is touching him,” and so they’re like, “Who, the tan man?” I said, “Guys, the tan man is Valentino, and I’ll sell him each pocket T-shirt on this store, and he’ll take them on his yacht and outfit every certainly one of his guests in Gap.” I remember knowing it was so remarkable that I used to be handing clothes to Valentino, who was so kind, by the best way. I remember telling him, “These T-shirts are so cool; it is best to give them to everyone in your yacht so that they’re comfortable.” He said, “Wow, what an incredible idea!” I believe that’s the primary time I ever felt like a star.

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Give us more Gap tea.

Well, besides helping Valentino, I became an authority at folding things in a neat, an identical pile. I’m still great at folding. At The Gap, we had this plexiglass “folding board” that we used to make it look good. But you can too just use a cutting board. That’s what I do.

Are you able to help settle a debate on the office? What’s the perfect Gap campaign of all time?

Wait, what’s yours?

I like the Carol King one—the bell-bottoms on the piano send me—but Claire is 100% firm on Mellow Yellow.

I’m a dancer at heart, so I’m going to must go together with the swing khakis business. Everyone’s seeing the form and movement of those clothes, and just having that sense of fun in fashion being broadcast in a significant campaign, all around the airwaves. I find that to be remarkable. The Audrey Hepburn one, where she’s dancing, is all the time a thrill, too. When there’s dance within the campaigns, you see this Gap silhouette being really chic while moving all around the frame. You see these people wearing clothes that give them the liberty to bounce and the convenience of movement. Isn’t that probably the most iconic thing, freedom?

Freedom can also be about accessibility, right? Have your experiences with MS and mobility shaped your view on accessibility in fashion?

Ultimately, it has to return right down to style. I believe the incontrovertible fact that all body types are so different, and eventually being acknowledged and never shamed—ability, size, shape, they’re all getting so rather more respect. I mean, from the ’90s to the early aughts, there was a lot shame when you weren’t a certain body type. It was like, only certain bodies were allowed to be “cool.” Now we all know cool is what we bring to it…and clearly, “accessible” style is just style. But let’s not kid ourselves, accessible fashion is something that also deserves a much bigger space and greater focus. I hope that’s something I can work on in my future, because as I’m getting older, and I exploit a cane, or I exploit my [service] dog, I actually have to get creative with ways in which make me still feel vibrant, or acknowledge the strength in vulnerability, as an alternative of feeling squashed. Any time we do anything that might need felt left behind by the style industry, that makes me really hopeful. Obviously, I hope this campaign may help make others feel more eager for that, too.

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You’ve had an iconic profession in fashion and film. It’s hard to consider that The Sweetest Thing got here out 20 years ago. You went from being a Gap worker to being a personality who gets caught with a man within the mall.

Oh my god. The dressing room scene was my favorite. It was my favorite. That was that was the day after my birthday [and] I used to be so drained that day. But I remember being so excited to shoot that scene, since it was raunchy, and, you understand, back then, girls didn’t ever get to drive the narrative of “sexy” scenes. In Sweetest Thing, we did, and we were unashamed! To today, I’m so happy with that. Like, why wouldn’t we be enthusiastic about sex, and talking about sex, and having some really funny moments surrounding sex? Also, I actually do have bad TMJ.

Oh no. Were you in actual pain during that scene?!

It was more, like, I had quite a lot of empathy, you understand? So we were shooting the penis-in-mouth thing—we used a banana—but filming a movie scene takes all day. So it’s like, eight hours with a banana in my mouth, which is so much! So after I was crying within the scene from TMJ? I used to be really crying, because I used to be so locked in. But I remember Johnny Messner was really sweet about it. I mean, I needed to be grinding on his sweaty groin with a banana in my mouth under the lights, just looking at him and crying for hours. And I really like that we did that! [Laughs.]

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I really like that you simply did too.

It feels amazing that ladies made a comedy about sex where we were those making the jokes. I mean, Cameron [Diaz] and Christina [Applegate] were the good people on the planet. I couldn’t consider I used to be working with them. Christina and I, you understand, we’ve undergone so much together; we’re still very close…and I really like Cameron a lot. She’s gorgeous, incredible, fun, generous, all of it. So after I look back on The Sweetest Thing, those are glad days. There was no grief for me on that path. It was a blast.

Let’s pivot to wellness for a second. You’ve talked so much about cold-water swimming as a part of your physical and mental recovery. But taking that first jump into cold water is tough. How do you make yourself do something you understand goes to harm, despite the fact that it also helps?

Ugh, I do know what you mean. And even while you say, “It hurts the primary seconds, but when you’re in it for 2 minutes, you’ll see what it could do and also you’ll feel so good!” it’s just hard. The primary time I took an ice bath, it hurt a lot and I hated it a lot, I literally cried and cried. I slept so well that night, but I never got into an ice bath again. As an alternative, I’ll get right into a pool that’s like 50 degrees. I don’t heat my pool anymore; I just jump in. It’s been so amazing for my body and my mind. And the primary few times you do it, you only must remember, it’s okay to scream. Let yourself scream, just so long as you’re doing it anyway.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

“Her beauty and her brain go not together.” —William Shakespeare

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