You Have to Hear What Debra Messing Had to Say About Looking and Feeling Her Best

Chris Haston / NBC

Debra Messing took to Jameela Jamil’s podcast to discuss pressures to lose weight at the start of her career and reflect on the toll that took on her, her body, and her perception of body image.

Actress Debra Messing is no stranger to the pressures of the Hollywood eye and being a public figure.  Unfortunately, what often comes with that is a need to change to fit an unrealistic mold.

When the star was just starting out on the original first season of Will & Grace in 1998, she was a size eight, but by the end of that very same season, she was a size two. Messing reflected on how that felt for her both internally and externally while a guest on Jameela Jamil’s podcast, I Weigh, on Saturday, August 8.

Speaking truthfully about her early years on Will & Grace, Messing explained, “I was a size 8, and what happened was, every time I would go in for a fitting, I couldn’t fit into clothes. Eighty percent of it I couldn’t fit into, and I would just leave hating my body and hating myself.”

“I loved my costume designer. She would always say, ‘Don’t worry,’ and she would talk to her assistant and say, ‘OK, can you call over and get a larger size?’ And that was sort of the thing that was always on repeat all the time, so of course, I thought, ‘My life would be so much easier, and it would be easier on everybody trying to do their job, if I just lost weight.”

She now understands that, regardless of her profession, approaching health and wellness needs to be done in moderation and based on personal interest.

Looking back at photos and clips from the late 1990s, the actress and activist concluded, “I was way too skinny, but, you know, going in for those fittings, I fit into everything… I literally could fit into anything that was high fashion. So all of a sudden, everything seemed to open up for me, because I was a 2.”

Society and social norms play a large role in how we, as human beings, perceive ourselves and our worth. As an actress with expectations and eyes all around, many of us can only imagine the extent of the pressure that comes in addition to that.

“I look back at those pictures and I was beautiful! I mourn the fact that that was my interpretation of reality, and that was the torture that I put myself through.” Messing urges people both in the spotlight and otherwise to realize that healthy, fulfilling, true beauty comes from within and not from characters seen on TV or people gracing magazine covers.

Make sure to listen to the full episode, where Jameela Jamil and Debra Messing break down even more about the pressures of fame and the behind-the-scenes rise to it.