Debra Messing is looking back at what she thought of her body image while filming the popular sitcom Will & Grace! As Entertainment Tonight shares, Messing was a guest on a recent episode of actress and activist Jameela Jamil's body-positive podcast I Weigh, where she was candid about the topic.
Messing says she left Will & Grace fittings "hating myself"
Messing said that her struggle with body image began during costume fittings for the show, where she played "Grace Adler". "When I started Will & Grace I was a size 8, and what happened was, every time I would go in for a fitting, I couldn't fit into clothes," Messing revealed.
"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," she explained.
Messing lost weight to make things "easier" at work
Messing says that she then decided to try and lose weight so she wouldn't have to keep getting sized up. "So of course, I thought, 'My life would be so much easier, and it would be easier on everybody trying to do their job," she shared, "if I just lost weight."
"So I started doing yoga every single day and I did one of those meal delivery services. I started to get smaller and then I was a 6, and they were like, 'You're losing weight, you look amazing!'" Messing admitted that what she felt "as a woman was, 'Oh, this is making them happy, so I should do more of it.'"
Messing on her Golden Globes experience: "I felt fat"
Messing then shared how she felt in comparison to other actresses. "Then I was lucky enough to be invited on the red carpet to the Emmys and the Golden Globes," she said, "and that was the same time that Ally McBeal was at its height and Calista was the 'It' girl and Portia de Rossi also was so so slim, and she's spoken openly about her anorexia, so it's all within sort of the same theme."
However, Messing's struggle with body image continued. "I would try to fit into these gowns and of course they weren't sample sizes, and it was like, 'OK, we have to let out the seams, etc.'" she revealed. "This was supposed to be the greatest time of my life, being nominated for Best Actress in a TV show I loved for an Emmy and walking on the red carpet."
"I walked out and I immediately felt so incredible, and then I was standing next to all of these other actresses who were half my size, and I felt fat, and I felt ugly," Messing admitted. "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 on extreme weight loss: "I was way too skinny"
Messing said that she tried to keep her slim new physique once she'd achieved it, even though it was unhealthy. "I was way too skinny. But, you know, going in for those fittings, I fit into everything," she said. "And all of a sudden, 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."
However, her struggle to uphold beauty standards ended up coming at the expense of her health. "For awhile there, I was maintaining that, and then I got sick," Messing said. "My body just could not hold out. My adrenals crashed, I was exhausted and it just became clear to me that I couldn't be healthy and a size 2 at the same time."
Messing is far from the only celebrity to have opened up about the pressure to look a certain way within the industry. Kelly Clarkson recently revealed that she was shown photos of naked women as a form of body shaming, and Alison Brie has revealed that she felt "disgusting" due to body dysmorphia. We're glad that Messing is much healthier and happier in her body today!