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Debra Messing got the job of a lifetime in 1998 when she was cast as Grace Adler on NBC’s Will & Grace, but the notes from behind the scenes were not always so welcome. The 54-year-old actress revealed at The Magic of Will & Grace panel at The Paley Center for Media on Monday how sexism came into play before she even shot their first scene.
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According to Messing, the then-NBC president had very specific ideas of how he believed the character’s breast size should look — and yep, you guessed he wanted her to have “big boobs.” She recalled, per People, “The very first fitting, they had the chicken cutlets to make me bigger. I just wasn’t a fan of like the whole idea of it.” The good news is that she felt empowered to voice her opinion on the issue since she would be the one who had to wear the chicken cutlets each episode.
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Messing continued, “I was like, ‘You know what? I don’t need that. And they’re like, ‘Well, it’s the president of the network [saying this].’ And I said, ‘If he wants it, then he needs to come here and tell me to my face.‘” That bold response quickly shut down the conversation and Messing proudly kept to her natural breast size during all eight seasons of its first run.
‘Will & Grace’
Will & Grace premiered in 1998 at a time when sexism in Hollywood wasn’t always addressed, and certainly not from an actress who was at the beginning of her entertainment career. Messing did herself, and every woman who starred on that show, a service by setting a tone on the set that sexism had no place there.
Before you go, click here to see all the celebrity women who have spoken out about ageism.
Launch Gallery: 72 Quotes From Actresses Sick of Sexism in Hollywood
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