Debra Messing talks empowering women and what's up next for her character on 'Will & Grace'

Debra Messing is all about friends both on and off the small screen. Even after a decade-long break, the actress feels most at home with her 'Will & Grace' co-stars, but knows that not everyone is able to surround themselves with a supportive group of people like she does.

She understands that there's a need for women empowerment in the United States -- and is teaming up with TJ Maxx's annual Maxx You Project to help bring that community together.

We caught up with Messing to talk about her work with the Maxx You Project, her 'Will & Grace' co-stars and what we can expect from the upcoming season.

Can you talk to me about why you’re excited to be partnering with the Maxx You Project?

I was thrilled when they reached out to me to initiate the Maxx You Project. The whole thing is about empowering women and supporting women and celebrating women and celebrating what makes each women unique. That just is right in my wheel house -- that's something I really, really believe in.

I also love the fact that it's really about harnessing the power of community. I think women together can really increase exponentially the progress that a single woman within that group can attain. They have statistics -- 51 percent of women filter themselves in order to get along in society. That makes me very sad.

We are very aware of being judged and are very aware of the expectations placed on us. But a study also showed that 3 out of 4 women, if they see another woman embracing their own individuality, they get inspired. In essence, it's contagious. The idea of there being a platform on Facebook where all of these women can come together and they can network and problem-solve and co-create strategies, and lift each-other up and encourage each other, I think it's amazing.

The fact that it's not just online -- there are workshops across the country all day where there will be a life coach there and they will be given actual tangible strategies for how to take the next step.

And with TJ Maxx!

It was also incredibly organic because my entire childhood, in Rhode Island, my mother and I went to TJ Maxx every two weeks, to shop. Every time we go there's something different -- it's like a treasure hunt. My mother taught me very, very young that if you pay full price, you're stupid.

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That's part of the fun, too!

That is the fun and you feel so good after! You can find such a wide variety of things -- it's really what TJ Maxx is about. No two stores are alike, they don't have mannequins because they don't to dictate what's in style. They want *you* to come in and pick out what's in style for you. I just love everything about it!

Especially in today’s political climate and the #MeToo era, I feel like we can all agree that talking about these particular vulnerabilities is super important. Can you talk about a time either in your professional life or personal life where you felt this pressure?

When I first started out, I had just started with my master's degree in acting. I was ready to dive in and be an artist in the working world. One of my first jobs, I got on set and had all of these ideas about the character and was so excited to collaborate -- which is what I always did in theater.

I was sent the message pretty clearly that they just wanted me to stay quiet. So I did, because I was young and inexperienced and felt pressured. I actually, for a moment, called my agents and said, "I don't think I'm built for Hollywood. I think I'm just a theater actress and that's it."

And they said, "Don't give up, you have a gift and you will find a place in every medium where you can thrive and be creative and feel like an integral part of the mix. And so I did, and that's why I'm still here.

How does it feel being back home with your Will & Grace family?

Oh my gosh, it feels wonderful! It feels strangely normal. It's been 11 years but there is something that happens when four of us get together -- there's a chemical reaction that happens. And we get into a flow together. There's nothing else in my life that makes me feel the way I do when I'm with my family.

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You guys recently got approved for seasons 2 and 3! Anything we can look forward to for the upcoming seasons?

I am overwhelmed and shocked they picked it up...I feel grateful they have confidence in us. And I'm grateful that we get to try and make people laugh every week for longer. I just know this year the characters are going to spread out a little more.

The first season was about re-introducing the characters to the audience, and I know that Grace is going to start dating in the second season. Each one of us is going to have something new happening in their lives -- so, I'm looking forward to that.

You can find out more about the Maxx You project here.

This interview has been edited and condensed.