Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for T.J.Maxx
Angelica Florio
July 02, 2018 10:32 am

When we’re young, fitting in is usually a high priority, which means that we don’t necessarily love the things about ourselves that make us different. Will and Grace star Debra Messing knows all too well what that’s like, because it turns out the actress used to hate her curly, red hair — yes, the part of her appearance that she’s best known for. In a recent interview with HelloGiggles, Messing revealed how she learned to love her hair — and it took a lot.

While sitting down with Messing at NYC’s Milk Studios for the Maxx You project launch, Messing said, “When I was young I hated my hair. I grew up in the rural suburbs and most everybody — in terms of the girls — had straight, shiny blonde hair, and yeah, I have the crazy, kinky, curly hair.”

She explained that she didn’t know anything about products or what to use on her hair, so “when I would try to straighten it that was a nightmare, because it would just grow and I would look like Ronald McDonald.”

It’s surprising to hear Messing talk about her hair so critically because those flowy, red locks are what sets her apart from everyone else. It turns out, though, that that’s exactly what she didn’t like about her gorgeous hair.

Things started to change for Messing when she saw an ad featuring a woman with curly hair.

Because representation matters, y’all. “I saw a…Breck commercial in [a] magazine and [the model] had flowing, shiny but great curls and I was like, ‘That’s what I want.’”

Well, that wasn’t the end of the story for Messing, because she continued to experience a few hair mishaps along the way — we’ve all had those, right? “For some reason, I thought I could achieve that with a perm. And you can only imagine how that turned out, so I definitely struggled with it,” Messing said.

Everything *actually* changed once Messing booked a hair commercial herself.

The actress appeared in a Clairol commercial in the 1990s, which totally celebrated her unique hair.

“I got into acting and it became something that identified me and I got a hair commercial, and I thought ‘oh, okay.’ I mean I knew my hair was thick and I knew it was healthy, but I think once that happened I got that validation.” The rest was history. Or “hairstory,” if you will.

Considering that Messing’s curly, red hair became a defining quality for her Will and Grace character, the actress’s story proves that standing out is definitely a good thing.

“I came to love it,” Messing said. “I love it when it’s kinky and curly, and I love it when it’s blown out. I don’t have a preference, so I feel like that was about sort of growing up and realizing the things that make us different are the things that make us beautiful.”

We love Debra Messing’s hair so much too, and her story of hair acceptance only makes us love it more.

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