Grace (Debra Messing, We Mean), HIV/AIDS Activist

Our beloved Grace (actually, my fourth-favorite out of the group) of “Will & Grace” fame, has taken to philanthropy–Debra Messing is currently an ambassador for PSI, a global health organization focused on ending AIDS, malaria, and other diseases in third world countries. Though rumor has it she’s went on to star in other shows–including some Broadway drama on NBC–most of us still see her on (and know from) Lifetime daily during the many televised hours of “W&G” reruns. Some of us may even schedule gym time around them. (Some of us may own seasons on DVD…)

Like this. (More of that, less of the creepy pseudo-love connection between Grace and Will.)

Anyway, we digress.

Today The Advocate brought us an interview with Messing–one that covers her work with PSI, her trips to Africa, and, yes, a little snippet about her show, Will & Grace “Smash.” And, to get serious, much of the interview is pretty intense–and moving. Here’s an excerpt about one of her experiences:

“I was shocked by the story of Irene, a woman I met in a community support center. A few years ago, Irene started to develop sores on her hands and over her body.  She didn’t understand why, and she was in such pain that it was difficult for her to simply move.  But the physical pain wasn’t the worst part. Irene was a greeter at her church, something she loved to do. But when she started getting visibly sick, people would not go near her. They told her flat out that she had AIDS, that she was going to die, and she began to believe them.  A friend insisted she get an HIV test, and as suspected, Irene tested positive.  When she shared the news with her son, instead of offering support he spat on her and told her she was as good as dead.”

And on why she’s so committed to the cause: “Twenty years ago, my favorite acting teacher, for whom my son is named, died of AIDS complications. His death destroyed me. From that day on, I vowed I would do whatever I could to honor his life and protect others from HIV and AIDS.”

Read the rest of the interview here. And viva la Grace!