June 18, 2018 01:12 PM

Debra Messing certainly has her pick of any dress or high-fashion designer imaginable, but back in the day, she relied on one store for epic finds, T.J.Maxx.

“My mother took me to T.J.Maxx every other week to scour the racks my entire childhood,” she recalls. In fact, she even got one of her first major dresses from the brand. “When I was in college, I had a formal to go to. I needed a dress, a cocktail dress. I remember coming home and my mom took me to T.J.Maxx, and I found this beautiful emerald green cocktail dress that was velvet on top and satin on the bottom and sleeveless. I felt so beautiful in it. It really was my favorite dress of that era.”

So teaming up with T.J.Maxx for The Maxx You Project felt like a natural fit. “When I heard they were doing The Maxx You Project it just felt like the perfect marriage because it’s all about supporting and encouraging women’s individuality and this year what’s most exciting to me is that it’s now about embracing community in order to lift women up.”

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The Maxx You Project is a community that encourages women to embrace their individuality — together. According to new research, over half of women filter their individuality to succeed in society, but 75 percent of women say that when they see others being true to who they are, they’re inspired to do the same. So Maxx You is hosting series of workshops and a Facebook group to connect women and offer creative, inspiring solutions for them to embrace their individuality.

Messing is kicking the whole project off on June 19 by encouraging women to visit maxxyouproject.com to sign up for the upcoming workshops in L.A., Atlanta and N.Y.C., which provide networking opportunities and intimate talks from keynote speakers. And she’ll also be joining the Facebook community herself to be a part of the conversation.

“You’re bringing all of these women together to empower each other to co-create strategies so that you can progress more quickly for attaining your dreams,” Messing says. “It’s a multi-pronged initiative, which I think is really smart.”

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And Messing understands the importance of having great girlfriends in your life that lift you up. She talks daily on a text chain with her friends, which includes her bestie Mariska Hargitay.

“She’s an incredible friend,” she says about Hargitay. “There’s a group of us who really make it a point that we all get together for at least every three months in the same room because we really are inspired by one another. We have a text chain, all of us as well, so we check in with each other every day.”

So she wants to help as many other women come together to support and inspire one another. “I really believe in the power of women and what women can do, when they get together and women can lift each other up in a way that nothing else can,” she says.

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