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Cover Story

Mindy Grossman and Debra Messing
Dottie Mattison, Debra Messsing and Margarita Arriagada
Mark Shriver and Christina Huffington
Mark Shriver and Christina Huffington
Debra Messing (center) is accompanied by aunt Eva Simons, boyfriend Will Chase, parents Sandra and Brian Messing
Debra Messing (center) is accompanied by aunt Eva Simons, boyfriend Will Chase,
parents Sandra and Brian Messing

Dottie Mattison with husband Craig and sons Chase, 6, Hank, 9, and Ned, 12
Dottie Mattison with husband Craig and sons Chase, 6, Hank, 9, and Ned, 12

Debra Messingís Mom Tells
How To Have It All

S mother is her role model, Debra Messing brought mom to share the moment at the 35th annual Outstanding Mother Awards. Accepting her award, Debra said, "In honoring me you are really celebrating her."

The 2003 Emmy winner for NBCís Will & Grace, and current star of Smash on the same network, said her mother, Sandra Ellen Messing, grew up with very little "but always had hope and chutzpah." As a teenager in the 1950s, Sandra recorded albums with an all-girl quartet, The Brookstones. She married at 16 and became the mother of two very energetic children.

Brooklyn-born Debra, who grew up in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, would dream aloud about someday becoming an actress. Her mom was encouraging: "It has to be someone, why not you?"

Her brother Brett wanted to be president.

Her mother, Debra said, was driven to give back to the community, "working tirelessly for the Jewish Federation. She believed the greatest gift you could give a child was education. And so this woman, who never got to go, proudly watched both of her kids graduate from college, and go on to earn masterís degrees."

One day as an exhausted, overwhelmed new mother, working actress and HIV advocate, Debra called her mom in tears. "I was feeling paralyzed and inept, despairing over the impossibility of doing it all."

Mom was calm and steady and told her, "You canít have it all. But I do believe you can have it all at different times. Prioritize. And be kind to yourself."

Applause thundered from the 500 guests at the 35th anniversary Outstanding Mother Awards sponsored by the National Motherís Day Committee at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan. The committee recognizes exceptional women for balancing career and family.

Mindy Grossman, chief executive officer of HSN (Home Shopping Network) and luncheon emcee, said the dual role of career and motherhood is not an easy task. When she gets asked, how do you balance both, she answers, "I donít."

The committee also honored Margarita Arriagada, chief merchant of Sephora USA; Dottie Mattison, senior managing director of Guggenheim Partners; and Arianna Huffington, president of the Huffington Post Media Group, who was represented by daughter Christina while her mother was in Japan to launch Huffington Post there.

Arriagada said her husband should be getting an award. "I have a great husband who has held us altogether," she said. "My mom has been my greatest inspiration, all five feet of her. She should be the poster child of "Yes we can." What I learned from her is to defy conventional wisdom."

The Outstanding Mother Awards luncheon benefits U.S. programs of Save the Children, dedicated to making positive change fort children living in poverty. Mark Shriver is senior vice president that initiative.




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