What many people don’t know about Meghan Markle, aside from the fact that she stars in a popular TV show and has a royal boyfriend, is that she is an activist. And, no, not one just because she’s famous and it’s ‘the thing to do’; rather, Markle has been like this for as long as she can remember, raised by parents who “came from little so they made a choice to give a lot.”
In a new essay for Elle U.K., Markle writes candidly about using her celebrity to shed light on important social issues, from women’s rights to child poverty, all while reconciling her endeavours in both “Hollywood fantasy” and “third-world reality.”
“Sitting in a school classroom when I was 11 years old, a dish-washing liquid commercial came on a TV with the tagline, ‘Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.’ The boys yelled out, ‘Yeah, that’s where women belong. In the kitchen.’ My little freckled face became red with anger,” she recalled. “I went home and wrote letters to feminist civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred, plus a kids’ news programme host, and Hillary Clinton (our first lady at the time). They all pledged support. A few months later, the commercial was changed to ‘People all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.'”
She writes that she spoke about that moment on International Women’s Day, “a testament to the fighting spirit I had as a girl, and the responsibility I now feel as a woman and as an actress.
— Meghan Markle (@meghanmarkle) October 24, 2016
“The moment Suits became successful and I realised people (especially young girls) were listening to what I had to say, I knew I needed to be saying something of value,” said Markle, who serves as a global ambassador for World Vision as well as an advocate for U.N. Women. She also started her lifestyle website, The Tig, which along with recipes and style advice also includes thoughtful pieces about self-empowerment and profiles of inspiring women. “I was hoping to integrate social consciousness and subjects of higher value than selfies.”
Markle acknowledges in her essay that without her day job, a lot of her life wouldn’t be possible.
“Don’t get me wrong — the entertainment industry matters: it gives people an escape, a catalyst to laugh and to balance the realities of life. Plus, my gig as a working actor is the hand that feeds me. Without that, I could never be the hand that feeds another at this level.”
She adds: “With fame comes opportunity, but it also includes responsibility — to advocate and share, to focus less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings.” Ahh. And this is why Meghan is the perfect match for Prince Harry. They’re just two people, living their lives, helping others, doing good, and if they find love in the middle of it all, bonus.
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) November 22, 2016