While the world now knows her as “Prince Harry’s new girlfriend“, those who’re acquainted with Meghan Markle know she’s an inspiring woman who can more than hold her own. Here are six things you need to know about her, as told in an extract from Samantha Brett and Steph Adams’ new book The Game Changers: Success Secrets From 40 Women At The Top, $19.95:
Meghan Markle is a force to be reckoned with. She is best known for her role as Rachel Zane on the hit US television series Suits. She is a World Vision Ambassador and United Nations Women Advocate and is also the founder of the website The Tig, which she describes as “a hub for the discerning palate” catering to those with a hunger for good food, travel, fashion and beauty.
“I was working for the US Embassy and was going down a path of foreign service. In university, I double majored in Theatre and International Relations, so I knew I loved the energy of both, but wasn’t sure where I would settle, career-wise.
I was home (in Los Angeles) over the holiday one year, and a manager asked a friend for a student film I had done. She sent it to him and he called me a few days later, saying he wanted to represent me. It was a turning point because I was able to take a step back and re-evaluate what I really wanted to be doing. Plus, truth be told, I was a little homesick at the time, so staying in LA for a bit to roll the dice with an acting career seemed liked a good idea. Thank God it worked!”
“There is just no way of knowing that a show will be a success until it actually becomes one. I had shot five different pilots for various networks that always had amazing buzz. I was convinced they would all get picked up – and none of them did. So when Suits came about, I was really drawn to the character, and I loved how intelligent and driven she was – but I also thought I gave a terrible audition.
Thankfully, the producers thought otherwise and I booked the role, but it wasn’t for several months after filming the first episode, that we found out the show was picked up. It was my first pilot that was ever ordered to series, so the phone call from my agent saying it was being greenlit still remains one of the best days of my life. Once I got over the shock, that is! I was absolutely paralysed in disbelief.”
Markle as Rachel in hit show Suits. Image: Suits
Rachel vs Meghan.
"We are both strong-willed and driven, as well as being layered and sensitive. I love that as the seasons have progressed, we have gotten past that tough exterior to see how much depth Rachel has, and I appreciate that as much as she is the moral compass of the show, she is still flawed. I love that it humanises her - she’s not perfect. The difference between the two of us is that she certainly cries a lot more than I do, but for good reason. Her life is a tad more dramatic than mine, so I certainly can’t judge. What do we have in common? Our ambition and our taste in shoes."
Listen: Mamamia Out Loud discusses Meghan's new relationship. Post continues below.
Founding The Tig.
"When you spend so much time as an actor saying other people’s words for a living, it was really important to me to find a space where I could say my own words. I love that The Tig has become this outlet for me personally, but that it has also become a community of so much support for the internal aspect. In my industry, it’s such a game of smoke and mirrors, of retouching and distortion, that I feel it gives a false message of what young women feel they need to live up to.
Beyond that, I just find it’s very important to counteract how much snakiness we find in media and create a space where women support and encourage each other. There’s that great quote that I use as a catalyst for my thinking when crafting much of the content on The Tig: 'Girls with dreams become women with vision.' I want The Tig to be part of that narrative - to be part of that vision." (post continues after gallery)
United Nations Women and World Vision.
"UN Women reached out to me through The Tig after I wrote a piece on women’s empowerment. It was a pleasure to begin working closely with them to advocate for women and girls, and I continue to do that now as Global Ambassador for World Vision, where I recently traveled to Rwanda. Using my hiatus between filming to focus on passion-driven projects and humanitarian work is incredibly high value to me, and to be honest - I’m just really humbled that these organisations entrust me to represent their messaging."
Fitting everything in.
"It’s a balance, that’s for sure! I am self-sufficient and a go-getter, so often times I have to remind myself to take a moment to just breathe. My brain is always going, but at the end of the day, because it is all stuff that I am passionate about, it’s easier to not feel exhausted as I squeeze it all in. I just hired an assistant for the first time, so hopefully that will help a bit. It feels mighty grown up, I must say!"
Being a game changer.
"I started working at a soup kitchen in skid row of Los Angeles when I was 13 years old, and the first day I felt really scared. I was young, and it was rough and raw down there, and though I was with a great volunteer group, I just felt
I remember one of my mentors (Mrs. Maria Pollia) told me that ‘life is about putting others’ needs about your own fears’. That has always stayed with me. Yes, make sure you are safe and never ever put yourself in a compromising situation, but once that is checked off the list, I think it’s really important for us to remember that someone needs us and that your act of giving/helping/doing can truly become an act of grace once you get out of your head."
This is an extract from new book The Game Changers - Success Secrets From 40 Women At The Top compiled by Samantha Brett and Steph Adams. It's available to preorder now as an eBook and coffee table book ahead of its release on December 1st. The project is also raising money for the Pink Hope Foundation.