I get it, Prince Harry – I like Meghan Markle too. While the pair have yet to confirm a conscious coupling, I think Markle is worthy of a prince. Why? While she’s fun to watch as Rachel Zane on Suits, she also gave me one of the nicest interviews I have ever had.
Meghan was so polite and warm, you’d think she was Canadian, especially since she lives in Toronto with her two dogs, Bogart and Guy. She was actually born in L.A., but she is the real deal. When I met her she offered up a generous handshake (with two hands!), unflinching eye contact and frank answers to my questions. Even her unassuming crisp white shirt and high-waisted flared jeans from Gap echoed her easygoing nature.
We met moments before she spoke to a large room full of youth workers and teachers about their roles in improving confidence in young girls and boys for Dove’s Self-Esteem Project. As a UN women’s advocate, she knows all too well the issues young girls face. In Grade 7, she told me, she had to fill out a census form with boxes to check for ethnicity as black, white, Latino or Asian. “There was no ‘mixed’ box,” she said. (Her mother is African-American and her father is Caucasian.) “I remember saying to the teacher, ‘Miss, I don’t know which one to pick,’ and she actually said, ‘Oh, Meghan, you look white, so just check white.’ Can you imagine?”
That was just the beginning of dealing with others’ ideas about her appearance. As an actor, Markle found herself being judged by her looks from the start. (Hot enough? Cute enough? Girl-next-door enough?) “When I was auditioning, it was so challenging because no matter what your sense of self is, you’re constantly being defined. You always have to fit a mould. But as women, we’re multi-layered.
“Many people will tell you you’re beautiful, [but] just as many will tell you they hate your face,” she said with a laugh that implied she’s told herself this before. The nasty comments on Instagram about her freckles and the terrible names she was called on Twitter when the “Logan plot” aired made her realize that people forget she’s a real person, not Rachel on TV. The real Meghan tells her followers, “Please, only kindness welcomed here.”
“I’ve started to learn that I have to remind myself of my own sense of worth outside of the character I play, outside of what people perceive me to be,” she said, “and that I am enough just as I am when I wake up in the morning with no makeup on, covered in dog hair.”
Gawd, how could Harry not love her?