Meghan Markle OWN WORDS

IN HER THE AC­TOR – AND NOW, OF COURSE,C PRINCE HARRY’S GIRL­FRIEND – OPENS UP ABOUT OVER­COM­ING LIFE’S CHAL­LENGES IN A NEW BOOK

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Carrie Bickmore - The Game Chang­ers: Suc­cess Se­crets From 40 Women At The Top In­tro­duc­tion by HAN­NAH JAMES

It all started with a woman, a walk – and a favourite TV show. In Jan­uary, Sa­man­tha Brett had an idea. “I was walk­ing with my friend Steph Adams, who’s a creative di­rec­tor and in­flu­encer, dis­cussing the in­cred­i­ble women we meet and how great it would be to find out what chal­lenges they’ve over­come and how they’ve be­come women of in­flu­ence.”

Their roll­call of women in­cluded Elle Macpher­son, Gwyneth Pal­trow, Ari­anna Huff­in­g­ton – and Meghan Markle, an Amer­i­can ac­tor who un­til last month was best known for star­ring in le­gal drama Suits. Now, the 35-yearold is fa­mous for dat­ing Prince Harry and po­ten­tially be­com­ing the first mixed-race, di­vorced com­moner to join the Bri­tish royal fam­ily.

“We wanted to share their se­crets – and do it for an or­gan­i­sa­tion dear to us, the Pink Hope foun­da­tion,” says Brett.

The re­sult was

($39.95, avail­able at the­fe­malegame chang­ers.com and in book­stores from Jan 1, 2017). All par­tic­i­pants have in­vested time into this book, pen­ning es­says about their var­i­ous suc­cesses and set­backs.

“I wanted the es­says to be real, raw and can­did,” Brett tells Stel­lar. “I wanted them to write about their chal­lenges, and to ad­mit, ‘ This has been decades of hard work.’”

Markle’s in­clu­sion was serendip­i­tous, says Brett, a Seven Net­work news­reader. “We’ve been fans of Suits for years, and found Meghan has her own web­site, The Tig, where she writes about food, fash­ion, and women’s em­pow­er­ment – and she’s a United Na­tions Women Ad­vo­cate. Two weeks after she ap­proved the pages, the news about her dat­ing Harry broke. I was too scared to look at my email! I read the 5am news and it was the lead story. This is the most re­cent in­ter­view she’s done.”

But the goal of the book isn’t just to make head­lines. “I re­ally want women to read this book and feel any­thing is pos­si­ble,” says Brett. “To know it’s no longer a man’s world, and that women can be game-chang­ers.”

In this ex­clu­sive ex­tract, Markle re­calls her rise to star­dom and what drew her to hu­man­i­tar­ian work.

“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, then a man­ager called me say­ing he wanted to rep­re­sent me. It was a turn­ing point be­cause I was able to re-eval­u­ate what I re­ally wanted to do. 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 like a good idea. Thank God it worked!”

WHEN STAR­DOM CALLS

“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 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.”

FIND­ING HER VOICE ON­LINE

“When you spend so much time as an ac­tor say­ing other peo­ple’s words for a liv­ing, it was im­por­tant to find a space where I could say my own words. I love that The Tig is this out­let for me per­son­ally, but has also be­come a com­mu­nity of so much sup­port. 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.”

ON WORK­ING FOR THE UN

“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, with whom I re­cently trav­elled 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 hum­bled these or­gan­i­sa­tions en­trust me to rep­re­sent their mes­sag­ing.” WHY VOL­UN­TEER­ING MAT­TERS

“I started work­ing at a soup kitchen in LA 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 was over­whelmed. I re­mem­ber one of my men­tors, Maria Pol­lia, told me, ‘Life is about putting oth­ers’ needs above your own fears.’ That has al­ways stayed with me. Yes, make sure you are safe, but once that is checked off the list, it’s re­ally im­por­tant 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.”

“MY IN­DUS­TRY GIVES A FALSE MES­SAGE OF WHAT YOUNG WOMEN NEED TO LIVE UP TO”

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