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
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”