The Duchess of Sussex recalled her days as a successful actress, revealing that she had to have “the thickest skin” to survive in the tough industry.
For the latest episode of her podcast, Archetypes, Meghan Markle sat down with activist Deepika Padukone and actress Constance Wu to discuss “the ways ‘crazy’ is used to diminish women’s credibility”. The Duchess of Sussex suggested she has been labelled “crazy” over her mental health as she discussed other slurs including “hysterical,” “nuts,” “insane” and “completely irrational”. Later, Constance Wu talked about her experiences as an actress, opening up about facing rejection, fearing failure and what happens behind the scenes.
Meghan, a former Hollywood star, related to Constance, agreeing with the challenges aspiring actresses face and remembering having “to have the thickest skin” to succeed in the industry. However, the Duchess hinted that her own Hollywood days are well and truly behind her, referring to her career as an actress as her “past life”. Since Meghan and her husband Prince Harry stepped down from their roles within the Royal Family, questions have been asked about what the couple might do next alongside their private ventures. One theory was that Meghan would return to acting, particularly because she is back in LA and close to where her successful Hollywood career first began.
Appearing on an episode of Kinsey Schofield’s To Di For Daily podcast in July, Columnist Perez Hilton argued that the Duchess is likely to return to acting. He said: “I definitely see her going back into acting. Absolutely. But, it will be: This is my passion project — things that she’s also a producer on that she really wants to get out there into the world.” Soon after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex relinquished their royal duties, they signed a multi-million-pound deal with streaming giant Netflix. Up until May, Meghan served as an executive producer on the family-friendly, animated series ‘Pearl’, but amid widespread cost-cutting moves, the programme was axed. The couple’s contract with the streaming service remains and it is understood that they have other projects in the works.
The Duchess is well-versed in the world of Hollywood, having upheld an acting career for over 15 years. Her career began when she was just 11 years old; she made her first television appearance speaking out against a “sexist” Procter & Gamble commercial for Ivory dishwasher soap. In the years that followed, she appeared in the music video for Tori Amos’ 1999 hit song ‘1000 Oceans’ and worked at a frozen yoghurt shop.
In 2002, she secured her first official acting credit as Nurse Jill, a small role in ‘General Hospital’ — the TV show her father, Thomas Markle, worked on as a lighting director. Throughout the Noughties, Meghan landed a number of one-off roles on shows like ‘CSI’, ‘The League’, and ‘Knight Rider’, as well as a recurring role on ‘90210’. It wasn’t until 2011 that the actress got her ‘big break’ when she earned her role as Rachel Zane in the legal drama ‘Suits’. From 2011 to 2018, Meghan was a recurring character in the hit TV show.
Speaking about the role in 2018, Meghan told Marie Claire: “I see Rachel as such a good friend, and when you play a character you love, it’s so much easier. I root for her; I’m almost like a fan. “If I wasn’t on the show, I would really love this show, because each of the characters are like someone you know. Rachel is like the ultimate best friend — who has a closet that I always borrow things from in my personal life.” ‘Suits’ ran for nine seasons, but Meghan left the legal drama at the end of season seven. It was at this time that her engagement to Harry was announced.
During the couple’s first joint interview, which aired on the BBC in November 2017, Meghan explained why she made the decision to step away from acting. She said: “What’s been really exciting, as we talk about this as the transition out of my career… is that the causes that have been very important to me, I can focus even more energy on. “You realise that as you have access, or a voice that people are willing to listen to, [it comes with] a lot of responsibility, which I take seriously.”
Asked about the decision to give up her career, she responded: “I don’t see it as giving anything up. I just see it as a change. It’s a new chapter. And keep in mind I’ve been working on my show for seven years. We were very fortunate to have that sort of longevity on a series. “For me, once we hit the 100 episode marker, I thought, I have ticked this box and I feel really proud of the work we’ve done there and now it’s time to work as a team with [Harry].” Immediately following the engagement announcement, it was officially confirmed that Meghan would be leaving ‘Suits’. In a statement, USA Network said: “From all of us at USA Network and Universal Cable Productions, we want to send our most heartfelt congratulations to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on their engagement.
“Meghan has been a member of our family for seven years and it has been a joy to work with her. We want to thank her for her undeniable passion and dedication to ‘Suits,’ and we wish her the very best.” Her storyline was wrapped up with her character marrying Patrick J. Adams, who played her love interest Mike Ross throughout the show’s seven seasons. In the year the seventh season aired, Meghan married Harry at St George’s Chapel in Windsor; several of her ‘Suits’ castmates were guests at the wedding.
Until they exited the firm in 2020, Meghan and Harry served as senior working royals. They carried out a number of royal appearances, official tours and charitable trips as part of the Royal Family. In January 2020, they shared their decision to be “financially independent” and take a “step back” from the Firm. The couple moved across the pond and have since settled in Santa Barbara. As well as signing huge deals with Spotify and Netflix, the Sussexes set up their own non-profit Archewell and opened work alongside several charities and organisations.
Meghan published her first children’s book, ‘The Bench,’ and Harry has continued his important work as a military veteran, namely working as founding patron of the Invictus Games Foundation. While acting may not be on the cards for Meghan, her successful podcast is just one of the many projects she and Harry are working on. There have been multiple reports that the couple is working on an at-home style documentary series and the Prince’s upcoming memoir continues to be the topic of widespread speculation.
Their recent return to Europe for a series of charity events suggested that the Sussexes are broadening their scope of work as they continue to distance themselves from the Royal Family.