Being an actress and an active humanitarian is an interesting combination. Add in also being Prince Harry’s girlfriend and you are guaranteed international media attention, whether you seek it or not.
Meet Meghan Markle, an American woman with a mind of her own and a determination to make a difference to the world.
The daughter of a Caucasian father and an African-American mother, she has had to deal with racism as she grew up, but has remained proud of her mixed-race heritage and refuses to compromise her ideals.
Meghan was educated at Los Angeles’ Immaculate Heart High School, which boasts an impressive list of alumni including two other successful actors Lucie Arnaz and the late Mary Tyler Moore.
Blessed with both beauty and brains, this Catholic schoolgirl later graduated from Northwestern University in 2003 with a double major in theatre and international relations, and worked for the US embassy in Buenos Aires, focusing on a path of foreign service, before being enticed to follow acting. She is best known for her signature role of lawyer Rachel Zane in the TV series Suits.
She is a global ambassador for World Vision Canada, and last year travelled to Rwanda for the Clean Water Campaign. She has also worked as an advocate with the United National Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.
She is one of the 40 women featured in the book The Game Changers: Success Secrets from 40 Women at the Top, explaining how her humanitarian interest developed from her website, The Tig.
“UN women reached out to me through The Tig after I wrote a piece on women’s empowerment,” she wrote.
“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,” she said.
“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 that these organisations entrust me to represent their message,” she wrote.
Meghan is well aware of the superficial messages that her industry of film and television promotes for women, and is determined to focus on inner beauty and the issues that really matter to her.
Her social conscience had its roots in her volunteering in a Los Angeles soup kitchen at the age of 13.
“One of my mentors told me ‘Life is about putting others’ needs above your own fears’. That has always stayed with me. 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,” she said.
“With fame comes opportunity, but in my opinion, it also includes responsibility—to advocate and share, to focus less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings, and if I’m lucky enough, then to inspire,” Meghan told huffingtonpost.ca.
Inspirational is a good word for this determined young actor and humanitarian who might one day also be a princess.