The Duchess of Sussex’s CV was amended to include her 15-year acting career alongside her charity work, commitment to gender equality and ‘feminist’ status
Meghan Markle’s acting career is getting more recognition from the Royal Family.
The Duchess of Sussex and former actress’ new bio, originally published last week on Kensington Palace’s website, was recently updated to include her 15-year Hollywood career — a resume highlight initially missing from the main page of her profile, which instead focused on her charity and activism as a feminist. Before the update, readers had to click an additional biography page to read more about her career.
Markle’s amended bio lists a new career section addressing her work on USA’s “Suits,” a crime-drama TV show on which she portrayed the role of Rachel Zane. “After university Her Royal Highness worked as an actress, appearing in film and television,” it reads. “She most notably played the role of Rachel Zane on the series ‘Suits’ for seven seasons, completing over 100 episodes. Whilst working on ‘Suits,’ The Duchess moved to Toronto, Canada where the show was filmed; she feels very connected to Canada, as it became a second home to her.”
While fans were initially upset that the bio glossed over Markel’s acting career, a pivotal part of her resume, a spokesperson from Kensington Palace told Metro UK that the changes were made due to formatting and design, not the content itself.
But marketing Meghan Markle as a royal means positioning her as a role model, not a celebrity, experts say of why the bio was strategically crafted to reflect her life of trailblazing ahead.
“She’s now in a position to bring her passion for advancing women and girls to the 2.5 billion people in the Commonwealth — that’s a bigger platform than she ever could have as an actress. And with power like that, she could be an icon for new generation of young women,” Ann Shoket, millennial expert and author of “The Big Life,” told Moneyish. “Kate Middleton’s story is a classic fairytale. She’s polished, poised, pretty — and she got her prince. For Meghan to claim her feminism is a new story for a new generation.”
The profile of the 36-year-old royal, who wed Prince Harry in a ceremony Saturday at Windsor Castle, lists her work for UN Women and support for charities like the Myna Mahila Foundation, which provides menstrual hygiene products and job opportunities for women living in Indian slums. The royal CV also focuses on Markle being an active feminist — a commitment tracing back to her successfully campaigning at age 11 to change a Procter & Gamble TV ad for Ivory dish soap that featured sexist language — by quoting a line from a speech she once gave at the UN: “I am proud to be a woman and feminist.” The profile also goes on to reference Markle’s volunteering at a soup kitchen in her native Los Angeles as a teenager.
“She’s not going to be acting anymore; the rest of her life is going to be focusing on charitable causes, so it makes sense to emphasize that she already has a track record,” David Schmid, a pop culture professor at the University at Buffalo, told Moneyish.
Readers must click on a secondary “Biography” page to see that the newly minted royal worked on the USA show “Suits,” portraying lead character Rachel Zane for seven years and 100 episodes until she ultimately retired from the role to marry Prince Harry. The former star’s first acting gig was on the soap “General Hospital” in 2002, when she played a nurse; she went on to appear on the TV shows “Fringe” and “Deal or No Deal,” and star in eight films including “Anti-Social” and “Horrible Bosses.” Outside of Hollywood, Markle wrote and edited a lifestyle website called The Tig, which she used to write social justice-focused pieces on gender equality, along with more lighthearted food, fashion and travel content.
“I don’t see this new bio as a way to downplay Meghan’s acting career, but rather to highlight the natural skills that have prepared her for her next role as Duchess of Sussex,” said Shoket. “For Meghan, her new role as Duchess of Sussex gives her a massive platform to have an impact on the issues she cares about. Lucky for us, she cares about advancing women and girls.”
The royal wedding was a groundbreaking moment for diversity and inclusion as Markle, the daughter of a black mother and white father, became the first woman of color ever to marry into the British royal family. The nuptials featured a ceremony led by the first African-American head of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Michael Bruce Curry, who tied in themes of social justice and civil rights and quotes from a slave song and a Martin Luther King Jr. speech throughout his sermon. There was also a gospel choir singing music by Etta James and Ben E. King; and 19-year-old cello soloist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the first black musician to win BBC’s Young Musician of the Year Award — yielding a positive response from viewers who otherwise wouldn’t have cared to tune in.
“Monarchy is, for me and millions of others around the world, a morally untenable arrangement,” Anand Giridharadas, journalist and author of the forthcoming book “Winners Take All,” told Moneyish. “Why this family to enjoy these privileges and not some other? The wedding didn’t change my view on that, but it suggested a way in which the indefensible arrangement of monarchy can attempt to redeem itself somewhat, can at least make itself useful: by using the security that unearned privilege gives one to interrogate other varieties of unearned privilege.”
The wedding earned high praise from a number of celebrities, like author and “Grey’s Anatomy” showrunner Shonda Rhimes, who tweeted that the ceremony was a pivotal moment for young women of color.
“My four year old upon seeing Meghan Markle’s mother: ‘Mommy, the queen is so beautiful!” Me: ‘Yes. Yes, she is,’” she tweeted. “She never once noticed any other Queen in the room. My work here is done.”
My 4 year old upon seeing Meghan Markle’s mother: “Mommy, the Queen is so beautiful!” Me: “Yes. Yes, she is.” She never once noticed any other Queen in the room. My work here is done.
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) May 20, 2018
So it’s no wonder brands want to jump on board Markle’s royal bandwagon. The Girl Scouts claimed Markle as “our first Girl Scout Princess,” noting that Markle is a Girl Scout alum who has long championed young women creating positive change around the world.
Experts also point out that Markle’s “brand,” so to speak, is inherently different than that of Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, whose platform is advocating for children’s mental health and well-being.
“What they have in common is an interest in philanthropy and charity,” Schmid said. “Markle seems to appeal to a younger, more international and diverse demographic.”
Now that the wedding is over, many will be looking to Markle to use her role to promote change.
“If Meghan pushes to make life better for those who have been marginalized, then I think she’ll be celebrated,” said U.K.-based radio host and royal expert James Max, “and if she doesn’t, they’ll say it’s a missed opportunity.”
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