By now, most of the world has heard of Megan Markle. Known as the American actress on the hit show Suits, the future Duchess of Sussex and future wife of Prince Harry of Wales. Many people may be surprised to know that Megan Markle is already well known and well established for far more than just her future royal status, and her successful Hollywood career. For many years, she has been heavily involved in working as a humanitarian and a feminist as an advocate for the UN, she is a counselor for international charity One Young World, as well she is World Vision Canada’s Global Ambassador. But this is nothing new to Megan, as she has been leading an inspiring and passionate life since she knew at the young age of 12 that she wanted to stand up for what she believed in and make a difference in this world.
After seeing a commercial about dishwashing soap which featured a women in the kitchen washing dishes with a tag line that stated “Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans”, Megan instantly felt upset as it insinuated that women “belonged in the kitchen” as opposed to taking on other more prominent roles in the household. This particularly enraged her after a group of boys in her class agreed and confirmed for her what gender stereotypes portray in commercials. ‘I remember feeling shocked and angry and also just feeling so hurt,’ Markle later stated in 2015 when she recalled the situation during a speech at a United Nations Conference on International Women’s Day. ‘It just wasn’t right and something needed to be done.”
After speaking with her father about her feelings towards the commercial, he encouraged her to write letters to a few select people in power who could help correct this overlooked portrayal of women in television. She wrote a letter to Proctor and Gamble, the parent company of Ivory, the first lady at the time, Hillary Clinton, renown civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred, and Nickelodeon News Anchor Linda Ellerbee. To her surprise, she got responses from all of them including Linda Ellerbee, who took her camera crew to meet Megan and share her story in a special on Nickelodeon. Proctor & Gamble replied by changing the wording of the commercial by replacing “women” with “people all over the world”. This small victory lit a fire in Megan that made her realize that her voice could be heard and that her actions had an impact in changing the world.
Megan’s supportive family would continue to play a huge role in the years to come as she tried to make a break in Hollywood. When she first started in the Film and Television industry she had a hard time finding her place and fitting in. “At first I felt displaced, like I didn’t fit in. Auditioning was hard; I was crawling into the trunk of my car because the doors wouldn’t open anymore and I couldn’t afford to fix it. Whatever they see on TV and whatever they think I am now, it was a long journey to get here.” After many years of hardships and struggle, she found that having a supportive and caring group of people around her as well as strongly believing in her own skill and talent, she finally got her break playing a strong, independent bi-racial women on television. She now can look back and feel inspired to share her journey with those who are struggling in their chosen fields. “It’s exciting for me to show very candidly that your life can be bigger than you ever imagined, and so much of that comes from self-belief and having people around you that are encouraging.”
As she found success and became a part of the public eye in making her big break on Suits, Megan continued to become more involved in projects and roles that made her feel like her actions had a purpose and her passion for human rights and equality could continue to have a meaningful voice. She has been lucky to able to be selective on projects that align with her values and her goals. In order to shed light on causes and organizations she felt passionate about, Megan created a lifestyle blog called The Tig in 2014, where she was able to have an open dialogue with her audience on topics that she felt a connection to. She knew she had found her purpose in life as she continued to feel the incredible rewards that came after being a part of incredible organizations where she could give back and give a voice to those who didn’t have one. “I gave a speech for International Women’s Day where Ban Ki Moon stood up and shook my hand afterwards – these are moments where I just had to pinch myself and recognize how amazing your life can feel when you are doing purpose driven work.”
Even with her busy schedule, she always found time to invest and focus on projects that aligned with her beliefs. “There will always be a reason as to why you can’t make it work, or why there isn’t enough time, but at the end of the day if they are passion projects then you find the time to make them work.” Megan learned quickly that taking on projects that inspired her, never felt like work at all. “When you take on a passion project, it’s not tiring, it’s invigorating”. After all is said and done, Megan is extremely passionate about staying healthy, and above water while carrying a career as well as pursuing your passion projects. “You juggle it all, and then make sure you practice self care – whether that means meditation or massage or just a nap. You have to take care of yourself so you can manage the workload of a very very full plate.”
How does Megan create balance while juggling her career, humanitarian work, and now future royal duties? “It’s not easy, and sometimes I have to turn it off…to enjoy my life for just me as opposed to wanting to share every moment captured. That’s the tough part – but you know what? I’m the luckiest girl in the world, I have so much opportunity and I’ve worked hard to see those doors open, so it would feel futile to not embrace every opportunity.”
Megan has proven that she can successfully juggle both the luxurious Hollywood lifestyle, as well as being a strong advocate for women’s rights and human equality. In the Spring of 2017, after 3 successful years, Megan decided to close the doors to her blog. Although many of her fans and followers were devastated with this decision, it does not seem like she will be leaving the public eye or slowing down anytime soon. She has made the decision to take a step back from her acting career, and now can put her full attention into the passion humanitarian projects that have brought so much joy and fulfillment to her life. We know that once she becomes an official member of the Royal Family, her passions and goals will continue to be the heart and soul of her life, and that she will not let the glitz and glam of royal life keep her from fulfilling her duty as a voice of equality and change. ‘I’ve never wanted to be a lady who lunches – I’ve always wanted to be a woman who works. And this type of work is what feeds my soul, and fuels my purpose.’
What lessons can we take from Megan’s life long journey of finding her purpose and following her passions?
1. If something does not feel right, you have every right to question it and try to change the narrative.
2. Surround yourself with strong people who support and believe in you
3. Take the time to focus on projects that inspire and bring purpose to your life
4. Never forget to take care of yourself
5. Continue to change and alter your life so that you can eventually have the freedom to focus on what truly matters to you
About the Author
Lindsay Mitchell lives in Vancouver and grew up in Brampton, Ontario. She is a freelance creative marketer, storyteller, and influencer. She is an extreme advocate for inspiring women in the workplace, a film buff, as well a seasoned Travel Bug who enjoys exploring new cities and countries. She can be found on Instagram @_lindsaymitchell @pinkcrowncreative or at www.pinkcrowncreative.com