On Nov. 27, Prince Harry announced to the world that he asked American actress Meghan Markle to marry him. The two had been dating for more than a year, he is a prince, and they are in love, so it was no surprise she said yes.
In the whirlwind of engagement announcements, rings, and wedding planning, it can be hard to remember that Markle is not only a future royal but also a fellow human being, who was once upon a time a struggling 20-something just like the rest of us.
In an op-ed written for Darling Magazine years before she’d become a member of the royal family, Markle wrote about her life and struggles as both an actress and a woman in incredibly candid fashion.
“It wasn’t that long ago that I was crawling into my car through the trunk after an audition for ‘Girl #2.’ I had a beat up Ford Explorer Sport that rattled like a steamboat engine in the morning, and had decided it didn’t want to open from the front doors anymore,” Markle wrote. “It was burning out. It had started to give up. It was tired and running on empty going from audition to audition, just as I was.”
She continued by explaining the depths of despair she experienced as a working actress, going from audition to audition, feeling as though she was never quite thin enough or pretty enough to make the cut, until finally, someone stepped in and said exactly the right thing.
“You need to know that you’re enough,” a casting director named April Webster told a young Markle during an audition. "Less makeup, more Meghan.”
Markle went on to explain that as an actress, “you spend your days believably saying someone else’s words for a living. Bringing life to someone else’s thoughts.”
But in all the years that she played Rachel on the hit show “Suits,” Markle said she learned who she was by living out her dreams and simply going after what she wanted. She closed the piece by saying: “ I would discover that I am enough.”
Of course, this isn’t Markle's first time giving women everywhere the words they need to hear. In 2015, Meghan spoke at the U.N. Women’s conference, where she explained how at the age of 11 she fought against the patriarchy by helping change the way soap is advertised to women. Specifically, she saw a soap advertised with the tagline, "Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans."
"I remember feeling shocked and angry and also just feeling so hurt. It just wasn't right and something needed to be done," Markle said.
Instead of sitting idly by, she wrote letters to every powerful woman she could think of, including Hillary Clinton, civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred, and journalist Linda Ellerbee — and the soap manufacturer in question, Procter & Gamble.
And guess what? Markle won. Just one month after her campaign, the soap company changed its tagline from “Women all over America" to "People all over America."
"It means that a wife is equal to her husband, a sister to her brother,” Markle said. “Not better, not worse — they are equal."