In a new essay for Elle UK, Meghan Markle, star of “Suits” and girlfriend of Britain’s Prince Harry, wrote about using her fame to spread philanthropy.
She shares a story about traveling from a refugee camp in Rwanda and being invited to attend the BAFTAs via an email from her manager. She recalls looking out of the car window and taking in a land of “verdant beauty that had been riddled with genocide and unrest only 22 years ago” and deciding not to attend the awards show.
“And in that moment, my gut said no because while my two worlds can coexist, I’ve learned that being able to keep a foot in both is a delicate balance,” she wrote. “No, they are not mutually exclusive but guiding my heart through the swinging pendulum from Hollywood fantasy to third-world reality is challenging in its own way.”
Markle says that her parents raised her to be a “global citizen,” an “adult with a social consciousness” who recognizes and addresses the injustices in the world, including poverty and inequality. She explains that her platform as a celebrity has afforded her even more of an opportunity to do so.
“The moment ‘Suits’ became successful and I realised people (especially young girls) were listening to what I had to say, I knew I needed to be saying something of value,” she continued. “Don’t get me wrong, the entertainment industry matters: it gives people an escape, a catalyst to laugh and to balance the realities of life. Plus, my gig as a working actor is the hand that feeds me. Without that, I could never be the hand that feeds another at this level.”
With all the attention that her relationship with Prince Harry has garnered, it seems she may have even more of a chance to share her charity work and encourage others to join her.
“With fame comes opportunity, but it also includes responsibility — to advocate and share, to focus less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings,” Markle concluded. “And, if I’m lucky enough, to inspire.”