It may be hard to imagine, but for the Duchess of Sussex, it was once difficult to find roles in Hollywood. However, the first audition that Meghan Markle finally got was in a rom-com with Ashton Kutcher. She told Dave on UKTV that her first movie audition was as “Hot Girl #1” in A Lot Like Love.
Markle Says Being Biracial Made It Difficult to Land Roles
The Duchess of Sussex and wife of Prince Harry, gorgeous and smart as she is, explained why landing a role was difficult in an essay she wrote for Elle. She attributes the challenge to being biracial, which was perplexing because she thought it opened her up to more opportunities.
“Being ‘ethnically ambiguous, as I was pegged in the industry, meant I could audition for virtually any role,” wrote Markle. “Morphing from Latina when I was dressed in red, to African American when in mustard yellow; my closet filled with fashionable frocks to make me look as racially varied as an Eighties Benetton poster.”
But as she soon learned, it wasn’t that easy.
“I wasn’t black enough for the black roles and I wasn’t white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn’t book a job,” she added.
Markle Played Minor TV Roles Prior to the Ashton Kutcher Film
Prior to landing her small role as “Hot Girl #1” alongside Ashton Kutcher, Meghan Markle did get some roles in TV. She played a “Student Sitting on Stage” in an episode of Married… With Children in 1995. Markle also played “Jill” in one episode of General Hospital in 2002, “Natasha” in one episode of Century City in 2004, and “Cori” in an episode of Cuts in 2005. That’s a pretty rough timeline. Years in between one-time roles on TV shows isn’t enough to pay the bills. Markle did freelance calligraphy and served as a restaurant hostess to pay her way through life while looking for acting jobs.
Meghan Markle Was “Hot Girl #1” in the Ashton Kutcher Film
Markle once told CNN that her parents helped support her a bit while she looked for acting jobs.
“I was doing calligraphy, and I was a hostess at a restaurant — and all those things that actors do,” she said. “My father knew how hard it is for an actor to get work, so he above all people was so proud that I was able to beat the odds.”
2005 was the same year that Markle was cast in A Lot Like Love with Ashton Kutcher. After that, she was cast more frequently. She was a “briefcase girl” on NBC’s Deal or No Deal for 34 episodes between 2006 and 2007. Markle recently described the show as making her feel as though she was treated like a “bimbo” due to its focus on looks.
She was cast in 12 more TV shows up through 2009, including CSI: NY and 90210. 90210 and Fringe cast Markle for two episodes each, but the others only used her one time.
In 2010, Markle landed her second film role as Megan in the romantic drama Remember Me. She played Jamie in Horrible Bosses and was cast in a handful of other TV shows, movies, and TV movies.
Meghan’s Big Break Was Also Her Final Role Before Being Cast on the World Stage
Markle didn’t have her big break until she was cast as Rachel Zane in Suits in 2011. But that was huge. She was the star of the very popular show, playing a witty, sexy paralegal for seven of the show’s nine seasons. Markle also played the same character in a webisode version of Suits which aired from 2012 to 2014. According to Town and Country Magazine, Markle earned about $50,000 per episode and brought $450,000 a year on Suits — nearly half a million-dollar salary.
However, Markle’s big break was also her final role as an actress. It’s clear that she stepped into a much bigger role now that she’s a Duchess of the British Royal Family. She’s now on the world stage as a humanitarian and the wife of Prince Harry. Her estimated net worth today is about $60 million.
When Variety asked Markle if she’d ever return to acting, she said she wouldn’t.
“No. I’m done,” she said. “I guess never say never, but my intention is to absolutely not.”
Markle Says if You Get Cast as Her, Give Her a Call
She also gave some advice to anyone who might portray her in the future.
“I hope that in preparing for that role, she finds the softness and the playfulness and the laughter,” Markle said. “The silliness. I just hope she finds the dimensions. Also, she can call me!”
It’s honestly no surprise that Markle’s decided to call it quits with acting. She put in a lot of work just in the audition process and it took her 16 years to finally make her big break. That was after studying Theatre at Northwestern University. To her benefit, Markle double-majored, also studying International Studies—something that surely must help her now that she’s married to Prince Harry.
These days, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry run their own foundation, Archewell. It was the replacement for Sussex Royal when they moved to California. They also have two adorable young children, son Archie Harrison (3) and daughter Lilibet Diana (1).
Markle also hosts a successful podcast, Archetypes, where she interviews female powerhouses and discusses labels that hold women back. The purpose of the podcast is to “investigate, dissect, and subvert, the labels that try to hold women back.” You can listen to her podcast for free on Spotify.
As for the Ashton Kutcher film, it’s now clear that Markle is much more than a “Hot Girl.”