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Meghan’s aspirations for daughter Lilibet in tribute to ‘my Lili’

Meghan and Harry: 'Royalty is bigger than any individual' says panelist

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Meghan Markle sat down with media personality Paris Hilton, journalist Clare Malone and comedian Iliza Schlesinger for the latest episode of her Spotify podcast, Archetypes. The women aimed to break down “The Bimbo” stereotype — a term most commonly used to describe a conventionally attractive woman who appears unintelligent. The Duchess of Sussex opened the podcast by recalling her days as a “briefcase girl” on Deal or No Deal, revealing that she only felt valued for her beauty, not her brains. Elsewhere in the episode, Iliza, revealed “the deep truth about the ‘dumb blonde’”, suggesting that it makes fun of women who are designing themselves to be “the type of attractive that Western culture and men said was attractive”. 

In response, Meghan said: “I don’t see that as an aspirational thing for women,” adding that she had different hopes for her daughter: “I want our daughters to aspire to be…” before Iliza interjected “slightly higher”. 

The Duchess continued: “Yeah. I want my Lili to want to be educated and want to be smart and to pride herself on those things.” 

Meghan went on to recall her own childhood, claiming that she felt as if she wasn’t “the pretty one”. She explained: “[I] was at that age… 10, 11… I was like: ‘I’m the smart one. I’m the smart one.’ That is all you have to hold on to.

“I had a crush on this boy named Chris…I couldn’t get Chris to look in my direction! And those are the things that sort of inform how you go — if you could be prettier or could be funnier — but again, that’s that angling constantly as a woman to try to be something that is desirable.”

The Duchess has previously touched on her self-image when she was growing up, describing herself as the “ugly duckling” in an earlier episode of the podcast.  

During a discussion about their childhoods, writer and actress Mindy Kaling asked Meghan: “Were you not the pretty one growing up?”

Meghan replied: “No. Oh god, no…No. Nuh-uh.” 

Mindy added: “That is news to me.”

The Duchess continued: “Ugly duckling…Look, maybe not conventional beauty as it… now, maybe that would be seen as beautiful but massive frizzy curly hair and a huge gap in my teeth. I was the smart one. Forever and ever and ever and ever. And, and then I just sort of grew up.”

Meghan grew up in downtown Los Angeles and was a student at Immaculate Heart High School — a Catholic private girls’ school. She has been open about struggling to fit in, particularly as a mixed-race person. 

While Meghan and her husband Prince Harry’s Montecito mansion is a far cry from the Duchess’ former family homes, their children are growing up just a short distance away from the California native’s stomping ground. 

It was there that Meghan’s Hollywood career began, with her first pursuing roles in television and film as a teenager. Later on, as an aspiring actress, the Duchess worked on Deal or No Deal as a way to make ends meet.

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She emphasised that she was “grateful” for the job but admitted to feeling valued for the wrong reasons. Recounting her time as a ‘briefcase girl’, she said: “Before the tapings of the show, all the girls, we would line up and there were different stations for having your lashes, put on, or your extensions, put in, or the padding in your bra.

“We were even given spray-tan vouchers each week because there was a very cookie-cutter idea of precisely what we should look like. It was solely about beauty and not necessarily about brains.

“And when I look back at that time I will never never forget this one detail because moments before we’d get on stage, there was a woman who ran the show and she would be there backstage and I can still hear her.”

She explained the unnamed woman couldn’t pronounce her last name and would repeatedly shout: “Mar-kell suck it in! Mar-kell suck it in!”

She continued: “I ended up quitting the show. Like I said, I was thankful for the job but not for how it made me feel, which was not smart.

“And by the way, I was surrounded by smart women on that stage with me, but that wasn’t the focus of why we were there and I would end up leaving with this pit in my stomach, knowing that I was so much more than what was being objectified on the stage.

“I didn’t like feeling forced to be all looks and little substance — and that’s how it felt for me at the time being reduced to this specific archetype.”

Meghan continued to secure small roles before landing her ‘big break’ in hit legal drama Suits in 2011. She played Rachel Zane for seven seasons until deciding to step down in 2017 to marry Harry and become a full-time working royal. 

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