Last week, Meghan Markle, the actress who plays Rachel on “Suits,” got engaged to Prince Harry. While this may be trivial knowledge to some, to me it is quite groundbreaking.
It looks like the world is really moving forward in terms of representation of all kinds of people. Growing up, I remember asking why there weren’t any princesses who looked like me. As a person of color, I found myself struggling to relate to people in the media. Now that Markle is entering the royal family, I think it’s safe to say that we are living in changing times — times where young people of color can grow up with quite incredible people to look up to.
Markle is not the first “common person” to join the royal family, nor is she the first actress — however, she is the first biracial divorcée. In the past, the Queen has been quite traditional in her values of the people to enter the family; however, it is clear to see that those old methods are definitely transitioning into something that can be incredibly powerful for the generations to come.
Last year, Vanity Fair wrote an article detailing who Markle is — her interests, her passions and what she likes to do outside of being an actress. Early on in Markle’s life, she wrote a letter to Hillary Clinton (who was the first lady at the time), talking about how a soap commercial had been derogatory toward women — and because of the letter, the company ended up changing the ad. Flash-forward to 2015, Markle gave a speech at the United Nations on International Women’s Day talking about women’s rights and gender equality. Meghan is also a global ambassador for an organization called World Vision Canada, and has even gone to Rwanda for its Clear Water Campaign.
Her influence in these areas has made me gain more respect for her as a person. Not only is she an actress and a philanthropist, but she also was the creator and editor-in-chief of The Tig, an online fashion, beauty, health, lifestyle and food journal. While she may have to give up her job as an actress to tend to the work of being in the royal family, it’s important to note that she is incredibly dedicated to social issues, too — and these are issues she will most likely continue working on after the wedding.
It’s so important to me that Meghan is entering the family because it also allows me to believe there is hope for the future. When President Barack Obama was in office, he reminded people of color that we can get far in life if we work hard enough. While Markle wasn’t elected to marry Prince Harry (or to enter the royal family), she still has worked her butt off throughout her entire career to create an incredible life for herself.
Knowing what I know now about Meghan Markle, I’m excited to work hard toward my dreams and to be able to influence and empower people with my voice. As a creator who is also passionate about women’s rights and the experiences of people of color, I feel like what I produce has a great deal to do with my personal experiences, and it’s important for me to show that in everything I do. I am very excited that more people of color will be able to make a difference in the world, just as I hope I will be able to someday.