Meghan Markle is opening up about her life and career as a biracial actress.
“When I was asked by ELLE to share my story, I’ll be honest, I was scared,” she writes. “[While] I have dipped my toes into this on thetig.com, sharing small vignettes of my experiences as a biracial woman, today I am choosing to be braver, to go a bit deeper, and to share a much larger picture of that with you.”
Markle detailed a few seminal moments that shaped her as the daughter of a white father and African-American mother growing up in suburban Los Angeles. She recalls a seventh-grade class asked for a census, and she had to decide between two boxes that both applied to her.
“My teacher told me to check the box for Caucasian. ‘Because that’s how you look, Meghan,’ she said,” Markle writes. “I put down my pen. Not as an act of defiance, but rather a symptom of my confusion. I couldn’t bring myself to do that, to picture the pit-in-her-belly sadness my mother would feel if she were to find out. So, I didn’t tick a box. I left my identity blank — a question mark, an absolute incomplete — much like how I felt.”
Early in her career, Markle remembers not fitting into narrow casting calls. She treasured finding Suits and being cast as Rachel Zane, a powerful lead in the USA legal drama. “The show’s producers weren’t looking for someone mixed, nor someone white or black for that matter,” Markle writes. “They were simply looking for Rachel. In making a choice like that, the Suits producers helped shift the way pop culture defines beauty.”
Markle’s profile has risen in recent months when rumors sprouted that she was dating Prince Harry. The English royal released a public statement last month to speak out against the personal, racist attacks Markle received. In her essay, Markle notes a similar reaction to when The Wire vet Wendell Pierce was cast as Rachel’s father in Suits.
The adversity Markle faced only made her more self-assured in her identity: “While my mixed heritage may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the fence, I have come to embrace that. To say who I am, to share where I’m from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman.”
She continues: “That when asked to choose my ethnicity in a questionnaire as in my seventh-grade class, or these days to check ‘Other’, I simply say: ‘Sorry, world, this is not Lost and I am not one of The Others. I am enough exactly as I am.’”
Read Markle’s full essay here.
SOURCE: EW – Will Robinson