Originally published in Gritty Pretty Magazine’s spring 2015 issue.
When Meghan Markle dropped Gritty Pretty an email in 2015 admitting she’s a fan, it wasn’t an email to be ignored. Instead, our editor Eleanor Pendleton flew to New York City and caught up with the Duchess-to-be to discuss all things style, digital and politics. This shoot, captured a couple of months later in Brooklyn, was the result…
Introducing an overachiever. Actually, odds are you’ve already met actor Meghan Markle, all razor cheekbones, laser wit and Burberry separates as hotshot Rachel Zane in New York City law-firm drama Suits. It’s everyone’s current TV obsession. Right now, we are Skyping Meghan at her home in Toronto, the city where the show is taped, and it’s a tick past her 1pm. Technically, she’s on a brief hiatus before wrapping filming for series five (be cool. No spoiler alerts.), but she only got in late last night from New York, this morning she’s already burned through a full schedule, and 20 minutes from now a photo crew is going to show up for another magazine shoot. Even the girl’s downtime is level-up.
The second she answers our call, it’s obvious the fast, sexy-smart talk we hear from Rachel on Suits isn’t all scripting. Meghan thinks rapid-fire. Fashion, Hilary Clinton’s campaign, feminism, the fact (indisputable) that Jo Malone’s Bluebell is one of the best fragrances you could possibly layer with another perfume in summer…all splice in and out of her conversation easily. We can tell Meghan’s not just trying to dazzle us into liking her. So we love her.
Truth be told, we’ve already been stalking Meghan on TheTIG.com, the addictive lifestyle, beauty, travel, foodie site Meghan founded [she has ceased editing dating Prince Harry]. “People had been asking me for food, restaurant or travel recommendations for so long – even before I joined Instagram and Twitter (Markle has since shutdown her social media accounts) – so I got the idea for a hub that would produce content on all things that I love, that fascinate me,” she tells. We know; celeb sites are a crowded space but you won’t get macrobiotic missives on consciously uncoupling with entire food groups, diet dictation or streams of pout-face selfies on The TIG. Prior to closing the site, Meghan authored all of her own articles.
“I love talking to chefs, whether they are Michelin-starred or under the radar, about how to compose a beautiful plate. Then another day you’ll read about Heidi Klum, the next you’ll read an interview that I did with Serena Williams, the next maybe you’ll read about someone like Fatima Bhutto, who you’ve never heard of but perhaps you should know about,” Meghan says of her wide-open edit. Meghan’s heard “criticism” that girls who tuned into The TIG for the food porn and skincare advice won’t know who some writers or political female influencers that Meghan interviews are. But she hates the assumption that they don’t care.
“This is so much at the core of what I am really opinionated about. As women, we are so multi-faceted. We can be inspired by it all. I wrote an article for the Irish Independent [newspaper] last year and one of the [points was] that you can wear lipstick and be the president! I feel very confident that you can be a feminist and still be feminine, you can be a sexual creature and a mum and run a company,” she says. “I think it’s a sad misconception that the second you have more intellectual prowess or become a CEO that suddenly those other facets [like beauty, fashion] of being a woman go out of the window. You truly can find a way to have it all – and all of those elements make us interesting and dynamic.”
Another article on gender politics that Meghan wrote on The TIG got so much traction that the United Nations picked up the phone – she is now a UN Women Advocate for Political Participation and Leadership – something she spoke at lengths to Gritty Pretty’s editor Eleanor Pendleton about. “On one trip, I went to Rwanda to a refugee camp, meeting women in grassroots leadership there and then I went to parliament to see women there…
“I feel really inspired and excited by [women in high-level politics]. When women say we want women leaders, the push-back is often that people say, ‘Oh, so you want any woman…'” she says. “But of course we want a qualified, capable, amazing woman. There are so many of them – Michelle Bachelet in Chile, Angela Merkel in Germany, Mary McAlesse from Ireland… Forthe US to follow suit [with Clinton], I would feel very proud of my country.”
Not surprisingly, Meghan studied politics at university and interned at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires. “I was so comfortable in that world,” she says. But there have always been other passions bubbling inside these bones, too. Meghan’s mum was a travel agent and the two racked up miles together early on. “I’ve got the bug – I want to see the roads less travelled. I’m going to Iceland and India later this year. Australia’s really high on my list.” Dad was a showbizzy type and mini-Meghan grew up behind the set of Married with Children. “I was there every day after school for 10 years,” says the L.A. native. “I’d be there in my little Catholic school girl uniform and you know the content of that show – someone like Traci Lords [the former porn actress] would be on in her little uniform too and I’d be like ‘Oh, she’s a school girl too!’ and Dad would say, ‘That’s not the same Meg – why don’t you go help out in craft services…'”
So instead of stage-craft, Meghan got into the crowd-pleasing art of cooking. “I’d help make snacks to take to the producers or [to the set] and I think that’s how I learned to present food and how much joy you can bring people with food. My love of entertaining really started there.”
Meghan’s epicurean obsessions are so unavoidable IRL that they’ve been written into Rachel’s character on Suits. “I still love taking things into the set – but I think my baking is less consistent than it was in season one,” she laughs. “We’re all really good friends and we do pot-lucks at each others’ houses and we celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving together. I love being the point person on that. Last year, I smoked a turkey and I can’t tell you how proud I was of this epic bird. When Rick [Hoffman], who plays Lewis on the show, started carving it wrong, I was like, ‘Get your hands off my bird!'”
It’s so good to talk to a sexy famous person about food without having to talk kale and anti-sugar, we observe out loud. “I’m into eating steak, then another day I’ll go on a gorgeous health retreat or find the best vegan restaurant, then I’ll have a beautiful glass of wine,” she says. “It can all co-exist. My philosophy on The TIG is that you don’t always have to colour within the lines. I just want to enjoy every facet [of lifestyle], not be so stringent,” she shrugs.
“For me, it’s all in the balance. I’ve just turned 34, so it’s just that I can’t eat like I do and not work out. I’ll do a workout class with friends but it’s not the be all and end all.”
We guess easy going, chill balance comes kind a natural when your mum’s a yoga teacher and you’ve been bending and stretching since you were seven years old. “I still know when I need to go to my mat – it’s not always about my body, it’s for my mind,” Meghan says. “But it’s so funny – that’s when I think I get great results for my body, when I’m not focusing solely on my body.”
Her flow? “I love hot yoga. I do a practice that is a sequence of moves, but every week I’ll also pepper in two vinyasa classes. I’m working on my inversions right now.”
We love a girl who’s not afraid of hot, raw sweat. “I think that people look their prettiest when they have the yoga glow and no makeup on,” she raves. “Oh my gosh, it’s my favourite when all you see is my freckles and my skin and the happiness that I have after my practice.”
Originally published in Gritty Pretty Magazine’s spring 2015 issue.
Words: Tracey Withers
Photography: Christian Blanchard
Styling: Sadaf Razi
Hair & Makeup: Lydia Sellers