Grateful, but distressing. Meghan Markle recalled her time on Deal or No Deal on the new episode of her podcast Archetypes. The Duchess of Sussex introduced her episode on “Bimbos” with Paris Hilton about what it was like to be a briefcase girl on the hit game show and how she felt reduced when she was on the show.
Meghan remembered the time that she was on the show when she was trying to pursue acting while still in college. “I was still really grateful as an auditioning actress to have a job that could pay my bills. I had income, I was part of the union, I had health insurance, it was great. And yet… I also studied International Relations in college. And there were times when I was on set at Deal or No Deal and thinking back to my time working as an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Argentina, in Buenos Aires… and being in the motorcade with the Secretary of Treasury at the time and being valued specifically for my brain. Here I was being valued for something quite the opposite.” She continued about how the girls were treated behind the scenes on the game show, “l, all the girls, we would line up and there were different stations for having your lashes put on or 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.”
One particular moment stuck with Meghan to this day. She said, “And when I look back at that time, I will never forget this one detail – because moments before we’d get on stage with our briefcase, there was a woman who ran the show and she would be there backstage – and I can still hear her – she couldn’t properly pronounce my last name at the time and I knew who she was talking to because she’d go, ‘Mark-el, suck it in. Mark-el, suck it in!’” She ended up quitting the show, but “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.”
Her introduction transitioned into the discussion of the word “bimbo.” According to The New Yorker writer Clare Malone, it means “a word that is used to cut down a beautiful woman to kind of say, well, she’s beautiful, but maybe she’s slutty or maybe she’s silly or stupid.” Meghan brought along Paris Hilton to the show to discuss the archetype of a “bimbo” and how her life was caricatured as being a “dumb blonde” while being in The Simple Life and the constant media portrayal when she was growing up. “It was definitely like a huge part of my brand and everything that I was doing, but deep down I always knew there was so much more to me. And now, people are finally seeing that and seeing that other side and all of my advocacy work and I don’t love being underestimated. And what I always like to say is that I’m not a dumb blonde, I’m just very good at pretending to be one.” She continued, “I almost got stuck and lost in the character, and at some point, it’s like lines got blurred and I forgot who I was. And it makes me sad because I used to be such a free spirit, not so closed off, and I think with so many things that happened to me during the years I just closed off in a way in my mind and I wish it didn’t happen. Going through trauma affects you.”
Meghan also reflected on how she doesn’t want to her daughter Lilibet to fall under the archetype of “bimbo.” “I don’t see that as an aspirational thing for a woman. I want our daughters to aspire to be slightly higher. I want my Lili to want to be educated and want to be smart and to pride herself on those things.”
For more about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s time in the British royal family, read Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand’s New York Times bestseller, Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family. The book tells all on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s relationship, from how they met to their wedding to the birth of their son, Archie. Finding Freedom also dives into the “true story” of why Harry and Meghan left the royals at the end of 2019 and moved to the United States amid their secret drama with their family. Consisting of interviews and accounts with Harry and Meghan’s closest confidants, Finding Freedom is a must-read for any royal follower.
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