Not so fond memories. Meghan Markle opened up about her time on Deal or No Deal, revealing that she often felt like the show reduced her to a “bimbo.”
“Now, my experience on the show – which included holding said briefcase on stage, alongside 25 other women doing the same – was … for me, fascinating,” the Duchess of Sussex, 41, recalled on the Tuesday, October 18, episode of her “Archetypes” podcast. “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.”
Markle explained that before taping the game show, all of the “briefcase girls” would “line up” backstage to get glammed up.
“There were different stations for having your lashes put on or extensions put in, or the padding in your bra,” the Bench author recalled before speaking to guest Paris Hilton, adding that the girls were given “spray tan vouchers” so that they would all fit into the show’s “cookie cutter” ideal of beauty. “When I look back at that time, I’ll never forget this one detail. … There was a woman who ran the show and she’d be there backstage and I can still hear her … she’d go, ‘Markle, suck it in! Markle, suck it in!'”
While she was grateful to have the ability to pay her bills while auditioning for other acting roles, Markle eventually realized that she needed to leave Deal or No Deal because she hated the way it made her feel about herself. “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,” she explained. “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.”
The Archewell cofounder continued: “I didn’t like being 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.”
After her experience on the show, Markle explained that she wants her 16-month-old daughter, Lilibet — who she shares with husband Prince Harry, along with son Archie, 3 — to value more than just her looks when she grows up. “I want our daughter to aspire to be slightly higher,” she explained. “Yeah, I want my Lili to want to be educated and want to be smart and to pride herself on those things.”
Markle worked as a briefcase model on the hit NBC game show from 2006 to 2007, before landing her breakthrough role as Rachel Zane on Suits. In a 2013 interview with Esquire, the California native cited it as one of the many “odd jobs” she worked before being cast in the legal drama.
“I would put that in the category of things I was doing while I was auditioning to try to make ends meet. I went from working in the U.S. Embassy in Argentina to ending up on Deal,” she explained at the time. “It’s run the gamut. Definitely working on Deal or No Deal was a learning experience, and it helped me to understand what I would rather be doing.”
Before tying the knot with the Duke of Sussex in May 2018, Markle announced that she would retire from acting in order to focus on philanthropic work. “I think what’s been so exciting [transitioning] out of my career and into, as you said, the causes I can focus even more energy on, very early out of the gate, [is that you] have a voice that people listen to, a lot of responsibility,” she said in November 2017. “I see it is a new change, a new chapter.”
Markle continued: “I’ve been working on my show [for] seven years, we were so fortunate to have that longevity, and I feel like I checked that box and am very proud of the work I’ve done there.”