Meghan Markle, Wild About Harry! – Vanity Fair

As in the 1957 Marilyn Monroe-Laurence Olivier film, The Prince and the
Showgirl
, a feeding frenzy surrounds royal-and-nonroyal couplings.
Though Markle is extremely pretty and she stars in a TV show, you would
never call her a “showgirl.” She is too serious, too well brought up.
(And outside of Vegas, who’s called a “showgirl” anymore?)
“Grounded” is the word that is often used to describe her.

“I was born and raised in Los Angeles, a California girl who lives by
the ethos that most things can be cured with either yoga, the beach, or
a few avocados,” she once wrote. Until recently, she maintained a popular lifestyle blog called The Tig. She is a self-described foodie, a passion, incidentally, given to her character on Suits. “I mean, this
bread is so good!” she enthuses over the delicious meal she prepared.
“It’s that perfect crunch and then the softness. They call it the
‘crumb,’ all of these little holes—oh!”

Suits, in which Markle plays ambitious paralegal turned lawyer Rachel
Zane, first brought the actress to wide attention. (Before that she’d
appeared briefly in the movies A Lot Like Love and Horrible Bosses and
had minor roles on television in the science-fiction drama Fringe and
the soap opera General Hospital, among others.) I asked the boyishly
attractive, 36-year-old actor Patrick J. Adams, who plays the likable
but fraudulent lawyer Mike Ross, Rachel’s love interest on Suits, to
describe the series and its popularity.

“Getting to 100 episodes is pretty surreal,” Adams says. “I never
thought that a story about six people working in a law firm in New York
City would be something that would capture people’s interest all over
the globe. I was backpacking through New Zealand a couple of years ago
and stopped to help a Swedish guy who had twisted his ankle. He looked
up at me, and his eyes went wide, and all he could talk about was how
badly he wanted Mike and Rachel to figure things out.”

Mike Ross’s relationship with Rachel Zane is one of those long,
simmering teases that take several episodes to come to a boil, but it
was clear from their first meeting that they were meant to be together.
“I think Mike and Rachel are a classic Romeo-and-Juliet story,” Adams
believes. “They come from totally different sides of the tracks. Rachel
has taken the path well traveled, worked hard, and followed the rules of
the game. Mike is a naturally gifted, brilliant guy but has followed
exactly none of the rules.”

When it came to casting Rachel Zane, “we needed somebody in the role
that was absolutely engaging, relatable, young enough, who is beautiful
in a non-traditional way, and who had an authenticity,” says Bonnie
Hammer, chairman of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group.

Aaron Korsh, the show’s creator, recalls that Rachel Zane was
particularly challenging to cast because the role required “toughness
and attitude while still being likable. . . . We all looked at each
other [after Markle’s screen test] like, Wow, this is the one! I
think it’s because Meghan has the ability to be smart and sharp but
without losing her sweetness.”

When she auditioned for the role, Markle showed up in black jeans, a
plum-colored spaghetti-strap top, and heels. It suddenly occurred to her
that for the screen test she needed to look less casual and more like a
lawyer. She dashed into an H&M and bought a little black dress for
$35. Sure enough, she was asked to change into the dress, which she
hadn’t even tried on. Thank God it fit.

“My parents had been so supportive,” she told V.F., “watching me
audition, trying to make ends meet, taking all the odds-and-ends jobs to
pay my bills. I was doing calligraphy, and I was a hostess at a
restaurant—and all those things that actors do. My father knew how
hard it is for an actor to get work, so he above all people was so proud
that I was able to beat the odds.”

One of the strongest bonds Prince Harry and Markle share is their
philanthropy. For Markle, it began at an early age. Her mother, Doria
Ragland, made sure that her little girl knew about the greater world and
its political and economic challenges when she was growing up in Los
Angeles.

Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, was a successful lighting director in
Hollywood; he lit the popular sitcom Married . . . with Children and,
for 35 years, General Hospital. Markle recalled, “Every day after
school for 10 years, I was on the set of Married . . . with Children,
which was a really funny and perverse place for a little girl in a
Catholic-school uniform to grow up.”

Markle says, “What’s so incredible, you know, is that my parents split
up when I was two, [but] I never saw them fight. We would still take
vacations together. My dad would come on Sundays to drop me off, and
we’d watch Jeopardy! eating dinner on TV trays, the three of us. . . .
We were still so close-knit.” When she turned 18, she left for
Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois—becoming the first
person in her family to graduate from college—and double-majored in
theater and international relations. In line with her
international-relations major, Markle worked at the U.S. Embassy in
Argentina her senior year, “so I had been in a completely different
world and then suddenly jumped into this one.”

Markle thinks her social awareness began during the South-Central riots,
in Los Angeles, sparked by the police beating of Rodney King, in 1991,
and the subsequent riots in 1992, when she was 11 years old. “They had
let us go home [from school] during the riots and there was ash
everywhere.” As the ash from street fires sifted down on suburban
lawns, Markle remembers, she said, “Oh, my God, Mommy, it’s snowing!”

“No, Flower, it’s not snow,” Doria answered. “Get in the house.”

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