Meghan Markle described herself as being scared when Elle UK asked her to write an essay about being a mixed race actress in Hollywood. She says that while she’s written briefly about the topic on her own website, TheTig.com, she decided to be brave and share a larger picture of her experience.
Markle writes about growing up in a suburb of Los Angeles as the daughter of a white father and black mother. Her neighbors often assumed her mother was her nanny, she writes.
She describes the hardships confusion she faced growing up without a label and how it led to her choosing a career in a label-driven industry.
“Being ‘ethnically ambiguous,’ as I was pegged in the industry, meant I could audition for virtually any role,” Markle writes. “Sadly, it didn’t matter. I wasn’t black enough for the black roles and I wasn’t white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn’t book a job.”
Markle goes on to describe Suits as the “Goldilocks” of her acting career. She says the show’s producers weren’t looking for an actor of any specific race to play Rachel, Markle says. They were just looking for Rachel. She says she couldn’t be prouder that the show opted for a biracial Rachel.
Unfortunately, that decision also attracted more than a few trolls. When a black man was cast to play Rachel’s father in season two, one person tweeted, “Ew, she’s black? I used to think she was hot.” That tweet, she says, was reported.
Markle says she has now embraced the grey area surrounding her self-identification. “When asked to choose my ethnicity in a questionnaire… 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.'”