Meghan Markle's Best Career Moves (And Her Most Embarrassing)

Meghan Markle has had the sort of career that can only be described as a fairytale. Having built a successful body of working in the acting world, Markle shocked everyone when she gave up her career to marry Prince Harry on May 19, 2018. After tying the knot with the prince, she became known as the Duchess of Sussex, and threw herself into supporting a number of charities and organizations in her role as a member of the royal family.

However, Meghan and Harry's life's changed immeasurably when they announced their decision to step down as senior members of the royal family in January 2020. Subsequent moves to Canada, and then California, made it clear that the Sussexes were ready to start a new life away from the rigors of royal life in the United Kingdom. Meghan and Harry have since welcomed their second child, daughter Lilibet Diana, who they are raising alongside their son Archie in the United States. 

But before she became a literal duchess, Meghan's life was very different, and her career featured many peaks and troughs. Here, we take a look at all of Meghan Markle's best career moves, as well as some of the more embarrassing job roles she's taken on over the years.

Protesting a sexist commercial

When she was just 11-years-old, Meghan Markle took a stand against sexism. In her 2015 speech at UN Women, Meghan opened up about the important moment when her class watched a number of commercials in a social studies class, and the tagline "Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans" provoked a sexist reaction from her classmates. "Two boys from my class said, 'Yeah, that's where women belong, in the kitchen,'" she told the crowd at UN Women. "I remember feeling shocked and angry and also just feeling so hurt. It just wasn't right and something needed to be done." 

When she got home, a young Meghan expressed her disappointment about the advert, and her dad told her that she should write letters. As well as writing to Procter & Gamble, Meghan also wrote letters to several successful women, including then-First Lady Hillary Clinton. It wasn't long before people started taking notice of Meghan's opinions, and as she told the audience at UN Women, the company subsequently changed the tagline of their advert to "People all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans" in response to her campaign. In 1993, Meghan was featured on a "Nick News" segment on Nickelodeon after calling out Procter & Gamble, proving that her advocacy started getting her noticed at a very early age, and has continued ever since.

Setting up a calligraphy business

Before she scored her breakout role as Rachel Zane on "Suits" in 2011, Meghan Markle had a number of jobs to pay the bills, and that included starting a successful calligraphy business. While it may seem a little unexpected that the future Duchess of Sussex is a trained calligrapher, it turns out that the skill actually helped her support herself when she was an up-and-coming actor. "I didn't wait tables," she told Esquire. "I did calligraphy for the invitations for, like, Robin Thicke and Paula Patton's wedding." Rather than taking on a part-time job to pay the bills while she auditioned for roles, Markle leaned into her talent for decorative handwriting, and it apparently paid off.

Revealing that she also worked for fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana during her calligraphy days, Markle told Esquire, "Oh, it's super-lucrative. Because there are so few people doing it." Being trained in the rare art gave Markle a great way to earn money while she waited for her big break, plus it's also an example of Markle's entrepreneurial spirit, and her passion for creativity. "I'm glad that in the land of no one seeming to appreciate a handwritten note anymore that I can try to keep that alive," the duchess told Esquire of her former calligraphy business. While she's since moved on to bigger and better things, Markle's penchant for business in her early days as an actor shows just how much ambition she has always had.

Founding her blog The Tig

In 2014, Meghan Markle created her blog The Tig, an outlet for her creative aspirations outside of acting. The website allowed Markle to explore her passions for food and travel, providing an alternative lifestyle destination on the internet for her fans. However, in April 2017, Markle announced that she was shuttering the site. In an emotional farewell note posted on The Tig, Markle wrote, "What began as a passion project (my little engine that could) evolved into an amazing community of inspiration, support, fun and frivolity. You've made my days brighter and filled this experience with so much joy. Keep finding those Tig moments of discovery, keep laughing and taking risks." 

Rumors spread that the decision to close down the blog was the result of Markle's new relationship with Prince Harry, but this was never confirmed. Prince Harry and Markle announced their engagement in November 2017, and it wasn't long before the couple officially tied the knot. As a result, it seems likely that Markle's decision to stop producing The Tig may have had something to do with joining the royal family. Despite shutting down the site, Markle's blog was an important landmark in her career that proved she was passionate about more than just acting, and that she wanted to connect with a wider audience. In March 2023, the New York Post reported that the duchess may be planning to reboot The Tig since leaving the royal family.

Becoming a global ambassador for World Vision

Refusing to be pigeonholed, Meghan Markle proved that she was more than just an actor when she became a global ambassador for the charity World Vision. As noted by the charity's website, Markle started working with the organization in 2016 when she visited a school in Rwanda, helping to provide the community with clean water. During the trip, Markle also worked hard to empower young women, who face multiple barriers when it comes to attending school, such as period poverty. 

In an article for Time, Markle wrote, "From sub-Saharan Africa to India, Iran, and several other countries, the stigma surrounding menstruation and lack of access to proper sanitation directly inhibit young women from pursuing an education." Discussing her work as an ambassador, Markle elaborated on the important changes that were needed in order to crush the gender divide in education around the world. "When we empower girls hungry for education, we cultivate women who are emboldened to effect change within their communities and globally," she wrote for Time.

In 2017, Markle embarked upon another trip with World Vision, this time visiting India. Once again, the future Duchess of Sussex focused on promoting education for women and girls, and giving them access to the tools needed in order to go to school. As noted by World Vision, Markle's work as an ambassador showed her strong belief in promoting gender equality globally, and all of this occurred before she married Prince Harry.

Playing Rachel on Suits

In 2011, Meghan Markle finally got her big break as an actor when she scored the role of Rachel Zane in "Suits." In the legal drama, Markle portrayed a paralegal who trained to become an attorney, while juggling a tumultuous personal life. In an interview with Esquire, Markle opened up about the success of "Suits," which ran for nine seasons, with the duchess bowing out in Season 7. "I feel so fortunate, because as an actor you spend so much time just trying to get a job," she told the publication. It's undeniable that Markle's role on "Suits" brought her to an international audience, and also gave her a platform.

During a 2017 interview with Glamour, Markle discussed the incredible experience of landing a role on the show, saying, "I've done so many pilots that have never saw the light of day and we didn't know what 'Suits' was going to become at the time. So it's been such a good transition!" The duchess would depart from the popular show ahead of her real-life wedding to Prince Harry. However, any fans hoping that Markle might make a return to acting now that she's stepped down as a senior royal are likely to be disappointed. In a Variety cover story, Markle was asked if she had any plans to work as an actor again. "No. I'm done," she said. "I guess never say never, but my intention is to absolutely not."

Marrying Prince Harry

On May 19, 2018, Meghan Markle married Prince Harry at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. The bride wore a dress designed by British designer Clare Waight Keller, and the wedding was attended by a slew of celebrities such as George and Amal Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Idris Elba, David and Victoria Beckham, and Serena Williams. The Associated Press reported that, via Nielsen, approximately 29 million people across America tuned in for the royal wedding, proving that the regal affair held international significance.

Markle's journey to becoming a member of the British royal family was pretty unexpected, especially as she was a successful actor in her own right when she started dating Prince Harry. Comparisons have been drawn between Markle and Grace Kelly, another actor who became a member of royalty when she married Monaco's Prince Rainier on April 19, 1956. While their journeys to royalty might seem akin to a fairytale, it's undeniable that becoming a member of the royal family changed Markle's life entirely, for better and for worse. Ultimately, Markle and Prince Harry stepped down as senior royals after facing difficulties within the family and with the press. Since then, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex seem to have regained control over their lives in a big way. But without a doubt, marrying Prince Harry was a huge milestone in Markle's career, and completely altered her future, making it a positive move.

Signing huge Netflix and Spotify deals

After stepping down as senior members of the British royal family, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry had a lot more freedom. Most importantly, they were able to create their own business opportunities, such as signing huge deals with global companies like Netflix and Spotify.

In September 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex entered into a multi-year deal with Netflix to produce original content for the streaming service. In a statement released to The New York Times, the couple explained, "Our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope. As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us." According to Forbes, Netflix paid the Sussexes $100 million to work with them over a five-year period, proving that Meghan and Harry had major earning potential after leaving their senior positions as royals.

In December 2020, Meghan and Harry made yet another mega-deal, this time with Spotify. Vanity Fair reported that the music and podcast streaming platform reportedly paid the couple $25 million to create original content for the service. As part of their Spotify deal, Markle released "Archetypes," a podcast aimed at breaking down the labels and stereotypes that hold women back in their lives and careers. Clearly, leaving the royal family was extremely profitable for the Sussexes, and their deals with Netflix and Spotify gave them an unprecedented platform to release new content.

Launching Archewell with her husband

One of the biggest career moves made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after leaving the royal family involved the launch of their non-profit organization Archewell. In October 2020, the couple released a statement to People, revealing their intentions for the foundation. "Archewell is a name that combines an ancient word for strength and action, and another that evokes the deep resources we each must draw upon," they explained.

According to the official website, The Archewell Foundation aims to instigate social change, by working in the community and attempting to make the internet a safer place to be. Archewell is also an overarching name for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's other endeavors, including their production companies, Archewell Productions and Archewell Audio, which produce content for Netflix and Spotify. By creating their own foundation away from the royal family, Meghan and Harry revealed their aims for the future, and highlighted the causes they would be supporting moving forward. In March 2023, it was revealed that Archwell had received $13 million in donations from two generous benefactors, proving that many people have faith in Markle's ideas.

Releasing a best-selling children's book

In June 2021, Meghan Markle added "published author" to her resume when she released children's picture book "The Bench." The book tells the story of the special bond between a father and son, and became an instant bestseller upon its release. Celebrating the fact that "The Bench" had hit number one on The New York Times Bestseller List, Markle wrote on the Archewell website, "While this poem began as a love letter to my husband and son, I'm encouraged to see that its universal themes of love, representation and inclusivity are resonating with communities everywhere. In many ways, pursuing a more compassionate and equitable world begins with these core values."

Markle started writing the poem that would eventually become "The Bench" in June 2019, just one month after she'd given birth to her first child, Archie. Over time, the poem turned into a picture book, which was illustrated by the artist Christian Robinson. Hitting the top of The New York Times Bestseller List is a huge accomplishment for any author, and it's clear that Markle's own book came from an extremely personal place, making its success even more special.

​​Signing with Hollywood agent WME

In April 2023, it was announced that Meghan Markle had made a humongous career move by signing with the WME agency, who would be representing her in all of her endeavors. Markle's relationship with WME would focus on her burgeoning film and television production needs, which see the duchess leaving acting behind to develop her own projects. It was also revealed that the agency would be responsible for managing any brand partnerships the duchess decided to take on, as well as generally building the future of her business outside of the royal family. Despite ditching her acting career, Markle has proven that she anticipates working in the film and television industry for years to come.

In her Variety cover story, Markle seemingly precursored her WME signing by saying, "I didn't think I'd ever be in the entertainment industry again. But the entire culture has changed; streamers have changed things. The ability to create zeitgeist moments like we had in the '90s." With a fresh outlook, and a new agent on her side, Markle seems ready to take Hollywood by storm once again, this time on her own terms.

Her infamous Deal or No Deal gig

Between 2006 and 2007, Meghan Markle worked as a Suitcase Model on "Deal or No Deal," making it one of her earliest onscreen roles. However, in hindsight, Markle doesn't consider the gig to be a particularly good career move, and she's even criticized the job at length. During an October 2022 episode of her podcast "Archetypes," Markle revealed, "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." She continued, "I didn't like feeling 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." Clearly, the duchess didn't enjoy her time on the show.

During an interview with Esquire in February 2018, Markle also touched upon her time on the game show, saying, "Definitely working on 'Deal or No Deal' was a learning experience, and it helped me to understand what I would rather be doing." Since then, Markle has completely overhauled her career, and her work always has a lot more agency than she ever did as a Suitcase Model. As a result, Markle's "Deal or No Deal" stint is categorized as an embarrassing career move, especially as the duchess felt so objective and under-appreciated in the role.

Dressing as a sexy maid on CSI: NY

While Meghan Markle's disdain for her role as a Suitcase Model on "Deal or No Deal" is clear, the duchess took on a number of small TV roles that she's probably not that proud of now. Case in point: Markle's role as Veronica Perez on a 2006 episode of "CSI: NY," which required her to dress up in a sexy maid costume. During the episode, Markle's character cleans the apartments of rich clients while wearing only her underwear, and inadvertently becomes the suspect in a murder investigation. While appearing on "CSI: NY" is likely a boon for any working actor, having to wear lingerie to do so probably brings the acclaim down a notch.

In 2008, Markle appeared on two episodes of the "90210" reboot, but unfortunately her role wasn't exactly glamorous there either. In fact, in her very first scene on the show's pilot, Markle is seen performing oral sex on a main character in a car. While there's no shame in taking on an acting job to pay the bills, Markle has found her past under more scrutiny than most as a member of the royal family. As a result, she probably doesn't reflect on either of these roles very fondly.

Working at Humphrey Yogart

Most of us had part-time jobs when we were teenagers, many of which required us to clean dishes and take dripping trash bags out to the dumpster. She may be a duchess now, but Meghan Markle also had to work an unglamorous job in the food industry when she was growing up, at a frozen yogurt store called Humphrey Yogart. During an interview with the Sunday Mirror, Markle's former boss revealed, "Meghan was still at school — maybe a little older than 13 as the rules are strict in California." The manager continued, "She earned minimum wage and was very popular with customers. She had to prove she had an outgoing personality and would work well with staff."

Obviously, working at a frozen yogurt store as a teenager isn't necessarily embarrassing, but it's hard to imagine a future duchess working behind the counter at any fast food outlet. In many ways, Markle's job at Humphrey Yogart makes her even more relatable, but it's not particularly in line with her future life as a member of the royal family.

Failing to book Watch What Happens Live

In November 2022, Meghan Markle invited Bravo icon Andy Cohen to appear on an episode of her podcast "Archetypes," and the duchess made a huge revelation. "I was so eager to be on ['Watch What Happens Live!'] because I was such a 'Housewives' fan at the time and I just couldn't get booked," Markle told Cohen. According to the former actor, she was desperate to appear on "Watch What Happens Live!" sometime between 2012 and 2014 when "Suits" was on the air. For his part, Cohen seems horrified to have turned down the future duchess, revealing on Markle's podcast, "It is now the biggest blunder in the 13 years of the show." Markle also revealed that she no longer watches the "Real Housewives" franchise, but not because of any animosity. 

Cohen is clearly still not over rejecting the Duchess of Sussex when she was on "Suits," telling Page Six in May 2023 that he had made a "huge mistake" not booking Markle. As for why he turned her down, it seems to come down to his opinion of "Suits," which he described to Page Six as "Some simulation of a TV show to me, like it was shot on tape and broadcast in a vacuum." Now that she's a literal member of the royal family, Markle is probably over her "Watch What Happens Live!" rejection, but it's still a little embarrassing to think she was turned down by the Bravo star.