Wednesday, 19 October 2022

Meghan Covers Variety: "We Feel Excited About All the Things We've Been Building Toward"

My word, we have a plethora of news to share with you today!

Following Her late Majesty's passing, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex halted what had been due to be an incredibly busy September. Some events had to be cancelled, others postponed. One on this list was attendance at Variety's Power of Women event where Meghan was due to join leading figures including Hilary Clinton. A cover was also temporarily shelved. Today the cover and photoshoot were shared. Meghan sat down with Variety again after the Queen's funeral to offer an insight into the couple's lives as they reflect and move forward. The full Variety piece by Matt Donnelly can be read here.

I won't lie, I clicked the link to the interview with a healthy degree of trepidation. I was disappointed by the Cut interview and the manner in which it was presented and edited. To say there was a clear undertone of mocking wouldn't be a reach in my estimation. Last December, The New Yorker ran a feature on Succession actor Jeremy Strong, and it was a visceral takedown. An immensely damaging piece which drew on the actor's idiosyncrasies and vulnerabilities to paint him as a caricature of himself. It chose one window of his personality, with little use or interest for the remainder of Strong. His co-stars and friends were indignant. They believed it in no way matched the man they knew and worked with. I think of Meghan speaking in this week's episode of Archetypes after a conversation with Paris Hilton. She's not looking for a "gotcha moment", she's looking for a "I got you moment". The mistake made was thinking that's an aspiration shared, where in an article like Meghan's profile in the Cut, the intent felt very much like the former.

Matt asked Meghan about the Cut: "I’ve had some time to reflect on it. Part of me is just really trusting, really open — that’s how I move in the world. I have to remember that I don’t ever want to become so jaded that that piece of me goes away. So, despite any of those things? Onward. I can survive." I would say she approached this interview without leaving anything open to interpretation. It's candid, it's open and it's very much in her own words. She spoke to Matt again, after the initial interview was postponed. Rather than leaving thoughts open to interpretation it's on the record.

The first interview took place over the summer at the "low-key old luxury resort" San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito. A glamorous photoshoot on the property by Ramona Rosales yielded a selection of fantastic photos of Meghan.

In the piece, Matt Donnelly offered behind-the-scenes insights:

'At the shoot, she couldn’t have been more at ease as she shook the hand of every crew member, stylist and photographer ’s assistant. She shrugged off the pop singers of contemporary radio in favor of her own “1970s road trip playlist.” She addressed questions about the past few years head-on. She burst out laughing at the drop of a hat, almost like a princess in a Hollywood movie. When asked what she wanted most out of life, she said, “Joy. That’s really it. It’s everything that we can work toward for ourselves, our friends, our kids, those around us — that would feel so good. And we do feel joyful.”

Following the official period of mourning, Meghan agrees to sit again for a lengthy discussion about her road to the present. She worries that any comments about the queen or her in-laws will be “a distraction” from continued mourning, but presses on to celebrate the icon. She grows animated talking about the warmth and support she received from the thousands of citizens she interacted with during her time in the U.K., not to mention the two significant content deals she and Prince Harry struck with streaming giants Netflix and Spotify; the two young children — Archie Harrison, 3, and Lilibet Diana, 1 — at the center of the Sussex household; the singular mission behind Archewell; and how tenaciously she has fought to build the life and company of her dreams.'

Seeing the video clips and Meghan speaking in her own words is particularly enjoyable. She relishes motherhood and the opportunity to spend as much time embracing Archie and Lili's childhoods as possible. From T-Rex to StoryBots wraps, a throwback watching Magic School Bus with her son, enjoying Jeopardy and her love of cooking -- including a great Bolognese sauce. On the future of the entertainment industry, Meghan believes "a high tide raises all ships" and believes supports for those on the way up are essential. Also, don't expect to see a horror movie from Archewell productions. Think a Julia Roberts rom-com or When Harry Met Sally :)

On mourning the Queen and her legacy, Meghan said: "There’s been such an outpouring of love and support. I’m really grateful that I was able to be with my husband to support him, especially during that time. What’s so beautiful is to look at the legacy that his grandmother was able to leave on so many fronts. Certainly, in terms of female leadership, she is the most shining example of what that looks like. I feel deep gratitude to have been able to spend time with her and get to know her. It’s been a complicated time, but my husband, ever the optimist, said, 'Now she’s reunited with her husband.' On her own memories, the Duchess said: "I’ve reflected on that first official engagement that I had with her, how special that felt. I feel fortunate. And I continue to be proud to have had a nice warmth with the matriarch of the family. In big moments in life, you get a lot of perspective. It makes you wonder what you want to focus your energy on. Right now, we feel energized and excited about all of the things we’ve been building toward. We’re also focused on our foundation. So much of the work we do includes the philanthropic space."

Embed from Getty Images

Meghan confirmed a much-rumoured Netflix docu-series in the works (rumours abound it may air in December). I thought this quote very telling in discussing the process of entrusting another person with the complexity of their story: "It’s nice to be able to trust someone with our story — a seasoned director whose work I’ve long admired — even if it means it may not be the way we would have told it. But that’s not why we’re telling it. We’re trusting our story to someone else, and that means it will go through their lens. It’s interesting. My husband has never worked in this industry before. For me, having worked on 'Suits,' it’s so amazing to be around so much creative energy and to see how people work together and share their own points of view. That’s been really fun."

On a shift in the entertainment industry: "I left 'Suits' right after the 100th episode, in 2018. 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 — where everyone would tune in at the same time for a show or gather for one moment? — that doesn’t happen anymore. When I was doing 'Suits,' that character, Rachel Zane, was in your living room with you while you were in your pajamas eating Chinese takeout. That’s how connected the experience felt then. But to create a cultural moment or conversation requires something different today. Podcasting has been really interesting in that way. It might be one of the only remaining forums where people are alone to listen. Where else do you have that opportunity?"


Meghan shared her insecurities after getting her big break on Suits: "For me, I had tried for so long to land on a show, filming all these pilots, wondering if they would get picked up. All of Season 1 on 'Suits,' I was convinced I was going to get recast. All the time. It got to a point where the creator was like, 'Why are you so worried about this?'" Meghan revealed she is "done" with acting and has no plans to return.

On an ideal project for Archewell: "So much of how my husband and I see things is through our love story. I think that’s what people around the world connected to, especially with our wedding. People love love. I’m not excluded in that sentiment. And our definition of love is really expansive: Partner love, self-love, the love of community and family. We use that as the baseline of the kind of shows and documentaries we want out there. For my husband, the Invictus Games have been such a huge piece of his life and his work, having been in the army for 10 years and working for the rehabilitation of wounded vets and their families. We talk about emotional injuries that come from those types of experiences. Those are love stories. For scripted, we want to think about how we can evolve from that same space and do something fun! It doesn’t always have to be so serious. Like a good rom-com. Don’t we miss them? I miss them so much. I’ve probably watched 'When Harry Met Sally' a million times. And all the Julia Roberts rom-coms. We need to see those again."

Meghan shared an average workday for her and Harry:

"We share an office. We work from home, as most people started to do during lockdown. It allows us to have significant time with our kids at this really special moment in their lives. We’ll never get this time back. I make breakfast, and we get the kids set for the day. We do a lot of joint calls and Zooms, but also try to divide what we can focus our energies on so we can accomplish even more. My husband is on a 24-hour time zone, where half of your life is waking up as the other half is going to sleep. It’s kind of the reverse of what I went through living in the U.K. He’s very good at responding on text. Me, I try to be as fast as possible on email. I’ve always said, if it takes less than five minutes, do it now."

On the period after the Oprah interview: "Even before the interview, I hadn’t been out because I was so pregnant. The one thing I really remember was Gloria Steinem’s birthday, a few days after it aired. I really wanted to celebrate her at what I thought was just going to be a small and intimate birthday lunch. I envisioned it being us eating sandwiches in this cottage she was staying at. Instead, it was an extravaganza — by the way, as she deserves. But I hadn’t really seen people in a long time, and the interview had come out maybe a week before. Walking into a room alone is never easy for me, and I remember feeling a bit uncomfortable. But before I could let my uncertainty linger, Pamela Adlon came up to me and greeted me with such warmth and kindness. She toured me around the room, and at every turn, more generosity and love was felt. Maybe it’s just a testament to the kind of company Glo keeps, but I also think these women were extraordinary to ensure I felt so welcomed. It’s like they knew exactly what I needed to feel in that moment. It meant, and still means, so very much to me. The power of sisterhood and female support can never be underestimated."

Meghan's take on Archetypes and the safe space it offers was a highlight for me: "I’m talking to some really textured, colorful, layered, dynamic women with strong histories. And that comes with a lot of pieces you can choose to include or not; I choose to include something that I feel is fair to them and also uplifting. And something we can all learn from." In fact, if you haven't heard Meghan's conversation with Paris Hilton, there's a link below.

It was a beautiful shoot and I simply adored the pops of colour styled by Rebecca Grice -- particularly the gorgeous green jewel tones in Galvan's Ushuala dress. The satin halter-neck gown, available at Net-A-Porter "is made from lustrous jade satin that has a soft, fluid handle. Cut on the bias, it skims the figure as it falls dramatically to the floor and has an elegant halter neckline with ties that drape down one side". The London-based label offers timeless elegance in each and every design.

The divine Carolina Herrera Cascading Strapless Midi Dress. The piece is described as: "Inspired by the 'self-assured' Carolina Herrera woman, Wes Gordon lit up his Fall runway with brazen, theatrical drama. Continuing to reinterpret—yet still honor—the house’s iconic codes, he reimagines Mrs. Herrera’s signatures with fresh whimsy and builds on a playful vision of the brand’s intrinsic elegance."

A flowing pink and white Jason Wu design from the designer's Autumn/Winter 2022 Collection.

And this beige jumpsuit is by MaxMara.

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Yesterday, the Duchess spoke at Women@Spotify, the streamer's female-run employee resource group. The Duchess, accompanied by Archewell President Mandana Dayani, donned a t-shirt with Women. Life. Freedom in Farsi. The choice was in recognition of the devastating death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini who was arrested, and subsequently killed in police custody, after being accused of wearing a hijab "improperly". During the event, Manda revealed Meghan "spoke about the revolution being led by women and young girls in Iran, the courage and bravery they show every day, and their leadership and advocacy of basic human rights: women, life, freedom".

Mandana continued: "I am so grateful to work with incredible women like Meghan and my fellow Iranian colleague and friend, Ashley Momtaheni, as we continue to highlight the bravery and courage of the women and young girls on the frontlines of one of the most important feminist movements of our lives. As an Iranian woman who fled her home country in pursuit of these very freedoms, I could not have been more grateful for how she chooses, again and again, to advocate for women around the world. Proud day at Archewell, and especially for me and Ashley Momtaheni. #mahsaamini #womenlifefreedom."

Meghan's t-shirt with Women. Life. Freedom in Farisi is available here on Etsy.

The Duchess paired it with Valentino's tailored straight-leg trousers (with thanks to What Meghan Wore).

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And last but certainly not least, Harry and Meghan have helped build a playground in Uvalde. More from Harper's Bazaar:

'The couple's charitable foundation, Archewell, partnered with the city and nonprofit KABOOM! to build a new community play space in Uvalde, nearly five months after it became the site of the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.

The DeLeon Park playground project intends to bring families together as they come to terms and recover from the tragedy, which took the lives of 21 people. The building of the park, which is located four blocks from Robb Elementary, was driven by the community and the kids, who gave their input on what they'd like to see and play with in their dream playground.

James Holt, the executive director of Archewell, said in a statement, "It has been an honor to support the children and families in Uvalde design and build this amazing space where the community can come together. Our hope is that this special project can help the community heal, and be home to imagination, games and play for many years to come."

Kaboom shared this photo.

As you'll remember, Meghan visited Uvalde in a personal capacity after the tragedy there.

22 comments:

  1. Thank you for this great update on everything Meghan (and Harry) are doing! They are such an impressive couple, focusing on moving forward and not getting stuck in past drama, dispute, anger, etc.

    As Meghan said, "High tides lift all boats." They are really living that out!

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  2. excellent post Charlotte. i agree great interview and she looks gorgeous in every shot. i love that wedding dress shot wow it is ethereal all the photos. nice to see her standing up for the women of iran and it was nice to see her speak on the variety video
    i listened to the podcast and see all the media picked up on is the negative where meghan says she felt like a bimbo on the show deal or no deal. they are saying she bit the hand that fed her and gave her the first start. always typical vultures thanks for all your hard work

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    1. You're so right, Melissa. Meghan never said she was treated badly or expected differently, and she was very grateful to be paid; she just said she did not enjoy what came with being on the show. You can see her body is unnatural in the promo pictures. It's the usual distortion of what she says.

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  3. SO much all at once! The interview with Paris Hilton was so good because I have also prejudged her and her story is an excellent lesson to us all. Those dresses are just so special; I love seeing them. It's terrific to get so much Meghan! I just enjoyed reading it all. Thank you for taking so much time to "vet" the interviews for us.

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    1. Agree with all you've said, Allison (including your addition to the above comment). And as always, thank you Charlotte for being the source that we can trust... plus always adding your own extra touch!

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  4. Oh! What news! It's gratifying to see Meghan flourish, I see her as a magnificent blooming bird, a dove who brings and shares life experiences with us...Thank you Charlotte, I enjoy it.

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    1. Me too. Meghan is a model for young generation.

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  5. I just love how precise her wordings are Such Eloquence in her speech Clearness of each word no mumbling or what did she say ? The exact reply to the Question asked It floats like honey On the tongue. Delicious

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  6. Excellent article - much more informative than the Cut one. Such beautiful pictures! Loved this week's podcast and so excited to see Archewell going strong. -op

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  7. It is so relieving and wonderful to see Meghan being the joyful person she was before her time in the Firm.

    R

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  8. these way better in her the cut i agree great interview and she looks gorgeous in every shot. i love that wedding dress shot wow it ad love those photo shoot

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  9. Love this photoshoot. It honestly breaks my heart to learn she doesn't plan to return to her acting career because I'm an OG fan who followed her and many of her Suits castmates on instagram long before this royal thing disrupted her life. She just always seemed super relatable and like cool and smart and it's been heartbreaking to see what the association with the British royal family has done to her and the narrative around her. When she resigned as a British taxpayer funded royal I hoped she'd just go back to her life as it was only with an extra husband, two kids and a few more eyes focused on her, I had envisioned so many characters she could play now that Hollywood is embracing diversity a little more. I mean I love that she does her philanthropic work and her podcast and all the content she's helping create behind the camera but I think with her training and with her gorgeous face she belongs in front of a camera and she'd find great success if she resumed acting. But hey the thing about being a Meghan Markle fan is knowing and believing that everyone is allowed and entitled to live their own life the way they want to so I wish her much success in all her future and current projects.

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    1. Anon 12:47 You made such an interesting comment! And you're right -- why not? Zara's husband is doing a reality show -- why can't Meghan act again? Maybe she will. :)

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    2. Who says she can’t? And comparing Zara and Mike with the S is not right. They’ve never been working royals, held a title or be funded by taxpayers/family. They’re both accomplished athletes recognized in their fields. So attributing their jobs to being royals is disingenuous.

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    3. Amen 🙏🏼

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    4. Zara and Mike are indeed accomplished athletes, but so are a lot of people. Being royals makes them much more visible.

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    5. Agree Anon 07:04, that comparison is not right. Completely different situations and each should be judged, or rather viewed separately and for their own merits.

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  10. What beautiful styling for this photoshoot! Meghan looks lovely as usual and it's wonderful to see her happy and able to be her true self without second thoughts. Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect with Archetypes but it's become a fast favorite of mine. I love the deep dive into "meaty" topics and her conversational style is great. Also, wonderful to see her supporting an Etsy small business! Thanks for this update Charlotte!

    Dana

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    1. What was the Etsy small business she is supporting?

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  11. Thanks Charlotte for your good and great update .
    Meghan is shining and smart .

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  12. Really enjoy reading your posts, always very informative and interesting. Thank you.

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Welcome to Mad About Meghan! We do so look forward to reading your thoughts. Constructive, fair debate is always encouraged. Hateful, derogatory terms and insults are not welcome here. This space focuses on Harry and Meghan, not any other member of the Royal family. It's not the place to discuss politics either. Thank you for reading, we look forward to your comments :)