Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Meghan's "Liberating & Healing" Archetypes Journey, Smart Works x Cuyana Collaboration & Latest News

Hello, dear readers. First of all, my sincere apologies for my absence this month. Technical issues meant I lost several posts and the past fortnight has seen some very necessary site work taking place behind the scenes.

Today was a significant day for Meghan. The release of the final episode of her podcast, Archetypes, saw the Duchess turn the tables to speak to men about their thoughts and perceptions of archetypes and the role men have to play -- a suggestion made to Meghan by Harry. The series has truly been outstanding (Meghan's discussion with Mellody Hobson & Victoria Jackson will not be beaten for me; such inspiring stories of incredible, courageous women). The podcast has been a resounding success and I expect we'll see either another series or a continuation on the conversations through another lens. More than anything, it provided Meghan a safe space to truly be herself and present her thoughts and views without the final presented product skewed or stripped to present her in a manner which benefits a specific narrative rather than a person. Another recent highlight was the voice of Amanda Gorman and the release of this gorgeous photo of the young poet with Meghan and Harry.

Meghan shared her hopes for the final episode:

'Now, if you’ve been listening to the past 11 episodes, you may have noticed that you haven’t heard many men’s voices… In fact, until now, outside a pop-in from my husband in the first episode, this show has featured exclusively women’s voices.

And that’s by design. It was important to us that women have a space to share their authentic and complicated, complex, and dynamic experiences. 

To be heard. And to be understood. But through that process it also occurred to me, and truth be told, at the suggestion of my husband – that if we really want to shift how we think about gender and the limiting labels that

we separate people into, then we have to broaden the conversation… and we have to actively include men in that conversation, and certainly in that effort.

So today, we are doing just that. We’re opening it all up, breaking out of the boxes and the binaries and doing things in a new way… so who’s ready to be open to a little bit of change? Today’s the day.'

Today Meghan talked to Andy Cohen about meeting him many moons ago which led to quite a bit of chatter about Real Housewives and reality television: "Oh man, that is such a trip down memory lane. And, look I didn’t want to embarrass him but I thought it was funny to remember how things were. And to that point -- though I couldn’t, at the time, get on the couch to talk to Andy on his late-night show, I was certainly well-aware of his other big creation… The Real Housewives franchise. Now Andy greenlit the show back around 2005/2006, when he was a programming executive at Bravo. He still serves as Executive Producer on the franchise." Meghan jokes and tells Andy there will be "no reality shows" in her future. (Oh, and don't miss Gloria Steinem's opinion on the "minstrel show" franchise).

Meghan recalled her conversation with Paris Hilton and the instant judgements we can all make on those in the public eye.

'You know, what's so funny is when I had Paris Hilton on, which was eye opening for me, because I didn't really know a lot about her origin story and certainly about her experience before she was on The Simple Life. And when she's talking about that, she said very clearly in casting, and I think this was about the same time. This is when reality was having a huge boom. And she said they were really clear with her that she was being cast as the dumb blonde because - well, as you said earlier - people seem to be drawn to these tropes because it feeds into… well what you just described as human instinct.

This, this craving for whatever reason to want to judge or gossip or pick apart. So I think in some ways, whether you want it to or not, the culture of reality shows was created with these archetypal types that I would imagine even if the people who are cast on the show are real women, wouldn't you say that they start to play into the caricature? They're playing into the type that they’ve been cast to play. Don’t you think so?'

Trevor Noah told Meghan men need to become "more comfortable" with crying. The South African comedian, writer and activist offers fascinating insight on his own experiences and views on the vital role men have to play in truly achieving equality.

More from the Independent:

'During their conversation, the Duchess of Sussex asked Noah how men can change conversations about gender stereotypes for their own gender.

“I think first and foremost, as men, we have to grow comfortable in our vulnerability,” Noah said.

“If we exist in a space where we are perpetually portraying the stoic idea of what a man is, I think it’s limiting… and it means that we then hold only on to aggression and anger and strength and violence and we forget the balance that is needed.”'

I loved hearing Meghan discuss Harry and Archie's relationship: "I wrote a children's book that came out a year ago or a couple years ago, and it's basically about this softer side of masculinity and how I've seen my husband as a dad and the example of that. That that's the person that the young boy can look to and say, 'Oh, this is what it means to be a man. This is the example of that. That's the person that I can go to when I'm crying. That's the person that will sit with me. That's the person that can put the Band-Aid on my knee.'"

Meghan spoke to Judd Apatow about the success of one my favourite comedies, Bridesmaids, citing the "uniquely interesting" characters as a reason it resonated. Judd replied: "You know, I wouldn't know anything if it wasn't for them. I would literally know nothing. And you could see it in the arc of my career. As they arrive, I start understanding things. You realize, oh, I'm beginning to get it more and more. And you have to admit how much you don't get and how much you didn't get as you sit with these people and they're insightful and brilliant and funny and we're all trying to figure out how to tell these stories."

As Meghan signed off, she reflected on a series which gave women like Constance Wu, who were all but canceled, a chance to share their stories. As she told Paris Hilton, she was never looking for a "gotcha moment" -- she wanted to give a "got ya moment".

'Twelve moments of opportunity and conversation and time to really think about the things that we say, the words that we use, and where it all comes from. At times it's been funny, eye opening and sometimes, uncomfortable. And in that, especially in the discomfort, it made me think of the alchemy process, which is this process in which a really dense, hard piece of material or metal can just be churned and churned and put under so much pressure that you can't begin to imagine how it's going to survive, what's going to come out of that. But when it comes out on the other side, it's gold. Actual gold.

Now whether your takeaway from this podcast has been gold or not, I don't know. But what I can speak to is my own experience of this. And I don't know what I'd been expecting, but what's come out of it for me, has been illuminating. And also ironic. Because while this format is only audio and each week I use my voice, you can hear my thoughts without any visual, I feel seen. I had never considered that in using my voice, that I would feel seen. But I do. And so much of the feedback throughout the season from women is that they feel seen as well. As we heard today, that men see our experience differently now, too. They see us. They see us more clearly. The guests I've had join me have been so generous with their time and vulnerable in sharing their stories. And I found that in listening, really listening, I learned so much – about them, of course. But also about myself. Finding common ground and discovering that people that come from different worlds and have different life experiences still share so many of the same feelings. 

I learned how much more similar we are than different. So for example, I'm not Asian, but my goodness, did I connect to what I heard on the Dragon Lady episode. And I don't identify as ever wanting to dumb myself down. But in talking to Paris Hilton about the label Bimbo, I learned that she didn't either. Mariah taught me about her definition of being a diva. We celebrated the choice to be single with Mindy, and we talked about business and the B-word, how our mental health is weaponized against us, the pressures we feel to be a wife and a mom. The loaded misconception that often comes with being a woman of color and the courage that it takes to step out and speak up, even when it puts everything on the line. I learned so much. And I loved it.

We're working on other ways to keep the conversation going but just know that as we close out this season of Archetypes, that I thank you. Thank you for listening and learning with me. This has been liberating and healing and it's been fun. And many moons ago, I heard a quote that I will share with you today, because as we talk about labels and tropes, boxes some may try to squeeze you into, and roles and stereotypes that are attributed to you that don't quite fit the full person that you are…'

Meghan closed with the words of Christianopoulos.

'What didn't you do to bury me. But you forgot, that I was a seed.'

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Today is Giving Tuesday. To mark the day the Duchess has spearheaded a special collaboration between her patronage Smart Works and one of her favourite brands, Cuyana. The brand is donating 500 of their classic totes to the charity which supports women every step of the way as they land their dream job or return to the workforce. Over the last nine years, Smart Works has supported over 25,000 women. 72% of those women have been employed within a month of their first appointment, and 95% have reported feeling more confident after their initial meeting with Smart Works.

Meghan said: "Over the years, I've had the privilege of witnessing the magic of Smart Works -- women's confidence and lives transformed. Smart Works invests in women so they know they can thrive in any workplace, and Cuyana is a company that is by women and for women, so this feels like the perfect fit. Similar to the Smart Set collection we created many years ago for Smart Works, this collaboration will support women in the UK as they mobilize back into the workforce. I am proud to bring these two together to further our shared mission of uplifting and empowering women all around the globe."


Karla Gallardo, Cuyana CEO shared her excitement about the collaboration:

“We're thrilled to partner with Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex and Smart Works, because for over a decade we have designed totes with both beauty and functionality in mind, to ensure that the collection is equipped to carry women throughout all stages of life. Giving back has always been at the core of our business - whether it is supporting communities of women, artisans, or our planet. This Giving Tuesday, we're so grateful to partner with The Duchess of Sussex and Smart Works for helping us advance this mission.”

I think you'll agree the timeless Cuyana totes will make the perfect accessory for the next 500 women who will be supported in achieving their dreams by Smart Works.

************

In case you missed it -- Harry and Meghan's very sweet message for their dear friend Elton John.

Just as I was about to hit publish, a Channel 4 video began circulating on Twitter featuring an interview with the former Head of Counter Terrorism for the Met Police, Neil Basu. It is a rare insight into the reality of the security situation Meghan and Harry dealt with in England. One they've mentioned several times (being accused of lying on each occasion). In fact, the threats are "disgusting" and "very real". More than anything, it's an insight into why Harry is battling so fiercely for the right to pay for police protection when his family are on UK soil.

And on that note, Meghan will celebrate the Power of Women at an event hosted by Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, a special interest fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) tonight. I'm not entirely certain how much coverage we'll see, but if we get images or information I'll be back :)

10 comments:

  1. Going to read thoroughly later, but I'm so happy now! There is no substitute for your blog. Thank you!

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  2. Suzanne in Santa Cruz, CA, USA29 November 2022 at 23:24

    I’m so glad you’re back online! I’ve missed your thoughtful and kind voice on Meghan (and Harry). Thanks for keeping up this blog! I hope the technical gremlins are vanquished for good.

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  3. So much to talk about. :) It was wonderful to see Amanda Gordon. She is SO talented. She spoke at Biden's inauguration and it was the best moment for me. Meghan is wearing the Logan Hollowell, Meghan wore the Baby Queen Water Drop Emerald Necklace with Full Pavé Diamond Halo ("With 14k gold, 0.15 carats of diamonds, and an emerald from Zambia, the sophisticated necklace bears a lot of symbolism").

    I just watched Brides Maids a few weeks ago and it was good! And those totes a wonderful! I hope they give confidence to 500 women.

    I think (hope) we'll see images from tonight's event. Probably Meghan will control what goes out.

    And I'm still in awe of the podcasts. Well done, MM!!

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  4. I saw the Neil Basu interview and it's even worse than I feared. Thank goodness they took themselves out of that situation. Extremely disappointed that The Firm and The Family haven't helped them. Shocking actually.

    Meghan has endured so much yet the quote she left us with shows her character and I love to see it. I like that there's often a take away for all of us from her pieces and that she gives so much that is tangible to others. That, I think, is inherent in her - no HRH needed.

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    1. What we hear about Lady Susan Hussey's behaviour towards a Black British Person makes me think that the BRF and their household generally have not been very supporting against racism. I appreciate Prince William's actual statements and hope for a profound change.

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  5. My impatience to read you again was going to eat me up.
    I am very happy to read you again and again a lot of courage for this magnificent blog.
    As usual, this latest podcast from Meghan is so moving and insightful.

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  6. Glad to see you back posting on this page was wondering what was going on and sorry for your technical issues. thanks for posting that twitter interview validating what we all knew about the racist threats from far right groups on meghan's life. also did you hear their netflix special is coming out dec 8th ? that is what is being reported https://pagesix.com/2022/11/21/prince-harry-meghan-markle-netflix-show-release-date-revealed/
    Also they will be honoured with an award by the robert f kennedy ripple of hope award for their battle against structural racism in the royal family which is being viewed by some as controversial.
    https://www.livemint.com/news/world/prince-harry-meghan-markle-to-get-ripple-of-hope-award-for-taking-heroic-stand-against-royal-family-11669003117635.html

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  7. So many updates! I loved the ending to the podcast and that Harry gave Meghan the idea to include men. They are so supportive of each other’s work and let each other shine. I’m thrilled to hear about Meghan doing more with SmartWorks, I bet they are so happy that she can continue to serve as their patron. I look forward to seeing tonight’s event, hopefully there is some coverage. Thanks for continuing to write about the duchess!

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  8. love all the podcast my personal fave was with Asian discriminations i hope for season 2

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  9. eEveryone should encourage those who love the truth, evrn if it is uncomfortable at times to read this blog --- The truth always set us free

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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 :)