Meghan Markle has always been open about her biracial heritage. The Suits actress, whose mother is black and father is white, previously wrote a letter on how racism has haunted her family and discussed the impact of her ethnicity on everyday interactions. Now, in an interview for Allure‘s diversity and inclusion issue, she’s speaking further about her experiences with discrimination throughout her life, especially in Hollywood.
“For castings, I [have been] labeled ‘ethnically ambiguous.’ Was I Latina? Sephardic? ‘Exotic Caucasian’? Add the freckles to the mix, and it created quite the conundrum,” she says. “To this day, my pet peeve is when my skin tone is changed and my freckles are airbrushed out of a photo shoot.”
But she’s none of those names—just half-black, half-white. She recalls first becoming hyperaware of her race long before she came to Hollywood. Meghan left her home in Los Angeles to enroll at Northwestern University in Illinois, where she took an African-American studies class that explored the principle of colorism. “It was the first time I could put a name to feeling too light in the black community and too mixed in the white community,” she says.
Now, Meghan says she’s done trying to satisfy others. Confident in her own skin and drawing strength from her family, she embraces her looks with the hope that others will also learn to love their beauty marks.
“I have the most vivid memories of being seven years old and my mom picking me up from my grandmother’s house,” she says. “There were the three of us, a family tree in an ombré of mocha next to the caramel complexion of my mom and light-skinned, freckled me. I remember the sense of belonging, having nothing to do with the color of my skin.”
She adds, “For all my freckle-faced friends out there, I will share with you something my dad told me when I was younger: ‘A face without freckles is a night without stars.'” Now those are some true words of wisdom.