With the launch of her long-awaited Spotify podcast and a flashy new profile in New York magazine, Meghan Markle has stepped back into the public eye in a way that says she’s finally ready to define her post-royal persona.
But what that personality is and how much Meghan is ready to redefine herself is uncertain as she continues to tell stories about the “hardships” she endured as a member of the British royal family and “turn it into content,” like New York magazine. The Court reports.
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Questions continue to arise around Meghan and Prince Harry as they have finally started to honor their multi-million dollar “vanity” deals with Spotify and Netflix. For now, Spotify executives are probably pleased with their lucrative investment in the Duchess of Sussex in 2020, with the debut last week of her “Archetypes” podcast. She headlined Spotify star Joe Rogan’s podcast last week to become no. 1 on the platform in six different countries, including the United States.
But in the nearly two years leading up to the release of “Archetypes,” Meghan reportedly put considerable effort, “caution,” or even “fear” into trying to work out her post-“Megxit” persona, to the point that she reportedly , it became difficult for her and Harry to start projects with Spotify and Netflix, according to a report by The Ankler, an entertainment industry newsletter.
The former TV actress carefully selected her brand before she met Harry, using her Instagram posts and her Goop-style lifestyle blog, The Tig. Now, Meghan finds herself “trying to define what her post-royalty, post-work brand of actress really is,” said Ankler writer Nicole LaPorte.
“She’s terrified to make a decision because she’s so worried about her image, so they can’t pull the trigger,” a source who spoke to Archewell about her content strategy told LaPorte.
“She wants to be seen as a world leader, but they don’t have strong ideas,” the source added.
A source close to Meghan questioned this characterization of LaPorte, saying: “I would say ‘thoughtful’ and ‘cautious’ may be better words than ‘fear’. Leading by your truth is always your North Star.”
LaPorte reported that Meghan and Harry really want to be seen as Davos-style global ambassadors. Meanwhile, New York magazine’s mostly enthusiastic “Meghan of Montecito” profile offered a slightly different take on the Duchess of Sussex, describing her as “a millennial woman whose feminism was forged in the age of the girlboss.” and that she is ready to throw wide open “the proverbial doors of her life.”
Meghan can only open those doors in the most carefully crafted way, as outlined in the profile, starting with setting the stage for her interview with writer Allison P. Davis.
The adjustment. it was “a beautiful living room” in Harry and Meghan’s “beautiful” Montecito estate, Davis wrote.
“Meghan, relaxing in a comfy chair, takes in everything that is climate controlled, high ceilinged, sun-splashed and perfectly marshmallowy,” Davis wrote. “An invisible hand has lit a Soho House brand rosewater candle, and that aroma fills the air, mixing with the soothing tones of a flamenco-inflected guitar wafting from a speaker. Then, in the lull in the conversation, Meghan turns to me, leaning forward to ask in a conspiratorial whisper, “Do you want to know a secret?”
It turns out that the secret is that Meghan can return to Instagram. She and Harry stopped using social media after they left real life and moved to the United States, saying they were tired of the bullying and toxicity. Later in the conversation, Davis questioned whether Meghan’s secret is really “a troll” when Meghan said that she was actually not sure if she would return to Instagram.
There are other ways the profile lends credence to the idea that Meghan is deliberate in what she says and how she wants to appear, to the point where Meghan’s critics could easily see her as overly cautious, calculating or disingenuous.
For one thing, Davis reported that Meghan would not directly answer any questions about reports that she and Harry are filming a Netflix documentary about their life in California, or their “love story,” as Meghan called it.
While Meghan told Davis she wasn’t trying to be “cautious,” she also said she would let her publicist or Netflix decide whether to release the information. When Davis went to the companies to inquire about upcoming projects, he reported that such inquiries were met with “half-hearted responses,” “redirection,” and “institutional paranoia by a team that responds to press inquiries as if it were protecting the nuclear codes.
Davis wrote that Meghan’s deliberation was very evident in the way she presented herself. She “sometimes converses like she has a little ‘Bachelor’ producer in her brain directing what she says.” Not answering a particular question, Meghan suggested how Davis might transcribe the noises she’s making: “She’s making these guttural sounds, and I can’t articulate what she’s feeling at the moment because she doesn’t have words for it; she is just moaning.
After listening to the debut episode of her “Archetypes” podcast, Washington Post culture columnist Alyssa Rosenberg also raised questions about where Meghan is headed with her rebranding effort.
The podcast has the laudable goal of challenging negative stereotypes of women, with Meghan speaking to some of her celebrity friends about the struggles they’ve had professionally or personally with society’s expectations. Her debut episode featured Meghan chatting with her friend, tennis legend Serena Williams, about the harmful labels attached to women who show ambition.
Rosenberg said the episode generated much less buzz about the subject at hand or Williams’ illustrious career than it did about Meghan talking about what she suffered after marrying Harry in 2018 and becoming a royal. Last week’s headlines focused on Meghan’s anger and anguish that royal aides continued official engagements during a tour of South Africa in 2019 after hearing that a heater in her infant son Archie’s room began to smoke. or caught fire; Archie wasn’t in the bedroom at the time.
If Meghan and Harry really want to build a new life in America, become power players in Hollywood or make a broader impact on causes they care about as potential global ambassadors, they need to “stop making themselves the center of history.” Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg said the couple seem trapped in a version of what New Yorker writer Parul Sehgal called “the trauma plot.” In Meghan and Harry’s case, they seem obsessed with “what drove them to flee across the pond to the exclusion of what they’re going to do now that they’re here.”
According to the New York magazine profile, it doesn’t sound like Meghan is ready to put “the trauma plot” behind her or her identity as a real victim just yet. She mentioned that Harry also “lost” his father, Prince Charles, in the process of his royal departure.
Meanwhile, when asked if there is room for forgiveness between her and her royal in-laws and her own estranged family, Meghan said: “It takes a lot of effort to forgive.” She then suggested that she has more to say: “I really made an active effort, especially knowing that I can say anything.”