You’ve probably heard a lot about actor and humanitarian Meghan Markle in the news lately.
Because, yes, that’s right — there’s a royal wedding in the works!
On Nov. 27, Markle and Prince Harry announced their engagement, sparking a wave of media intrigue into Markle and her past.
If her name didn’t ring a bell when the engagement news broke earlier this week, here’s the gist of her life in the public eye: She’s most recognizable from her role as Rachel Zane on the USA Network series “Suits,” which premiered in 2011 — and, more recently, for dating Prince Harry.
But she’s also been a champion for women and human rights throughout the years, working as an advocate for the U.N.’s Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and becoming a global ambassador for World Vision Canada in 2016.
As it turns out, though, Markle’s devotion to gender equality began long before fame came her way.
In an video unearthed by “Inside Edition,” an 11-year-old Markle explains why rampant sexism in TV ads is so terrible.
The video, which was produced in 1993, features Markle and her classmates in a Los Angeles school discussing the implicit messages sent through various television commercials.
The ads they saw were promoting products like cleaning supplies, cough medicine, and dish soap. The commercials’ scripts and the actors pushed the notion that the items advertised were for women to use for their families.
Markle wasn’t having it.
One ad in particular stood out to 11-year-old Markle: a commercial selling dishwashing liquid.
In the ad, the narrator explains: “Women are fighting greasy pots and pans with Ivory Clear.”
“I said, ‘Wait a minute,'” Markle recalled. “How can somebody say that?'”
So she picked up a pencil and paper and wrote a letter to Procter & Gamble, the company behind the product, urging them to rethink the use of the word “women” in their ad.
After all, men can certainly clean up after themselves too.
Sure enough, the company listened to Markle and the news coverage that came with it. Soon after, the script was changed to “people are fighting greasy pots and pans with Ivory Clear.”
The experience left a lasting impress on Markle, who’s continued to fight for what she believes to be right in the decades since.
“If you see something that you don’t like or are offended by on television or any other place, write letters and send them to the right people,” a young Markle explained in the video. “You can really make a difference — for not just yourself, but lots of other people.”