Meghan Markle recalls being told to ‘suck it in’ as a briefcase girl on ‘Deal or No Deal’

Discussing the 'bimbo' trope with Paris Hilton on her Spotify podcast "Archetypes,' Meghan Markle recalled a troubling experience during her early TV career.

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It would be an extreme understatement to say Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, has come a long way since her days as a so-called “briefcase girl” on NBC’s “Deal or No Deal.”

On the sixth episode of her “Archetypes” podcast, which aired Tuesday on Spotify, the former actress revisited her 2006 tenure on the game show while discussing the “bimbo” label with guest Paris Hilton.

Markle zeroed in (PEOPLE) on a particularly demeaning and recurring experience. “When I look back at that time, I’ll never forget this one detail — because moments before we’d get on stage, there was a woman who ran the show and she’d be there backstage, and I can still hear her,” she recalled. “She couldn’t properly pronounce my last name at the time and I knew who she was talking to because she’d go, ‘Markle, suck it in! Markle, suck it in!'”

Meghan Markle on Episode 236 of “Deal or No Deal” (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank)

For Markle, whose academic achievements included double-majoring in theater and international studies at Northwestern University, the briefcase girl role was an abrupt departure from her prior professional experiences.

“[T]here were times I was on set at ‘Deal or No Deal’ and thinking back to my time working as an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Argentina in Buenos Aires and being in the motorcade with the security [secretary] of treasury at the time and being valued specifically for my brain. Here, I was being valued for something quite the opposite.”

As PEOPLE reported, it was that dynamic that would eventually lead Markle to quit the game show. “I was thankful for the job, but not for how it made me feel, which was not smart. And by the way, I was surrounded by smart women on that stage with me, but that wasn’t the focus of why we were there,” she said.

“I would end up leaving with this pit in my stomach knowing that I was so much more than what was being objectified on the stage. I didn’t like being forced to be all looks and little substance, and that’s how it felt for me at the time — being reduced to this specific archetype.”

Of course, similar characterizations of Markle would surface in 2017 with news of her relationship with now-husband Prince Harry. In the years since, she has regularly been the target of abuse from online commenters, the media and even coordinated efforts to spread disinformation and hatred against her — primarily defaming her as a manipulator, seductress or gold digger. Presumably, the overwhelming negativity she has encountered inspired the concept of her podcast.

“This is how we talk about women: the words that raise our girls and how the media reflects women back to us,” said Markle ahead of the launch of “Archetypes” (PEOPLE), “but where do these stereotypes come from? And how do they keep showing up and defining our lives?”


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