Meghan Markle Remembers Being Asked to Pad Her Bra and "Suck It In" on 'Deal or No Deal'

She spoke to Paris Hilton about the "bimbo" label.

Actress Meghan Markle attends USA Networks a "Suits" Story Fashion Show on June 12, 2012 in New York, United States.
(Image credit: Photo by Michael Stewart / Getty)

Meghan Markle's Archetypes podcast is back, and it's another fascinating one.

In this new episode, the Duchess of Sussex invites Paris Hilton to help her dissect the term "bimbo" and the way it's used against women in popular culture.

To illustrate this phenomenon, Markle uses her experience on the game show Deal or No Deal, and remembers how "objectified" she felt while filming it, because of how closely her appearance was monitored, and how little anything else matters to the producers.

"The other night, I was flipping through the channels on TV. This by the way is a rarity when you have two children under the age of four, but I saw an episode of a game show called Deal or No Deal," the duchess says to introduce the episode.

"This brought back a lot of memories.

"Back in 2006, I had a short stint as a briefcase girl on the U.S. version of the game show.

"Now, my experience on the show—which included holding said briefcase on stage alongside 25 other women doing the same—it was, for me, fascinating. I had studied acting in college at Northwestern University, and like a lot of the other women standing on stage with me, acting was what I was pursuing.

"So while Deal or No Deal wasn't about acting, I was still really grateful as an auditioning actress to have a job that could pay my bills.

"I had income, I was part of the union, I had health insurance, it was great!"

Meghan Markle Archetypes portrait

(Image credit: Courtesy of Spotify)

But the duchess couldn't help but compare this experience with her time interning at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, and notice how she was valued for her mind while she was there.

"[At Deal or No Deal], I was being valued for something quite the opposite," she explains.

"I mean, you have to imagine just to paint the picture for you that before the tapings of the show, all the girls, we would line up, and there were different stations for having your lashes put on, or your extensions put in, or the padding in your bra. We were even given spray-tan vouchers each week, because there was a very cookie-cutter idea of precisely what we should look like.

"It was solely about beauty. And not necessarily about brains."

There was one part of it all that she found particularly jarring, and with good reason.

"When I look back at that time, I will never forget this one detail, because moments before we'd get on stage, there was a woman who ran the show, and she would be there backstage, and I can still hear her," the duchess says.

"She couldn't properly pronounce my last name at the time, and I knew who she was talking to because she would go, 'Markell, suck it in! Markell! Suck it in!'

"I ended up quitting the show." Seriously, good for her.

She adds, "Like I said, 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, and 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 feeling 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." This archetype? The bimbo—a label which of course has been thrown at Paris Hilton just about a million times, when she is of course a multifaceted person like everybody else.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.