Meghan Markle Said She Was the "Ugly Duckling" in School

We all collectively refuse to believe this.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex makes the keynote speech during the Opening Ceremony of the One Young World Summit 2022 at The Bridgewater Hall on September 05, 2022 in Manchester, England.
(Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty)

People—horribly—call Meghan Markle a lot of names, which incidentally inspired the premise of her new podcast, Archetypes. This series features a number of prominent female guests, who join the Duchess of Sussex in reframing the labels that are often unfairly plastered on women in our society.

But though people call the duchess a lot of names, one label that you would never expect to have been attached to her is "ugly duckling"—yet this is how she identified in school, she has revealed.

Speaking to her latest guest, Marie Claire cover star Mindy Kaling, Markle said, "If you're… not the pretty one growing up, you're just like, What can I learn? I want the A-plus."

A seemingly shocked Kaling rebutted, "Were you not the pretty one growing up?"

The duchess was like, "No. Oh god, no."

This went on for a few seconds until the Never Have I Ever creator expressed our collective sentiment by saying, "That is news to me."

"Ugly duckling," the podcast host answered.

She continued, "Yeah, yeah, yeah… Like tons. Look, maybe not conventional beauty as it… now, maybe that would be seen as beautiful but massive frizzy curly hair and a huge gap in my teeth that…um, I was the smart one. Forever and ever and ever and ever. And, and then just sort of grew up."

Kaling told her, "Hey, now I'm going to say this is a revelation to me because I went through life being like, OK, well, Meghan Markle was like that one nice hot girl who like has her head screwed on right cause her mom's probably like, really cool. But knowing that you were not that, is news to me, probably news to people listening to this."

Um, yes. Definitely.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex speaks to invited guests during a reception at Government House on October 28, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand

(Image credit: Photo by Pool / Getty)

Obviously, there are many ways in which the duchess isn't relatable—starting with her multimillion dollar home and royal title—but this is definitely something I, and I'm sure tons of others, can relate to.

She described her experience at school, and this will likely help many of us: "I never had anyone to sit with at lunch," she admitted.

"I was always a little bit of a loner and really shy and didn't know where I fit in. And, and so I just became, I was like, OK, well then I'll become the president of the Multicultural Club and the president of sophomore class and the president of this and French club. And by doing that, I had meetings at lunchtime."

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.