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Meghan Markle recalls ‘being objectified’ as a ‘Deal or No Deal’ briefcase model

The Duchess of Sussex reflected on how she quit the game show in 2006 after "feeling forced to be all looks and little substance."
Meghan Markle, Deal Or No Deal - Season 2.
The former Meghan Markle during her time on the game show "Deal or No Deal" in the mid-2000s.NBC

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, has reflected back on how it made her feel to be "objectified" and reduced to "all looks and little substance" during her time as a model opening briefcases on the game show "Deal or No Deal."

The former Meghan Markle spoke about her experience in 2006 of being one of 25 women on stage opening briefcases as part of the game show in the latest episode of her Spotify podcast, "Archetypes," released on Oct. 18.

The duchess said she was flipping through channels recently and came across an episode, which brought back memories of her short stint on episodes that aired in 2006-07.

She would walk up and down a lighted staircase and wait for contestants to call out the number on her briefcase while they mulled over telling host Howie Mandel which case they wanted opened.

"Like I said, I was thankful for the job, but not for how it made me feel, which was not smart," she said. "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."

Meghan Markle in Deal or New Deal.
Markle was grateful at the time to have income and health insurance through "Deal or No Deal," but said it ultimately left her feeling like "all looks and little substance."NBC

Her recollection is part of an episode titled "Breaking down 'The Bimbo' with Paris Hilton," in which she discussed the labels of "bimbo" and "dumb blonde" with the reality star and beauty mogul.

Markle, 41, was working for "Deal or No Deal" while auditioning for acting roles after having studied at Northwestern University. She said she was "grateful" for the job and the health insurance offered by the game show at the time, but thought back to her previous work as an intern at the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires and being valued for her intelligence.

"Here, I was being valued for something quite the opposite," she said about the show.

She remembered different stations where the briefcase models were given fake eyelashes to put on, hair extensions, and padding for their bras. She said they were also given spray tan vouchers for each week.

"Because there was a very cookie-cutter idea of precisely what we should look like," she said. "It was solely about beauty and not necessarily about brains.

"And when I look back at that time, I will never forget this one detail. Moments before we'd get onstage, there was a woman who ran the show, and she would be there backstage. And I can still hear her, she couldn't properly pronounce my last name at the time, and I knew who she was talking to because she would go, 'Mark-el, suck it in! Mark-el, suck it in!'"

Markle went on to bigger things by landing a role for seven seasons on the USA Network hit "Suits," starting in 2011. She left the show in 2018 when she married husband Prince Harry, with whom she now has two children.