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Meghan Markle to photo editors: Don't airbrush my freckles, skin tone

Prince Harry's girlfriend, Meghan Markle, opened up about being labeled 'racially ambiguous' in a moving interview with Allure.
/ Source: TODAY

Brains, beauty, charm and a great heart — is there anything that Meghan Markle can't do? The actress, philanthropist and former United Nations ambassador — and 2017 TODAY Style Hero — is a role model for all little girls.

Meghan Markle isn't afraid to speak out about the challenges of being biracial in Hollywood.

The “Suits” actress, 35, opened up about the prejudice she has faced because of her skin color in the April issue of Allure.

Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle attended an event titled "A More Perfect Union: Stories of Prejudice and Power" on Feb. 15, 2012.Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Markle, who has been in a relationship with Prince Harry since last year, grew up in a biracial family in Los Angeles. Her mother is African-American and her father is Caucasian.

“I have the most vivid memories of being 7 years old and my mom picking me up from my grandmother’s house,” she told Allure. “There were the three of us, a family tree in an ombré of mocha next to the caramel complexion of my mom and light-skinned, freckled me. I remember the sense of belonging, having nothing to do with the color of my skin.”

However, as she got older, Markle said she began to feel more conflicted about her racial identity.

“I took an African-American studies class at Northwestern where we explored colorism; it was the first time I could put a name to feeling too light in the black community, too mixed in the white community,” she said. “For castings, I was labeled ‘ethnically ambiguous.’ Was I Latina? Sephardic? ‘Exotic Caucasian’?”

Meghan Markle
This isn't the first time Markle has addressed her race. She once wrote that she's often the "ethnically ambiguous fly on the wall.”Ray Tamarra / GC Images

Markle also said she feels frustrated when people in the industry try to alter her appearance to make her conform to a certain look or identity.

“To this day, my pet peeve is when my skin tone is changed and my freckles are airbrushed out of a photo shoot,” she said. “For all my freckle-faced friends out there, I will share with you something my dad told me when I was younger: ‘A face without freckles is a night without stars.’ ”

Her interview was part of a cover story featuring commentary about beauty and diversity from 41 women of color, including Padma Lakshmi, Constance Wu and Eva Longoria.

Meghan Markle is one of the women featured in the April issue of Allure.
Meghan Markle is one of the women featured in the April issue of

This isn’t the first time Markle has spoken out about her racial identity. In a powerful essay for her lifestyle website, The Tig, she revealed her frustration about the “countless black jokes people have shared in front of me, not realizing I am mixed, unaware that I am the ethnically ambiguous fly on the wall.”

As Prince Harry’s girlfriend, Markle has faced intense media scrutiny in recent months, and unfortunately, some of it has been racially charged. Last fall, Harry issued a rare public statement through Kensington Palace, condemning racist and sexist press coverage of her.

There has been a "line crossed," read a statement from the prince’s spokesman. “His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. Some of this has been very public — the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments ... It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm.”

From Markle's interviews and statements, it sounds like she won't let any outside commentary get her down.