Many people want to be believe that Meghan rose to prominence as a result of her relationship to Prince Harry; however, nothing could be further from the truth. Duchess Meghan was a successful businesswoman in her own right, and a self made millionaire.
Meghan Markle began her acting career with the end in mind. It is evident that she used acting as a stepping stone in order to achieve her global voice, to empower others, and highlight the causes she is passionate about. She mentioned in her engagement interview that her “transition out of [acting]” would enable her to “focus even more energy on” the causes “that have been very important to” her. Furthermore, she was not “giving up” acting; instead she viewed her marriage as “a change” and the beginning of a “new chapter”. Effectively, Duchess Meghan’s comments emphasized that an acting career was never her ultimate career goal. (BBC Engagement Interview, Nov. 2017)
In the Duchess of Sussex’s own words:
“With fame comes opportunity, but it also includes responsibility – to advocate and share, to focus less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings. And, if I’m lucky enough, to inspire.”(ELLE, 2016)
Obviously, Duchess Meghan made some of her money as an actor in Hollywood from her Suits employment. Meghan was an actor on Suits for seven seasons. According to knownetworth.com, she made $50,000 per episode. Each season of Suits released 16 episodes, except season 1 (which released only 12 episodes). Using these numbers, an estimate of Meghan’s salary can be tallied and it is apparent that her earned income would have been over $5 million dollars.
If she was indeed paid $50.000 per episode then
- Season 1 had 12 episodes so $600,000
- Seasons 2-7 had 16 episodes each so $50K*16*6= $4,800,000
Except Suits was not Meghan’s only job in Hollywood and the monies made from all of her jobs also contributed to her net worth.
Meghan appeared in episodes of the game show Deal or No Deal (2006-2007) as a briefcase holder. Meghan recounted her Deal or No Deal experience in several interviews:
Most actors find a way to make a living while they’re auditioning and, for me, holding a briefcase was an incredibly lucrative means of being able to pursue what I really wanted to do. I’m not a model by any stretch, so I was just fortunate enough to be able to pay my bills – and then some – by standing in uncomfortable shoes and smiling really big for an exceptionally long time.
(The Sydney Morning Herald, Sept. 2012)
She went on to say that working on Deal or No Deal was a “learning experience … [that] helped me to understand what I would rather be doing.” (Esquire, July 2013)
Meghan also appeared in a film that was digitally released called Random Encounters. Meghan acted in several tv movies (Deceit, The Apostles, Good Behavior, and The Boys & Girls Guide to Getting Down).
Meghan Markle earned more than $50,000 for her portrayal of Dana in the tv movie The Boys & Girls Guide to Getting Down. (knownetworth.com)
Meghan made guest appearances on several different tv shows (including General Hospital, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, Fringe, Castle, 90210, Knight Rider, Without a Trace, The War at Home, Cuts, Century City, and Love, Inc). She also was a lead actress in two Hallmark tv movies (When Sparks Fly and Dater’s Handbook).
Whenever union actors make appearances they receive compensation (tabulated by their union & negotiated by their agent). Meghan appeared as herself on the The ABC Discovers: Talent Showcase (2004), Larry King Now (2013), The Late Late Show hosted by Craig Ferguson (2013), Rachael Ray Show (2015), The Nightly Show (2016), PoliticKING with Larry King (2016), and as a judge on the cooking show Chopped Junior (2016).
“Growing up, my fondest memories, at least for me, were in the kitchen.” (Chopped Junior, 2016)
To supplement her income, Meghan would do freelance calligraphy for wedding invitations and Dolce & Gabbana’s celebrity correspondence.
“I would sit there with a little white tube sock on my hand so no hand oils got on the card, trying to pay my bills while auditioning.” (Esquire, July 2013)
Meghan Markle was a global influencer with millions of followers clinging to her every word through her Lifestyle Blog called ‘The Tig’. The Tig was an “inspired lifestyle site”, which focused on food, travel, fashion, and beauty. Meghan ran the blog for almost three years (May 2014-April 2017) inspiring millions to live their best lives and to aspire to a higher level of living. She wanted the The Tig to be like “a friend that’s always there for you; a great place that makes you feel good.”(Ebony, Feb. 2016). When Meghan shut down The Tig in 2017, she called her blog an “amazing community of inspiration, support, fun, and frivolity.” (The Tig, 2017).
Ms. Markle is tech and social media savvy; both characteristics which propelled her to the position of one of the most successful bloggers in the world.
Before her accounts were deactivated in January, she had 3 million Instagram followers, 800,000 Facebook likes and 350,000 Twitter followers. (BBC.com, Mar. 2018)
Meghan wrote most of The Tig’s posts, often sharing her own personal experiences, and messages of perseverance and persistence in achieving goals.
Meghan is a go-getter and despite her lack of name recognition, she built her media empire from the ground up. Meghan did not wait for someone to give her a column in one of the Condé Nast or Hearst or Vox Media publications; instead she grabbed the bull by the horns and created her own platform. Consequently, she built her own tribe of followers, who shared similar passions and philosophies, and in the process she also made some profit.
Ms. Markle had a pulse on her target audience, who were mostly millennials, and she valued authenticity over corporate branding.
“Wellness is one of, if not the fastest growing space at the moment, in terms of influencer environment and business opportunities,” says Zazzle Media’s founder and managing director Simon Penson. (BBC.com, Mar. 2018)
The Tig’s focus on wellness strategically placed Meghan into the forefront of the emerging wellness movement that research firms like Technavio believe will be worth billions of dollars ($412 to be exact) by 2021. (BBC.com, Mar. 2018)
The Tig was privately owned and based on its marketability, Meghan Markle could have become a “Wellness Guru” according to BBC.com (March 24, 2018). It is not hard to predict that if The Tig had continued its growth, its net worth would have been at the least in the tens of millions of dollars. We know this because similar lifestyle brands such as ‘Goop’ which inspired ‘The Tig’, is valued today at over $250 million dollars according to Pitchbook’s valuation in March 2018.
The Duchess of Sussex at the height of her pre-royal days was paid to make appearances at events and also made money from sponsorships and endorsements.
According to Hello! (2018) it is estimated that Meghan Markle earned around £60,000 (about $78,563 US) from her various sponsorships and endorsements.
Meghan was a brand ambassador for Ralph Lauren, which brought her into the orbit of the global ‘Queen of Fashion’, Dame Anna Wintour. Anna Wintour determines which styles and colours the fashion world will wear during a given season. One telltale sign that Meghan had risen in the world of fashion was her proximity to Anna Wintour at the 2016 Wimbledon tournament. During that event Meghan sat next to Wintour, affirming her status in the billion dollar world of fashion.
Duchess Meghan appeared regularly on the NBC network’s popular daily morning show ‘Today‘; where she was a fashion expert discussing and promoting fashion trends, and offering style tips. Meghan conspicuously was making a name for herself in the fashion industry, by working from the ground up, learning the ropes.
Meghan’s ascension into the world of fashion culminated with her partnership with the Canadian specialty fashion retailing company Reitmans (Canada) Ltd. Meghan’s role evolved from model and brand ambassador for their Fall/Winter 2015 collection to designer.
“I’m so excited to be part of this re-energizing of Reitmans, and to be the face of a brand. I’m often asked what I wear both on and off camera, and the answer is that it’s a blend of a few luxury items mixed with classic and trend driven pieces that don’t break the bank. Reitmans is perfect for affordable & chic pieces that I absolutely love… ”
(Meghan Markle, Reitmans Ltd. Press release, Aug. 2015)
Meghan revitalized the brand by launching two fashion capsule collections in 2015 & 2016, designed by her and sold online and in Reitmans’ stores.
“The initial idea of developing a collection came from her. It was an amazing idea so our designers, who are all based in Montreal, worked closely with her. She provided her vision and her ideas of what could be a work-to-weekend capsule collection. They worked together to bring it to life.”
(Monique Brosseau, Reitmans’ VP of Marketing and Visual Presentation, Jan. 2017)
Both collections were lucative ventures “selling out online and in select stores.” (Women’s Wear Daily, 2017). We can see why clothing and assessory brands she wears nowadays continue to sell out.
“The feedback we have had from our customers regarding our association with Meghan Markle has been very, very positive, too. People come in and ask for the Meghan Markle collection specifically. Actually, some of them bought the whole collection. It was very well-received.”
(Monique Brosseau, Reitmans’ VP of Marketing and Visual Presentation, Jan. 2017)
Meghan’s philanthropic work included her roles as ambassador of World Vision Canada and UN Women Advocate for Political Participation and Leadership. Through these positions, Meghan broadened her audience and strengthened her brand; resulting in more speaking opportunities. Meghan was a sought-after speaker and requests for her to speak intensified. If you know anything about the American Speaking circuit it is a billion dollar industry and women with a global platform, such as Meghan, could command a hefty price tag.