Meghan Markle reflected on her experience being “objectified” as a briefcase girl on “Deal or No Deal” and spoke with Paris Hilton about the stereotype of the “dumb blonde” in a new interview.
Markle, 41, appeared on the game show in 2006. She had studied acting at Northwestern University and used the show for income while auditioning for larger roles.
The Duchess of Sussex explained that although she was an aspiring actress, she had also studied international relations and had interned at the U.S. Embassy in multiple countries. The juxtaposition of “being valued specifically” for her brain and then being valued “solely” for beauty was stark for Markle.
“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,” Markle said during an episode of her podcast “Archetypes.” “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.”
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Markle also spoke about misconceptions in the media and the “dumb blonde” stereotype with Hilton.
Hilton, who rose to fame in the 90s, cemented the idea of the “dumb blonde” with her appearance on “The Simple Life.” She revealed she was somewhat cast as the “dumb blonde” by producers and that she is actually the opposite in real life.
“Like during that time, it was like, encouraged, almost,” Hilton explained. “Like it was, like, cute to be, like, dumb and bubbly and that kind of like, blonde thing. Like, I look at it now and I’m like, I think it’s so much cooler to be smart and intelligent, but back then, it was almost like they wanted… girls to be like that in some way.”
“Yeah it was glorified,” Markle responded. “And it’s not specific to here and it’s not even specific to that decade. This is something that happens globally. This idea of dumbing women down and women dumbing themselves down.”
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Hilton noted that with “The Simple Life” she had created a character as a “mask” to “protect” herself from the media.
“So it could be like, they’re not talking about me,” she told Markle. “They’re talking about this character that I created. So it would kind of help, I don’t know, the pain of the media just constantly just being mean and just very vicious and cruel to me for so long.”
The reality TV star later added: “It just kind of like shielded me from ever really having to feel anything. I was like, they’re not talking about me personally. They’re talking about something that I created.”
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Despite the trauma she endured and the character she felt she had to portray, Hilton had positive things to say about her time on “The Simple Life,” laughing with her best friend Nicole Richie. She revealed she still watches the show sometimes.
“It’s so timeless, it’s so funny, and it was amazing experiences that I never would have had in life,” she told Markle. “So I’m so happy that I did it.”
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