It’s no secret that Meghan Markle is breaking ground in many ways.
The 36-year-old actress, who made waves around the world on Monday when news broke about her engagement to Prince Harry, has a strong background in charitable work and advocacy.
One of her No. 1 causes is women’s rights and female empowerment. Through her work as a UN Women’s advocate and trips abroad for philanthropic causes, Markle has made her impact long before her romance with Harry.
Along the way she’s been an outspoken activist, seeking to encourage other women and lend her voice and celebrity to good causes. Here are some of the more inspirational things she’s said:
1) During a 2015 interview with Larry King, the interviewer commented on Markle’s good looks, asking her if her looks affected her advocacy, saying, “You’re not the average American woman, Meghan, admit it.”
Markle quickly replied, "No matter what you look like, you should be taken seriously. And for me also, I think it's really great to be a feminist and be feminine."
And when King asked, "Is feminist still a good word?," she confidently stated, "Yes! It's not the 'f' word!"
2) By 2014, Markle had been one of the stars of the USA network's Suits for three years. Speaking at the One Young World conference, the actress explained that she put her foot down when it came to her character being overly sexualized.
“This season every script seemed to begin with ‘Rachel enters wearing a towel,’ and I said, ‘Nope, not doing it anymore. Not doing it.’ And I called the creator, I was like, ‘It’s just gratuitous. We get it, we’ve already seen it once.’ So I think at a certain point you feel empowered enough to just say no. I think it’s a challenging thing to do if you don’t know your worth and your value.”
Markle went on to add, “Look, as an auditioning actress years ago, you’re so hungry for work, of course you’re willing to do things like that. So I think a lot of these women who are in the music videos, that’s still exciting for them. What we need to shift in their minds is that they have higher value than that and they don’t need to be doing that. So I think for me, speaking up and being able to say I'm not going to do that anymore, has been a big shift for me personally.”
3) Speaking with BT First in October 2015, Markle was all about self-love. She had an important message for women out there, saying, "We just need to be kinder to ourselves. If we treated ourselves the way we treated our best friend, can you imagine how much better off we would be?"
She added, "Try to find a space inside of you that reminds yourself that yes, you can have questions and self doubt, that's going to come up, that's human. But at the end of the day, you are enough exactly as you are."
4) Markle got candid about using her platform as an actress to better the world during a May 2016 interview with AOL Build.
"If you have this kind of job and you have an opportunity to have a profile where people are listening to what you're saying, I really truly think you need to be saying something that's valuable,” she explained after greeting an audience member she’d previously met on social media. “So, yes, you can talk about, 'Where did Rachel get that pencil skirt?' Fine, sure. We can have that conversation, but I'd also like to talk about women's rights or my work with UN Women or with World Vision or humanitarian trips or just really bolstering self esteem that has nothing to do with the external."
5) After years of being an activist, Markle took a very public stand in 2015 when she gave a moving speech on behalf of UN Women. She explained that she’s been an advocate for women since the age of 11 when she saw a dishwashing liquid commercial that she felt was sexist. She wrote many letters to then-first lady, Hillary Clinton, journalist Linda Ellerbee, and attorney, Gloria Allred. Months later the dishwashing liquid company changed their commercial.
“It was at that moment that I realized the magnitude of my actions. At the age of 11 I had created my small level of impact by standing up for equality,” she explained.
For more from the future royal, watch the clip below!