Who is the ‘very influential and inspiring woman’ who told Meghan Markle not to give up her activism before marriage? Oprah Winfrey, Serena Williams and Michelle Obama all tipped as candidates
- Meghan Markle said a mystery mentor advised her not to give up her activism
- The Duchess of Sussex revealed advice in an episode of her Archetypes podcast
- Oprah Winfrey, Serena Williams and Michelle Obama tipped as possibilities
- Markle interviewed Jameela Jamil and Shohreh Aghdashloo in the episode
Speculation has mounted over the identity of the mystery mentor who advised Meghan Markle not to give up her activism before joining the Royal family.
Commentators have openly questioned whether Oprah Winfrey or Serena Williams – both guests at Meghan’s 2018 wedding to Prince Harry at Windsor – could be the confidante in question.
Former US First Lady Michelle Obama has also been tipped as a possible contender.
The duchess interviewed British actress and influencer Jameela Jamil and the American-Iranian star of X-Men and 24, Shohreh Aghdashloo, 70, for an episode called The Audacity of the Activist released today.
Meghan Markle revealed a ‘very, very influential and inspiring’ woman advised her not to give up her activism for women and girls before her wedding to Harry
Oprah Winfrey has been tipped as one of the women who may have advised Markle to stick to her activism
Serena Williams, a close friend of the Duchess of Sussex and a guest at her 2018 wedding to Prince Harry, has also been suggested as the mystery mentor
Former US First Lady Michelle Obama whose husband Barack Obama has supported Prince Harry’s Invictus Games has also been tipped as a possible contender.
Ms Aghdashloo spoke about the fight to ‘bring democracy back’ to the country of her birth amid ongoing protests in Tehran and across the country over the treatment of women breaking strict hijab rules and the death of a 22-year-old woman at the hands of the morality police.
Meghan said: ‘It reminded me of a message that was shared with me just a few days before my wedding by a very, very influential and inspiring woman who for her own privacy, I won’t share who it was with you.
‘But she said to me, “I know that your life is changing but please don’t give up your activism, don’t give up because it means so much to women and girls”.
‘And I kept doing the work for women and girls because it matters, yes, but also because she encouraged me to do so.’
Meghan and her guests discussed why activism and ‘big ideas’ from women are ‘often deemed audacious’ and used against them to make them ‘feel small’ – at one point the duchess claims women get ‘no credit and all the blame’.
She then thanked her friend Jameela for ‘fighting back’ for her after the actress claimed the royal has been ‘demonised’ since she started her relationship with Harry.
Miss Jamil, 36, revealed the former Suits star privately reaches out to women ‘in our most lonely and desperate moments’.
The Duchess of Sussex speaks to British actress and influencer Jameela Jamil (left) and American-Iranian star of X-Men and 24, Shohreh Aghdashloo (right)
Jameela tells her: ‘It’s just it’s an unfathomable amount of s*** that you take Meghan. I can’t believe it. And I fought back on your behalf of years before I’d ever met you because I was so outraged by the twisting of this, very normal, very kind, very civilised woman. That demonisation just shows how afraid they are of you’.
She added: ‘I’m so sorry you’ve had to withstand it. I feel faith that tides are changing because so many of us are fighting back’, to which Meghan replied: ‘Well thank you for fighting back’.
Jameela describes feeling suicidal in the wake of criticism of her words or actions before revealing that Meghan has contacted her and other women in the public eye.
She said: ‘I also just want to thank you, in a way that you know I probably didn’t get to at the time, but during some of my hardest moments where I’m being the most maligned and harmed by the media, and also by the public.
‘You have been such a sobering voice of unwavering support to me. And people don’t know that you frequently reach out to women who are having a very very hard time.
‘You reach out to us. You don’t do it publicly. You don’t come to get any glory, but you privately reach out to us in our most lonely and desperate moments. And we need more of that in the world’.
‘Ello!’ Meghan ribs Jameela Jamil by mimicking her British accent at the start of her latest Spotify podcast
Meghan Markle welcomed her friend Jameela Jamil on to the show with her best British accent.
After opening the ninth episode of Archetypes, she welcomes ‘my friend Jameela Jamil’.
Miss Jamil starts speaking: ‘You alright babe? Hello’.
And Meghan replies ‘ello’, with what appears to be a mockney accent, before speaking normally again.
One listener tweeted: ‘Is Meghan trying to do a British accent again?’
Jameela Jamil gushes over Meghan’s bond with ‘ally’ Prince Harry and hails her as ‘kind and normal’
The presenter and actress appeared on the ninth episode of the Duchess’ show which was titled ‘The Audacity of the Activist with Jameela Jamil and Shohreh Aghdashloo’.
In the episode, Jameela compared her relationship with James Blake to Meghan’s marriage to Prince Harry, saying: ‘[James’] is just an incredible human, an incredible friend and I don’t think I could have withstood all this without him. I know you have a very similar dynamic with Harry. It is a really sweet dynamic of you two.’
In the episode, after Meghan asked how James supported Jameela, saying: ‘Maybe he just likes that I am completely myself and I think he really enjoys the fact that I’m not repressed in any way.
‘Therefore, I don’t have anywhere that I need to kind of like let off that steam.
‘I don’t hold in any toxicity. I get everything off my chest, so, you know, mixed results.’
Jameela went on: ‘He’s incredibly supportive of me and he’s been a big encourager of me to learn how to, you know, fight back and speak my mind and understand my worth and he’s just a great ally.’
‘He’s a great, he’s just a great source of strength and comfort and someone who can take my phone away because he’s six foot seven, I can’t reach it when he’s holding it up.
‘You know, if I need my phone to be taken away, he’s there. he understands me and he’s just an incredible human, an incredible friend and and I don’t think I could have withstood all this without him.’
She went on to compare the relationship with Harry and Meghan, adding: ‘It was very nice for me to see that you have that in your home’.
Meghan also took aim at the word ‘woke’, which she claims has been made a ‘taboo’ along with ‘feminism’.
She said: “I thought a lot about words that become unnecessarily charged as it pertains to women, like feminism, for example, often treated, as taboo as the f-word or the word woke.
‘I know I’m saying woke, I fully realise I am spoon-feeding the clickbait, but here’s why. Because woke by definition means alert to injustice in society especially racism’.
Miss Jamil says men do not face the same challenges as women.
At one point she suggests that the abuse of the planet could, in part, be rooted in sexism.
She said: ‘There’s a theory that the reason that we treat the Earth like such s*** is because we consider it Mother Earth, Mother Nature.
‘Like if we considered it, the authoritative patriarch figure, would we be drilling it? But it’s something so poetic about the way that we just drill into the Earth.
‘We take our resources, we take our resources and we expect her to never fight back’.
Miss Jamil also paid tribute to her boyfriend, the musician James Blake, and compared their relationship to Meghan and Prince Harry’s marriage.
She said: ‘He [James Blake] understands me and he’s just an incredible human, an incredible friend and I don’t think I could have withstood all this without him.
‘And I know you have a very similar dynamic with Harry and actually, when the four of us met that one time, it was a really sweet dynamic of two very similar relationships and it was very nice for me to see that. You have that in your home – because you need it.’
Meghan describes her friendship with Miss Jamil, who she has spent time together in the UK and US but hasn’t seen for more than a year. The pair also discuss ‘diet culture’, body shaming and social media trolling.
Jamil was one of Meghan’s 15 Forces For Change in her September 2019 guest-edited Vogue issue and it was then that the pair became friends.
In 2020, a source claimed Jameela and her musician boyfriend James Blake met at the couple’s sprawling California mansion just one day after she dubbed Prince Andrew an alleged paedophile on Twitter.
Jamil and Blake were pictured taking a stroll on a beach in Montecito – just a short distance away from Meghan and Harry’s new home – on August 22, one day prior to their supposed visit and the same day as the tweet.
Jamil publicly stood up for Meghan amid claims the Suits actress went against royal family rules by being political.
And the friends discuss how many women ‘have to stay small’ or face criticism.
Opening the podcast, the Duchess of Sussex says she believes that to ‘stand for something’ is to ‘stand for something good’, but adds: ‘Not everyone sees it that way, especially when it comes to women’.
She asks: ‘Why is it perceived as: “how dare she” and why does some feel the need to make a woman with big opinions feel small.
‘I started to notice this, almost default eye roll, when someone would mention a woman fighting for a cause, and almost, “here she goes again”, or maybe it was more: “Why can’t she just sit down”.
‘The unspoken annoyance that seem to swirl around women in activism was astounding to me and I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it. I still can’t’.
Jamil says that stereotypes are used to ‘shame’ women, claiming they are forced to be perfect or feel like failures.
She said: ‘All these things are to silence us, right? To exhaust us. We’re given all this extra homework of all these levels of perfection to meet before we can be accepted.
‘It’s expertly planned to make us too fatigued to fight back for our rights like as hard to fight for equality when you’re starving, isn’t it?
‘It’s hard to fight for equality when you’re on a weight loss drug that’s destroying your internal organs is hard to fight for equality.
‘When you’re being forced to give birth to a baby that you didn’t want and aren’t ready for, you know, it’s hard to fight for equality.’
She added: ‘I have to live by my own standard of constantly challenging myself to be better every day than I was yesterday.
‘I’m not here to live up to anyone’s standard. I’m not here to be understood, and I’m not here to be liked, and that is vital in my rebellion.
‘I’m here to be me. That is my right. I’m not here to fit in with a uniform design of what women are supposed to be’.
Jameela Jamil gushed over Meghan Markle’s bond with ‘ally’ Prince Harry and hailed the Duchess as ‘kind and normal’ during an appearance on her podcast Archetypes
In the episode, Jameela compared her relationship with James Blake to Meghan’s marriage to Prince Harry (pictured, the couple together)
Jamil – who is known for her ‘woke’ opinions – is believed to have traveled to the Sussex’s sprawling nine-bedroom and 16-bathroom mansion (pictured) in Montecito with her boyfriend singer-songwriter James Blake
How Jameela Jamil stood up for Meghan on Twitter when she was accused of being ‘political’ before slamming Prince Andrew
The Good Place star, 34, said the Duke of York – Prince Harry’s uncle – was the Firm’s ‘alleged resident pedo’ and claimed he was ‘besties with a sex trafficker’ in a Twitter rant (pictured)
Jamil stood up for Meghan in the past amid claims the Suits actress went against royal family rules by being political.
The former T4 star wrote: ‘I *THINK* they may be more embarrassed by their alleged resident pedo Andrew who was besties with a sex trafficker, than an American supporting women voting in her own country, and loosely referencing the importance of general democracy which is being threatened here currently.’
A Twitter user replied to Jamil’s post by saying: ‘Why does everyone wanna hate her so much?’
Jamil responded: ‘Because she’s not white. And because she’s smart, strong, opinionated, rebellious, beautiful, happy and has everything they never will. She’s a terrifying threat to patriarchy because she doesn’t fit the stereotype for women. They discredit her because they can’t kill her.’
Virginia Roberts – now known as Virginia Giuffre – says she was trafficked by pedophile financier Epstein and alleges the duke had sex with her on three separate occasions, including when she was 17.
Andrew has categorically denied he has had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Giuffre.
Meghan Markle claimed last week that ‘strong-minded women’ are branded ‘difficult’ because it is a codeword for ‘b**ch’ – and said that while ‘not everyone is going to like you, the goal can be for them to respect you’.
In her Archetypes, the Duchess of Sussex said that the ‘B-word’ is being used to ‘gaslight’ women who know what they want.
Meghan also described disliking the word ‘pushy’ and admitted moderating her behaviour to avoid being perceived that way.
Describing what people mean when they say ‘b**ch’, Meghan says: ‘What these people are implying when they use that very charged word, is that this woman, “Oh, she’s difficult”. Which is really just a euphemism or is probably not even a euphemism. It’s really a codeword for the B-word.’
And speaking about the word ‘difficult’ as a way to describe women, she added: ‘My friend said to me, there’s a certain point when you come to terms with the fact that not everyone is going to like you, the goal can’t be for everyone to like you, but the goal can be for them to respect you.’
Meghan said friends are ‘reclaiming’ and ’embracing’ the ‘B-word’ – but she herself refuses to say it on the podcast, calling it the ‘B-word’ throughout or spelling it out for listeners. She said she would never use it except when referring to a female dog.
She said: ‘I remember when I was a kid and people would say “sticks and stones may break your bones, but names will never hurt you”. Well, that was just a flat-out lie. Of course names hurt.
‘But what happens when we use that pain to fuel purpose, when the B-word is shouted with one intent, but you’re able to let it go and to remind yourself of all the other words with a ‘B’ that better describe you. Beautiful, blessed, brilliant, beguiling, blissful, bedazzling. Take your pick’.
On this week’s episode Meghan spoke to business leaders and entrepreneurs including Mellody Hobson, the chairwoman of Starbucks who was the first black woman to chair an S&P 500 company. She is married to Star Wars creator George Lucas.
The episode entitled ‘To ‘B’ or not to ‘B” also stars Victoria Jackson, the make-up mogul and a friend of Meghan. Miss Jackson is part of the Sussexes’ ‘close-knit group of friends’ in Montecito, California.
She described being ‘raped and stabbed’ by the notorious ‘pillowcase rapist’ in the 1970s.
Meghan’s new episode ‘To “B” or not to “B” is about the use of the word ‘b**ch’ and how it and other language is used to put women down
On the show Meghan speaks to business leaders and entrepreneurs including Mellody Hobson, the chairwoman of Starbucks, and her close friend Victoria Jackson, the make-up mogul
Miss Jackson went on to build a $1billion business and then moved into medical research after her daughter was diagnosed with a rare and often fatal eye condition.
Meghan has discussed a number of similar subjects with her guests on Archetypes, from what it means to be ‘a diva’ with Mariah Carey, to the myth surrounding singletons with Mindy Kaling.
She also revealed her favourite TV programme growing up was the quiz show Jeopardy! on the latest episode of her Archetypes series.