Meghan Markle wouldn't change a thing about herself.
The Suits actress is biracial, and growing up she never felt different from anyone else until the outside world made her feel like she didn't belong. In a new feature on beauty and diversity for Allure, Markle opens up about how she experienced "colorism" growing up and explains why it made her feel prouder than ever about her skin tone.
"I have the most vivid memories of being seven years old and my mom picking me up from my grandmother's house. 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," she explains. "I remember the sense of belonging, having nothing to do with the color of my skin. It was only outside the comforts of home that the world began to challenge those ideals."
It wasn't until college that she learned there was a name for the ambiguous feelings that she had been internalizing. "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 shares. "For castings, I was labeled 'ethnically ambiguous.' Was I Latina? Sephardic? 'Exotic Caucasian'? Add the freckles to the mix and it created quite the conundrum."
All of those unclear labels ultimately made Prince Harry's girlfriend proud of her parents and who she is. She embraces her looks, so she takes a stand when a photographer or magazine wants to edit them.
"To this day, my pet peeve is when my skin tone is changed and my freckles are airbrushed out of a photo shoot," she admits. "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.'"
Consider that our new catchphrase.