It's a question some famous faces in Hollywood experience: Can you follow your philanthropic passions while also experiencing the glitz and glamour of Hollywood?
In a new essay for Elle UK, Meghan Markle decided to explore the topic by sharing her own experiences in and out of the spotlight.
As it turns out, doing good and feeling good in Hollywood doesn't always come easy.
While writing the post from her Suits trailer in Toronto, Canada, Prince Harry's girlfriend recalled an event where she was heading back from Gihembe refugee camp in Rwanda. During the drive, she got an email from her manager asking whether she'd like to attend the BAFTAS where a high-end jewelry company would provide fashion, transportation and much more.
"My brain, heart and spirit couldn't shift gears that quickly, from the purpose-driven work I had been doing all week in Rwanda to the polished glamour of an awards show. 'No,' my heart said. And it wasn't a soft whisper; it was a lion's roar," she wrote. "I looked out the car window and saw a world of verdant beauty that had been riddled with genocide and unrest only 22 years ago, but had recovered with a decisive choice to overcome. The rolling fields, the goats and thump-thump of the ground as we drove – to me, it was bucolic bliss. It was love at its core."
She continued, "And in that moment, my gut said no because while my two worlds can coexist, I've learned that being able to keep a foot in both is a delicate balance. No, they are not mutually exclusive but guiding my heart through the swinging pendulum from Hollywood fantasy to third-world reality is challenging in its own way."
Meghan attributes her mindset to how she was raised by a mother who was a clinical therapist and a dad who was the "most hard-working father" she knew. Together, they raised the Hollywood star to be a "global citizen" with eyes open to sometimes harsh realities.
"My parents came from little so they made a choice to give a lot: buying turkeys for homeless shelters at Thanksgiving, delivering meals to people in hospices, giving spare change to those asking for it," Meghan wrote. "It's what I grew up seeing, so it's what I grew up being: a young adult with a social consciousness to do what I could and speak up when I knew something was wrong."
With more eyes on Meghan than ever before thanks to her new romance with Prince Harry, it's certain that the Suits star will experience a lot less privacy. At the same time, perhaps she will have an opportunity to share her charity work with more people than she could have ever imagined.
"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," Meghan wrote. "And, if I'm lucky enough, to inspire."
Read the full essay on Elle UK's website here.