In a personal essay published in Elle UK, American actress Meghan Markle describes how her success in entertainment allowed her to get involved in humanitarian work as a global ambassador for World Vision Canada. And it's a responsibility that she takes very seriously.
"While most become star struck by A-list actors, you'll only see me in awe of leaders effecting change," she wrote in the magazine. "Politician and diplomat Madeleine Albright, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. These are my heroes. These are my celebrities."
The Suits actress began the essay by looking back at how far she has come in her career, and yet she still yearns to make a difference. Markle attributes her altruistic spirit to her upbringing as her parents raised her to be a "global citizen."
"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," she wrote in Elle UK. "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."
In the essay, Markle recalled the time she visited the Gihembe refugee camp in Rwanda for humanitarian work and received an invitation to instead walk the red carpet at the BAFTAs. She turned down the award show offer.
"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," she wrote in Elle UK. "'No,' my heart said. And it wasn't a soft whisper; it was a lion's roar."
After her inspirational speeches on gender equality and her philanthropic work in developing countries, Markle said that she is especially proud that her actions are inspiring other people to do the same.
"These simple acts of grace are the most powerful anchor to what's important," she wrote. "And in the entertainment industry, often riddled with superfluous demands, my barometer of what is valuable is validated on these trips."
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