Since launching her Archetypes podcast on Spotify in August, Meghan Markle has shared gripping testimonies about her personal life. The series has been an insightful one, especially when she hones in on dealing with harmful stereotypes typically placed on women. In the podcast’s Oct. 18 episode, Markle sat down with guest Paris Hilton to discuss the bimbo stereotype, and how she resonated with that label during her time on Deal or No Deal.
At the start of the episode, Markle shared that she recently thought about her experience on the game show after channel-surfing on TV. While doing so, she came across Deal or No Deal, and the title alone “brought back a lot of memories” for her. IYDK, Markle appeared on the show’s second season as a briefcase model in 2006.
According to her, she went on the game show to further her acting career while also juggling an internship in college. She recalled that while on the show, she couldn’t help but notice how differently she was portrayed on the screen.
“I was on set at Deal or No Deal and thinking back to my time working as an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Argentina in Buenos Aires and being in the motorcade with the security of treasury at the time and being valued specifically for my brain,” Markle said. “Here, I was being valued for something quite the opposite.”
Markle said that before tapings of Deal or No Deal, the models would line up to get their lashes, bra paddings, and extensions retouched. The women were also given weekly spray tan vouchers, which Markle dubbed as the show’s “cookie-cutter idea” of what the models should look like. “It was solely about beauty — and not necessarily about brains,” she said.
She then reflected on the moment when a backstage staffer commented on her body. “There was a woman who ran the show and she'd be there backstage, and I can still hear her. She couldn’t properly pronounce my last name at the time and I knew who she was talking to because she’d go, ‘Markle, suck it in! Markle, suck it in!’,” she said.
Though she was grateful the opportunity helped her pay the bills, the Duchess of Sussex eventually quit the show. She then moved on to USA Network’s Suits in 2011, where she stayed for seven years before marrying Prince Harry.
“I was thankful for the job, but not for how it made me feel, which was not smart. And by the way, I was surrounded by smart women on that stage with me, but that wasn't the focus of why we were there,” she said. “I didn't like being forced to be all looks and little substance, and that's how it felt for me at the time — being reduced to this specific archetype.”
Later in the episode, Hilton explained how Markle’s experience somewhat mirrors her own. While talking about the “dumb blonde” stereotype, Hilton said that misconception stuck with her during the majority of her career. She also revealed that while on her and Nicole Richie’s reality show, The Simple Life, producers somewhat casted her under the label, even though she’s the exact opposite of the stereotype in real life.
“Like it was, like, cute to be, like, dumb and bubbly and that kind of like, blonde thing,” Hilton explained in the episode. “Like, I look at it now and I'm like, I think it's so much cooler to be smart and intelligent, but back then, it was almost like they wanted… girls to be like that in some way.”
Listen to Markle and Hilton’s full conversation below.