Suits star Meghan Markle says there’s one question she gets asked on a regular basis. And no, it’s not about her successful show, her royal romance or even what she’s wearing — it’s “what are you?” The answer people are looking for is complicated, and Markle says she’s struggled with her biracial identity throughout her life and her career.
“To describe something as being black and white means it is clearly defined. Yet when your ethnicity is black and white, the dichotomy is not that clear,” Markle wrote in ELLE of having a caucasian father and African American mother. “In fact, it creates a grey area. Being biracial paints a blurred line that is equal parts staggering and illuminating.”
Her ethnicity made it hard to find roles, she said: “I wasn’t black enough for the black roles and I wasn’t white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn’t book a job.”
So when she auditioned for Suits, she was excited that the casting directors didn’t put her into a box. “The show’s producers weren’t looking for someone mixed, nor someone white or black for that matter. They were simply looking for Rachel. In making a choice like that, the Suits producers helped shift the way pop culture defines beauty.”
Markle has come to celebrate being biracial.”While my mixed heritage may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the fence, I have come to embrace that,” she wrote. “To say who I am, to share where I’m from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman. That when asked to choose my ethnicity in a questionnaire as in my seventh grade class, or these days to check ‘Other’, I simply say: ‘Sorry, world, this is not Lost and I am not one of The Others. I am enough exactly as I am.’
Read the full essay on ELLE.com