NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 17: Actress Meghan Markle attends AOL Build Presents "Suits" at AOL Studios In New York on March 17, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
Brad Barket—Getty Images
March 22, 2017 10:11 AM EDT

If you don’t already know Meghan Markle from her role on Suits, you definitely know her because of her recent romance with Prince Harry. And their fondness for each other isn’t the only thing they have in common. Like her royal beau, she too has a face of freckles — and she’s opening up about her appreciation for them, along with her skin tone, in Allure‘s April issue.

“I have the most vivid memories of being seven years old and my mom picking me up from my grandmother’s house,” Markle tells Allure, in a feature celebrating the diversity of beauty alongside stars including Eva Longoria, Jessica Alba, Padma Lakshmi and more. “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,”

But the actress shares that it wasn’t until later in life that she began to examine her identity based on her skin’s color — and to this day, she’s constantly being questioned about her heritage.

“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. 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. For castings, I was labeled ‘ethnically ambiguous.’ Was I Latina? Sephardic? ‘Exotic Caucasian’?”

Which is why today, Markle celebrates not only her skin tone, but her freckles as well — a trait that she says she tries not to cover up. “Add the freckles to the mix and it created quite the conundrum. To this day, my pet peeve is when my skin tone is changed and my freckles are airbrushed out of a photo shoot.”

So for all of her ‘freckle-faced friends’ (we assume that includes Harry), she has a few words of wisdom: “I will share with you something my dad told me when I was younger: ‘A face without freckles is a night without stars.’”

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