Here are the things Meghan Markle has done, hasn’t done, or plans to do: a $24 million Spotify deal, a $100 million Netflix deal, an animated show about a girl traveling through history that Netflix Cancelled, a company that oversees her Spotify and Netflix deals and has its own non-profit wing, a podcast, a documentary about her and Harry’s love story, guttural moans (more on that in a second), a move across the pond and a “new life from scratch”.
If you see smoke rising over Los Angeles, don’t worry. It’s not the wildfires that are raging, it’s Meghan and Harry’s content factory north of the town of Montecito that’s producing content. In a new profile of The cupwriter Allison P. Davis tackles, among other things, this content that Markle has embarked on creating. One of the “other things” Davis was forced to grapple with was Markle apparently telling him how to do his job:
(At one point in our conversation, instead of answering a question, she will suggest how I might transcribe the noises she makes: “She makes these guttural sounds, and I can’t really express how she feels about that. moment because she has no word for it, she just moans”).
I had to read it several times to fully understand it. To clarify: Markle, former Duchess of Sussex, current resident of Montecito, Calif., knowingly did puzzled hoarse mouth sounds and offered them as a sort of meta-song of introspection into his inner world. (I can’t thank Davis enough for including that detail.)
Markle’s suggestion amounts to entering a mirror room located in the Post-Profile wing of New Media. Although I have never been featured by any media (vanity loungemy schedule is open), I’m sure it’s a mental tussle between being yourself and performing a version of yourself. Still, I think it’s probably best to let the profiler do its thing. Imagining yourself being interviewed on Oprah’s couch is a normal stage of brain and personality development, but for someone who’s famous has been interviewed by Oprah, he feels naive to publicly indulge in this performance.
Aside from this brief and paradoxically honest contortion of self-perception, none of Markle’s other promising content projects seem to leave an explicit mark. It’s content for content’s sake. ArchetypesMarkle’s new podcast, Goals to “investigate, dissect and subvert the tables that attempt to hold women back”. But Olivia Petter, in a review for the Independent, abstract perfectly, writing that although the project was “promoted as a subversive feminist podcast”, it “appears, so far, to be nothing more than an exercise in navel-gazing”. Podcast content, plus Markle projects references in the To cut profile, all feel empty.
Few years ago, Markle and Harry’s efforts probably would have carried more weight. But describing the thesis of his personal romance as “love wins,” or discuss the balance between motherhood and career, are trademarks of, such as Davis
writes, a “millennial woman whose feminism was forged in the era of girlboss.” We have long matured to talk about how companies don’t know how to market women and whether love prevails or not. We understood. It’s not 2013 anymore.
To be fair, the blandness of Meghan’s content could very well come from the very real trauma she knew British tabloids. Every aspect of his life has been skewered by this country’s uniquely racist and horrible gossip press. It’s vicious enough to make anyone, let alone a divorced black American woman who got married in the rfaithfulfamily, have suicidal thoughts, like Markle did. It is certainly perverse enough to make someone think seriously about the information they share publicly, knowing that it will be twisted and used against them. So Markle’s kind of vapid feminist content makes a lot more sense when you consider that it’s been filtered through the layers of protective barriers she was forced to build to literally keep herself alive.
The dilemma then is how to lower these barriers to allow any authentic side of herself to get out? Right now, this pivot to content creation and storytelling has all the punch distilled out of it, sso much so that the public is simply not satisfied. I don’t think she has to reveal all of her messy family dramas or in-laws to tell a more authentic version of her story, but what she’s posting right now isn’t enough. Perhaps the answer takes time to replay a public version of itself. This may actually be what’s going on behind all the reported production delays. But the mediocre and outdated feminist content only adds empty air to where her tiara once rested.