Meghan Markle reveals the 10 women who changed her life, from Joni Mitchell to Julia Roberts

Meghan Markle reveals the 10 women who changed her life, from Joni Mitchell to Julia Roberts

December 5, 2018

Writing for Glamour back in 2017, the Duchess of Sussex shared a very personal list of those who inspired her both in her career and personal life.

1. Dian Fossey – primatologist

Kicking off Meghan's list of inspirational women is primatologist Dian Fossey.

Reflecting on her 2015 trip to Rwanda, Meghan wrote: "I made it my mission to see the mountain gorillas protected by the Fossey Fund.

"If it wasn't for her, these animals could be extinct."

One of the most famous conservationists in history, Dian campaigned tirelessly against gorilla poaching and was murdered in her Rwanda camp in December 1985 for her wildlife protection efforts.

2. Bonnie Hammer – Chairman of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group

Crediting NBCUniversal giant Bonnie Hammer for her role in Suits as Rachel Zane, Meghan wrote: "My character in Suits wasn't written as a biracial freckled girl, but Bonnie has always been committed to colour-blind casting.

"It's one thing to have respect for your boss but it's another to have the kind of respect that comes with feeling comfortable."

The network executive of NBC has previously won a Crystal + Lucy Award for Excellence in Television by the Woman in Film organisation and was honoured by Jewish organisation B'nai B'rith for her "commitment to initiatives confronting racism and bigotry" in 2012.

3. Rosie the Riveter – WWII icon

Long before she was making powerful feminist speeches at the UN, Meghan Markle famously wrote a letter to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton calling out a "sexist" soap advertisement.

In this 2017 list of inspirational women, Meghan credits the WWII icon Rosie the Riveter for giving her the confidence to pen the powerful letter.

She wrote: "Growing up, I had a poster in my room of Rosie flexing her biceps. When I was in [primary] school, I saw this sexist commercial for dish soap.

"With Rosie's 'We can do it!' mantra in mind, I wrote a letter to Procter & Gamble, Hillary Clinton and News anchor Linda Ellerbe who sent a camera crew to see me.

"Guess what? They changed the commercial."

4. Madeline Albright – former US Secretary of State

Famous for her acting, humanitarian work and now her role as the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle was also very politically active before she married into the Royal Family.

Drawing on the American politician as one of her ultimate inspirations, Meghan wrote: "I double majored with international relationships as one of my concentrations at Northwestern University, so I've always been drawn to that world."

Praising Madeline as one of the women who "changed her life", Meghan added: "Albright was the first female secretary of state for the US, the US ambassador to the UN, an author, and a mom – and she seemingly juggled it all with finesse."

5. Joni Mitchell – musician

Folk singer Joni Mitchell is another women who topped Meghan's inspirational list.

Giving insight into her former life on Suits, Meghan wrote: "I travel so much for work, press and life that anytime I land back at LAX, Joni Mitchell's 'California' plays in my head.

"It's become this anthem of happiness for me whenever I'm feeling homesick."

6. Alice Waters – professional chef

It'll come as no surprise that self-confessed foodie Meghan has credited LA chef Alice Waters among her most inspirational women.

The Duchess confessed: "When Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse, locally grown, seasonal food was not the norm.

"So much of the way that I approach eating and cooking is because of her."

And while the American chef didn't end up catering Meghan's wedding, the former Suits actress did pay tribute to Alice through her choice of cake.

Harry and Meghan's lemon and elderflower sponger was made by East London baker Claire Ptak who originally trained with Alice Waters before opening Violet Bakery in 2010.

7. Julia Roberts – actress

As a child of the 1908s, Meghan also paid tribute to actress Julia Roberts – who she recognises as one of her biggest career inspirations.

Recalling the moment she realised she wanted to become an actress, Meghan wrote: "Julia was the first person I saw onscreen and thought, That looks like so much fun; I wanna do that."

The Duchess even refers to someone pointing out the similarity between hers and Julia Robert's profile as "the best compliment of all time".

8. Toni Morrison – The Bluest Eye author

Unsurprisingly, Pulitzer Prize winning author Toni Morrison is one of the women who Meghan believes "changed her life."

Reflecting on the "first time I read the Bluest Eye", Meghan said: "She creates this world for you that you get to feel a part of."

9. Suhani Jalota – Entrepeneur and Activist

One of the lesser known figures to make Meghan's list is entrepreneur Suhani Jalota.

The two first met at Glamour's 2016 College Women of the Year awards where Meghan said she was "incredibly moved by someone who is so eager to help change the lives of others, especially women".

Suhani is one of the founders of the Myna Mahila Foundation which produces sanitary products and employs women in poverty-stricken Mumbai.

Since meeting Meghan in 2016, Suhani brushed shoulders with royalty again when she received a Young Leader's Award from The Queen in 2017.

10. Doria Ragland – Meghan's mother

Concluding her list of inspirational women with a touching tribute to her mother, Meghan wrote: "My mom's a yoga instructor but she does social work as well and works specifically with the geriatric community."

Describing Doria as a "free spirit", Meghan describes how she has "so much fun" with her mother but still finds "so much solace in her support".

She added: "That duality coexists the same way it would in a best friend."

In even more Royal Family news, Serena Williams reveals she can't send Meghan Markle her whole clothes range anymore.

And Meghan Markle's cannabis farmer nephew Tyler Dooley reveals her brother and sister are an "embarrassment" to the family.

Plus Meghan Markle secretly attended Michelle Obama's London talk – and "held a power meeting backstage"

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