Rachel Meghan Markle was born on August 4, 1981 in Canoga Park, Los Angeles, California. The only child of an African-American mother, Doria Ragland (born 1956) and a white American father, Thomas Markle (born 1944), Meghan grew up in what was considered a prosperous neighborhood in Los Angeles.
Meghan’s father worked as a director of photography and lighting for Married with children, an American television sitcom that ran from 1987 to 1997. During her childhood, Meghan frequently visited television series with her father. His mother worked as a makeup artist and met Thomas when they both worked on the American soap opera General hospital. When Meghan was six, her parents divorced but both still helped raise their daughter.
Growing up in Los Angeles, Meghan attended the Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse. At the age of 11, she wrote to Procter & Gamble asking the company to gender neutralize a dish soap commercial on national television by changing the word “women” to “people.” Three months later, Meghan’s letter made a difference and the company changed the publicity.
“It was then that I realized the extent of my actions”, Meghan once said about the impact of her letter. “I had created my small level of impact by championing equality.”
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Raised as a Protestant, Meghan graduated from Immaculate Heart High School in LA, a Catholic school for girls. After high school, she attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. In her first year, she interned at the American Embassy in Buenos Aires where she considered a political career. However, she did not score high enough on the Foreign Service Officer test to go further with the US State Department. Meghan continued her education at Northwestern where she joined the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She would also spend time studying abroad in Madrid, Spain. In 2003, Meghan graduated with a bachelor’s degree, a double major in theater and international studies.
Meghan would then set foot in the door in Hollywood. She appeared on several shows and in several films early in a career that would cover both television and film.