Prince Harry's girlfriend Meghan Markle has opened up about her experience being in the spotlight, saying that she never wanted to be a "lady who lunches."
In a letter for Elle UK, Meghan spoke about her time in Gihembe refugee camp in Rwanda, where she travelled as an advocate for UN Women.
The Suits actress, who has been dating Prince Harry for six months, said she received an email while in Rwanda asking her to attend the BAFTAs in London, where she would be dressed in "the fanciest of gowns" and wearing expensive jewellery.
However, Meghan said that her "heart, spirit and brain couldn't swap gears that quickly" from the work she was doing in Rwanda to "the polished glamour of an awards show."
"'No,' my heart said. And it wasn't a soft whisper; it was a lion's roar," she wrote.
"In that moment, my gut said no because while my two worlds can coexist, I've learned that being able to keep a foot in both is a delicate balance. No, they are not mutually exclusive but guiding my heart through the swinging pendulum from Hollywood fantasy to third-world reality is challenging in its own way."
The 35-year-old spoke about her upbringing in Los Angeles, where she was raised as "a global citizen with eyes open to sometimes harsh realities."
"My parents came from little so they made a choice to give a lot: buying turkeys for homeless shelters at Thanksgiving, delivering meals to people in hospices, giving spare change to those asking for it. It's what I grew up seeing, so it's what I grew up being: a young adult with a social consciousness to do what I could and speak up when I knew something was wrong."
Meghan's relationship with Prince Harry recently came to a head when Kensington Palalce released a statement saying she had been subject to "a wave of abuse and harrassment."
While Meghan did not mention the British royal or her relationship in the piece, she made it clear how she intends to use her fame, whether that be as an actress or as Prince Harry's girlfriend.
"When I gave a speech for International Women's Day, and Ban Ki-moon led the standing ovation, I thought, 'This right here is the point.'"
"To use whatever status I have as an actress to make a tangible impact. I've never wanted to be a lady who lunches; I've always wanted to be a woman who works. And this type of work is what feeds my soul. The degree to which I can do that both on and off camera is a direct perk of my job."
"With fame comes opportunity, but it also includes responsibility – to advocate and share, to focus less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings. And, if I'm lucky enough, to inspire."