Meghan Markle has shared a brand new “candid” photo of herself with Vogue magazine – but it has highlighted a major problem with her latest moves.
Earlier in June, the internet was having a good time when the Elysée Palace in Paris released a series of photos of French President Emanuel Macron, taken during a telephone conversation with international leaders after the invasion of Ukraine.
Dressed in a hoodie, unshaven, with furrowed eyebrows, they show Macron hard at work, a man so determined to make the world a better place that he had no time or inclination to spend a precious moment of his own. to waste.
Twitter and others had a good laugh about how stately, contrived and a little desperate the mise-en-scene looked and back, you might assume, that hoodie went in the president’s closet.
Whatever the fate of le hoodie, those Macron shots really made it clear just how caring a very 21st-century, social media-ready piece has become.
So, how do you explain the latest image released of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, which bears a certain resemblance to those Macron shots?
This new photo, like that of the presidents, shows the 40-year-old Duchess dressed (barefoot, her usual polished designer look replaced with lots of home wear) and like the Elysee images, rendered in black and white.
Again, like the Gallic political prodigy, in this new image, instead of the Duchess’ usually perfect hair and makeup, we see her with the kind of hastily pulled back ponytail and headband combination that busy women around the world already have. know too well.
Then there’s what the former To grab star is actually doing: holding her iPhone, her famous face, a concerned study, a Macbook on her lap.
Like Macron, this Meghan photo was taken midway through a charity run, most notably while on the phone with feminist icon Gloria Steinem and award-winning journalist Jessica Yellin after the US Supreme Court reversed Roe vs Wade.
On June 26, the three women discussed the historic and horrifying verdict and on Wednesday the conversation was published for a story about the Fashion website.
Let’s start with this: Go Meghan. God damn yes! As one of the women with an exclusive membership to the One Name Club, women like Beyonce, Madonna and Oprah, here we have the Duchess of Sussex using her fame, reach and access to speak out against a decision that is terrifying people. and makes you angry. whole world.
I can’t stress this point enough – I think her absolute credit is adding her voice to the growing chorus of famous voices incensed, scared, and moved into action by the archaic Supreme Court ruling.
However, here comes the ‘but’…
The sticking point for me here isn’t Meghan weighing in on this matter, but the way she has done it.
According to the introductory paragraph of the piece, Yellin named “the two people she knew could put that seismic event into perspective.” The first? Gloria Steinem. The second? Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex’ before the piece covers the woman’s conversation.
It’s interesting to read (what you can do here) and comes in that Meghan and Steinem are working together to get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified. (Brava mark two!)
While the story offers just as much real estate to Yellin, Steinem, and the Duchess’s thoughts on the Roe decision, the only news item that appears is that photo of Meghan — one handily supplied to the magazine by the philanthropic Archewell arm of the Sussexes .
And there’s the problem.
Just to be clear, maybe Fashion Meghan only asked for her picture and didn’t make the same request to Yellin or Steinem. Its inclusion may only be at the behest of the magazine’s editors.
But no matter whose choice was the shooting of this solo photo, its presence illustrates the fact that Meghan’s caring is one that places her at the center of things with an unsettling frequency. The unfortunate result is that some of her philanthropic work can look dangerous as a PR ploy.
The portrait of the artist as a young humanitarian, if you will.
In 2019 Meghan guest-edited British Vogue and chose not to appear on the cover because, according to the magazine’s editor, Edward Enniful, she felt it would be BOASTFUL. (Don’t mind the feathers that may have upset that sentiment, as nearly every senior female member of the royal family has appeared on the cover of the fashion bible since the 1950s.)
Compare that to just over a year later, when Harry and Meghan, now California taxpayers, participated in Baby2Baby’s charity drive to distribute school supplies to underprivileged children, taking their own photographer and releasing photos to the press.
Come on Remembrance Day in 2019 and the Sussexes did the exact same thing, handy with their own snapper to take them in and make them look suitably bleak for images that were then circulated to the media.
The duo’s very first sighting on U.S. soil came when a paparazzo happened to catch the pair delivering food for Project Angel Food.
In 2021, it emerged that Meghan had become involved in the push for paid parental leave (all gold stars!). But did she do this by donating scads of the $200 million or so that she and Harry would pull for their various content deals? Has she lent her support to a campaign in the district of Senator Susan Collins or Senator Shelley Moore Capito?
No, she called the pollies herself, dropped her title, and managed to get the hairs on the backs of their necks up properly. “I was happy to talk to her,” Collins later told Politico. “But I’m more interested in what the people of Maine tell me about it.”
In late May, after 19 children and two teachers were killed by a gunman at a school in the Texas town of Uvalde, Meghan came in to pay her respects. The visit included her laying flowers at a memorial, which happened to be surrounded by press, and a visit to a blood collection center to donate food to volunteers.
The Duchess’ grief and desire to support a grieving community is not up for debate, but what are her methods.
Her arrival there no longer drew attention to the horror (the US media corps was already camped there and broadcast live and non-stop), nor did she offer any message about gun reform.
Why not just make a huge food donation? Or try to arrange BetterUp, the coaching and mental health platform Harry works for as Chief Impact Officer, to support the entire city?
There are so many ways she can make tangible differences in moments like this, but instead often seems to follow the route that puts her in the center of the frame?
In moments like this and the battle against paid parental leave, we end up getting pictures of Meghan caring rather than making the much more pragmatic and strategic choice of using her money, access, and phone book to the max, even if that doesn’t mean she’s that doesn’t. a single lonely social media like.
During her conversation with Yellin and Steinem, Meghan said: “Women are important. And this is one of the reasons I called Gloria right away. Because in everything she does, she reminds me that when you’re angry, you need to channel that energy into something that makes a difference.”
The unfortunate fact is that sometimes the best way to “make a difference” doesn’t mean becoming the star of global media attention and a nice round of applause, hoodie or not.
“Together we stand” is the famous protest slogan, not “together we get another Time cover”.
Daniela Elser is a royal pundit and writer with over 15 years experience working with a number of leading Australian media titles.
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