Before marrying Prince Harry and becoming the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle was an actress in Hollywood. Starting her Tinseltown career in 1995, Markle’s appeared in various films, TV movies, and shows, most notably Suits.
But do people remember what she looked like without Prince Harry on her arm or not wearing a quirky hat? From red carpets to studio sets, here are some photos of Megan Markle during her time in Hollywood.
Her First Real Acting Job Was On General Hospital
Meghan Markle might have been in front of a professional studio camera for the first time in 1995, in the uncredited role of “Student Sitting on Stage” in the Married…With Children episode “The Undergraduate,” but her first real acting role came years later, in 2002.
That year, she landed the role of nurse Jill on one episode of the wildly popular soap opera General Hospital. It would be another two years before she would land another acting role, as Natasha in Century City.
Teresa Santos On An Episode Of Love Inc.
The 2005 show Love Inc followed the story of five matchmakers working at a dating agency led by Busy Philipps. Despite its high ratings and solid cult following, the show only lasted one season of 22 episodes. Apparently, a cult following doesn’t qualify as the immense viewership needed to keep a series afloat.
Even so, Meghan Markle was lucky enough to appear in one of those 22 episodes. In the ninth episode titled “One on One,” Markle appears as the character Teresa Santos.
Attending A Film Festival With Her Suits Co-Stars
Meghan Markle landed one of her bigger and most well-known roles in 2011, Rachel Zane, in the drama series Suits. It only took one year for her to get her footing. Then she was off and running, attending the InStyle and Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Toronto International Film Festival Party with some of her co-stars!
In this particular picture, Markle is seen standing between Gabriel Macht and Sarah Rafferty, who play Harvey Specter and Donna Paulsen, respectively, on the hit series.
Looking Like A Queen In A Silver Dress
As a growing celebrity in her own right, Meghan Markle began attending more and more awards shows when 2015 rolled around. In this particular picture, she is walking the carpet of the 12th annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards at Spring Studios in New York.
Wearing something that probably wouldn’t fly with the royal family, Markle stunned on the carpet. She wore a silver metallic dress by Misha Nonoo, complete with a deep V, statement pockets, and buttons on the long sleeves.
A 2009 Tostitos Commercial
For those who don’t remember, Meghan Markle was actually in a commercial for Tostitos chips! In 2009, she graced the screen in a short and sweet commercial that definitely had more than one viewer wanting to go out and grab a bag of Tostitos after watching.
The commercial has Markle staring at an unmarked bag of chips with a voiceover saying, “13 ingredients? That’s more people than I invited to the party…” Of course, she then goes for the Tostitos.
A Briefcase Model On Deal Or No Deal
One of Meghan Markle’s earliest on-screen roles was actually as herself. For 34 episodes between 2006 and 2007, Markle was cast on the game show Deal or No Deal as “Briefcase Model #11,” “Briefcase Mode #12,” and for a majority of her time on the show, “Briefcase Model #24.”
During an interview with Esquire, Markle spoke of her time on the show, saying, “I went from working in the U.S. Embassy in Argentina to ending up on Deal. Definitely working on Deal or No Deal was a learning experience, and it helped me to understand what I would rather be doing.”
Holly Shepard In Without A Trace
In 2009, Meghan Markle furthered her acting career, landing a role in the hit TV drama series Without a Trace. The show followed the cases brought to the Missing Persons Unit of the FBI, and people couldn’t get enough of it for seven seasons, a total of 160 episodes.
Markle was lucky to appear in one of those 160 in the episode titled “Chameleon.” In the episode, the team is searching for a missing college student only to learn that he’s an imposter with multiple identities! Markle played a character named Holly Shepard during the episode.
She Played The Role Of Wendy For Two Episodes In 90210
For two episodes, Meghan Markle stepped into the drama that revolves around and never seems to get away from the students of West Beverly Hills High in the popular soap opera 90210. For two episodes, “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore” and “The Jet Set,” Markle plays a character named Wendy.
Considering at the time, she wasn’t a big name in Hollywood by any stretch of the imagination, being cast in such a hit series was probably a huge deal for the up-and-coming actress.
Junior FBI Agent Amy Jessup In Fringe
In 2009, Meghan Markle landed a two-episode job on the sci-fi television series Fringe. Following the Fringe Division of the FBI as they use “fringe methods” to solve unexplainable occurrences surrounding a parallel universe. Hey, who wouldn’t want to be part of that show?
Well, Markle was lucky enough to land the role of Junior FBI Agent Amy Jessup for the two episodes “A New Day in the Old Town” and “Night of Desirable Objects.” In them, she helps the Fringe Division solve their crimes.
Deal Or No Deal Was No Treat
Meghan Markle credits her time on Deal or No Deal as something that made her realize what she didn’t want to do with her life. And that realization came from something very specific — standing on the steps, waiting around for someone to call her number, all while wearing horribly uncomfortable cheap heels.
During an interview with Esquire, Markle said, “I would end up standing up there forever in these terribly uncomfortable and inexpensive five-inch heels just waiting for someone to pick my number so I could go and sit down.” Yikes.
She Was A Hero On CSI: Miami
In 2010, Meghan Markle showed off her acting chops by playing a true-to-blue hero in one episode of CSI: Miami. During the episode “Backfire,” Markle plays Officer Leah Montoya. Unfortunately, for what happens to her character, she was a police officer and not a firefighter.
During the episode, Officer Montoya rushes into a burning building with no thought other than having to save the child still inside. She suffered from smoke inhalation and wound up having to be saved by the paramedics.
A Bold Cocktail Dress For A “Hot List” Party
Once again, Meghan Markle is what is called “red carpet goals..” Even though the carpet for the 2012 TV Guide Magazine’s Annual Hot List Party wasn’t actually the color red, she is still ready for any and all of the photographers lining up alongside it.
For the event, Markle wore a knee-length, form-fitting, strapless cocktail dress with a color-blocked design. The outfit was just the right amount of formal without touching into evening attire territory. She opted to forgo a necklace, favoring nothing more than a simple bracelet and black pumps.
Meghan As Megan In Remember Me
Meghan Markle was lucky enough to act alongside a big-name actor in the 2010 drama Remember Me, Robert Pattinson. Playing a bartender named Megan, Markle has spoken of her time on set with Pattinson and how she felt lucky to work alongside him for her first-ever feature film.
During an interview with The Sun, Markle said, “He’s a really lovely guy and a really great example to be able to watch someone who is young, whose stardom has really taken over his life in such a huge way, and yet he’s still gracious, humble and cool. I think that is really endearing.”
The One And Only Rachel Zane From Suits
In 2011, Meghan Markle landed what is probably her most well-known role, the character of Rachel Zane in the Drama series Suits. Starting as a paralegal and working her way up to being a big-shot lawyer, Rachel Zane was a major part of the series for a solid 108 episodes until 2018.
That year, it was announced that Markle would be leaving the series to many fans’ dismay. She was leaving to move overseas and marry Prince Harry. This series is also her last Hollywood credit as of 2021.
Annie Ortiz In Knight Rider
It might be hard to imagine, but in 2009, Megan Markle played a very different character from her typical rom-com/lawyer/FBI agent roles. That year, she played brought and tough army girl Annie Ortiz in one episode of the NBC show Knight Rider, “Fight Knight.”
During the episode, Ortiz is set on finding out the truth about her Drill Sergeant’s death. So much so that she finds herself in the criminal underground of a fight club where to uncover the truth, she needs to get into the ring.
Cass In The Dater’s Handbook
Just because she was busy working on Suits doesn’t mean Meghan Markle didn’t take advantage of other opportunities. One such opportunity came in 2016, in the form of a Hallmark Channel movie called the Dater’s Handbook. In the TV movie, Markle plays the lead role of Cass.
In the movie, Cass reads a self-help book about dating, deciding that the only way to find a guy is to change her personality (insert eye roll here). Of course, by the end, she realizes the right guy was right there the entire time.
Kirsten In Anti-Social
With a solid 25% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s safe to say the 2015 crime film Anti-Social isn’t on the top of Meghan Markle’s resume or anyone’s “must watch” list. In the film, Markle played the role of Kirsten, the lead character’s girlfriend and someone who’s totally in the dark about what her boyfriend is getting himself into.
What is he getting into, you ask? Well, Dee is a successful street artist who somehow gets roped into the criminal underground thanks to his brother, his gang, and the gang’s rivals.
Amy Peterson In When Sparks Fly
Pretty much Sweet Home Alabama without Reese Witherspoon or, you know, Alabama, the Hallmark movie When Sparks Fly otherwise has the same plot. Meghan Markle stars as Amy Peterson, a big-time city journalist who goes back home to do a story on her small town’s Fourth of July celebration.
The thing is, when she gets there, she realizes that the family, friends, and love she left behind are the exact things her life has been missing. This 2014 film is just about as Hallmark as it gets!
Mindy In Random Encounters
In 2013, Meghan Markle played a role in the TV movie Random Encounters. Marketed as a romantic comedy, Markle played the character Mindy, a party girl living in Los Angeles whose primary role was to help her best friend find love in the city.
It didn’t work out (shocking). Another shocker is that the film didn’t do too well when it came to ratings, receiving a solid 35% on Rotten Tomatoes. That being said, due to Markle’s involvement with the film, it got a lot of attention in the UK post-royal wedding.
A Studded Leather Jacket Over A Day Dress? Yes, Please!
Seriously, the Duchess of Sussex better not have donated her leather jacket collection after marrying into the royal family because she has some killer outerwear! This jacket, in particular, is given off all sorts of princess-biker-chick vibes, and Meghan Markle couldn’t look better if she tried!
Sporting the awesome jacket over an innocent white day dress and pairing that with dark eyeshadow and a lazy-day updo, Markle looks ready for whatever the 2014 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week has to throw her way.
Charlotte Boyd & Sleeping Beauty In Castle
Meghan Markle’s role in the Castle episode “Once Upon a Crime” foreshadowed a bit of the actress’s life. She plays the role of Charlotte Boyd, a normal woman who gets swept up by a murderer on a killing spree. His M.O.: dressing the people he murders as fairytale creatures.
When Castle and his team find Charlotte, she’s dressed a Sleeping Beauty, a princess. Little did everyone know, but Markle would be married to an actual Prince in a few short years and have a title of her own!
Dressed To Impress At The GQ Men Of The Year Party
Arriving at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, California, for the GQ Men Of The Year Party in 2012, Meghan Markle stunned in a burnt orange quarter-sleeve dress. Paired with a long gold necklace and gold bangle bracelets, the actress looked gorgeous and pretty much flawless on the carpet.
Opting to do big barrel curls and a bit of natural makeup with a little darker eye, Markle’s look is what everyone attending a party should aspire to accomplish.
Being An Actress Means Exclusive Sneak Peeks
One of the perks of being a television star is being invited to exclusive sneak peeks of fashion collections. That’s exactly what happened to Meghan Markle in 2014. In this photo, she’s seen on the carpet as she attends a preview of the Marchesa Voyage for ShopStyle collection.
According to Pop Sugar, the 2014 collection “is the first collaboration of its kind, born out of a shared desire between a designer brand and a shopping destination to blur the lines between runway-inspired looks and everyday style.”
Jamie, A FedEx Delivery Driver In Horrible Bosses
In 2011, Meghan Markle was lucky enough to land a minor role in what was otherwise a huge blockbuster movie, Horrible Bosses. Playing the small role of Jamie, a FedEx delivery girl, Markle was able to have a scene with one of the lead actors, Jason Sudeikis.
In the scene, Sudeikis’ character, Kurt Buckman, jokes with Jamie, saying she’s “way too cute to be just a FedEx girl.” Even though it was supposed to be a nice comment (maybe?), it’s still on the creepier side.
Meghan Markle Attended A Suits Inspired Fashion Show In 2012
The year 2012 was great for the cast of Suits. Not only was it the start of their second season, but USA Network put on a Suits Story Fashion Show in New York that year, inviting the entire cast to attend. Of course, that included Meghan Markle, the gal who played Rachel Zane for 108 episodes.
Here, she is seen alongside her co-stars, actors Rick Hoffman and Gina Torres, as they stand and clap for the models strutting their stuff down the runway in Suits-inspired high-fashion attire.
Meghan Markle During Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week In 2015
Fashion week is one of those times during the year when all of the beautiful people in Hollywood get together, wearing more of the top designs of the year. Meghan Markle was no different back in 2015. During the Peter Som fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Markle looks nothing short of gorgeous.
Wearing a stripped, quarter-sleeve black and white crop top with a high-waisted floor-length full black skirt, the actress looks like she could strut down the runway next to the supermodels!
Terry In Dysfunctional Friends
After their friend unexpectedly passes away, a group of estranged pals get back together to honor him for a weekend. But things take a turn when they all wind up staying at their deceased friend’s estate, waiting to hear what they are inheriting.
This pretty much sums up the plot of Dysfunctional Friends, the 2012 comedy-drama in which Meghan Markle plays the role of Terry. The film didn’t do great, earning 53% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Wearing Miu Miu To A Private Short Film Screening
Few people are able to pull off a fuzzy white jacket of a form-fitting skirt and shirt. Meghan Markle is one of those people. Sporting the Miu Miu jacket at the Miu Miu Women’s Tales 7th Edition Spark & Light screening in 2014, Markle looks as though she’s headlining one of the designer’s shows.
Alas, it wasn’t a fashion show Markle was heading to, but a screening of a short film commissioned by the designer, Spark & Light. Over 500 guests were invited to the private screening.
Rocking A Leather Jacket At A Charity Event
Since marrying into the royal family, Meghan Markle traded in her leather jackets for fancy hats and pastel colors. Even so, she used to rock them even on the red carpet of charity events! Here, the actress is seen outside The Isabella Blow Foundation Presentation of Fashion Blows.
According to the foundation’s website, “This charitable Foundation seeks to honour the memory of Isabella Blow, to support aspiring art and fashion students, and to facilitate further research in the fields of depression and mental health.”
The Red Carpet At ELLE’s Annual Women in Television Event
In 2014, Meghan Markle was once again stunning on the red carpet. During the ELLE’s Annual Women in Television Celebration in West Hollywood, California, the soon-to-be Duchess of Sussex wore a gorgeous blue and gold accented, knee-length dress with cap sleeves.
With a natural look and pink lip, but going a bit darker with the eye makeup, a signature look, Markle finished off her style with a sophisticated-looking updo, showcasing the dress’s stellar neckline.