“The Working Actress – Welcome to the hustle” reads the title and tagline of Meghan Markle‘s alleged old and anonymously run pre-Suits blog theworkingactress.com – a funny and inspiring insight into the world of a working, and sometimes struggling, actress hustling and working her booty off to land that big life-changing role in the ultra competitive and at times brutal la la land.
Former readers of Meghan’s blog managed to identity her as the anonymous actress over a year ago in January 2017. I only found out about it yesterday when a Twitter friend brought it to my attention (Shout out to Veronica) and said “Have fun!” – oh how well she knows me, ha! I had already seen the “MEGHAN’S OLD SECRET DIARY REVEALED” headlines throughout the day but thought the press had simply dragged up some old post of hers from The Tig, sensationalised and twisted it into something else, as usual. So I didn’t even click to find out. But when I saw V’s tweet, I knew I had to check it out, and I’m so glad I did as this has made me love and respect Meghan even more!
As a blogger myself, it’s so interesting and fun to see this slightly cheekier side of Meghan and clearly she has had a love for writing and blogging for a long time, which I think is cool – and she is good at it too! Also, you gotta respect the hustle and creativeness. Here is what I found from Meghan’s pre-fame blogging days:
“The Working Actress” launched in January 2010 on Blogger/Blogspot and then moved to WordPress, with Meghan aka WA acquiring her own domain name with the help of “patient friends” and relaunching the blog in late 2010. Following what would become Meghan’s final social media update on 10 July 2012, in which she ironically promised not to disappear again, the blog was no longer updated and eventually disappeared altogether. Not surprising as Meghan had now landed her big role as Rachel Zane on ‘Suits’ and it would become much harder to hide her identity. While most of the contents of the blog is long gone, its Twitter and Facebook pages are still up (for now) and some old posts and interviews can still be found on the interwebs.
In April 2010, just a few months in, the blog’s candidness had already garnered publicity and popularity, and The Working Actress was hailed as “the blogosphereʼs favorite anonymous actor” by InsideActing.net who asked her for an interview for their podcast. Of course she could not give away her identity by showing up or phoning in, so she graciously granted a text interview in which she e-mailed in her lengthy, insightful and honest answers. Reading this now, there are several clues as to it being Meghan. You can click here to download a PDF transcript of the interview or keep reading below:
Inside Acting Podcast: How and why did you get into acting? Is there a central story or event in your life that put you on this path? Are you from Los Angeles originally, or are you a transplant?
The Working Actress: First off, let me just thank you guys for asking me to be a part of your podcast….especially in this unconventional way [as a written interview]. It’s a weird road navigating how I’m used to doing interviews, etc as myself vs this anonymous version of myself. So seriously, thank you for being so accommodating. OK — now to the questions. I’m from LA originally, so when you’re surrounded by the industry, it’s more of the norm to get into it as a career rather than not to. And even though I did theater in high school, and always loved acting, I hated the idea of being some cliche girl from LA who just becomes an actress….because she’s pretty and liked to act. That never set well with me. So I went to college out of state, lived out of the country for a bit, had all this life experience, and came back to LA. I think in the back of my mind I always knew I would end up in the industry in some capacity, and acting was (for me) a natural start.
IAP: What has the process of starting out as an actor to getting to where you are now been like? What obstacles have you come up against time and time again? Has there been anything that’s been easier for you than you thought it would be?
WA: OK, literally I read that and started laughing. There have been countless moment of “why the hell am I doing this?” I knew going into this field that it wouldn’t be easy, but I had no idea just how emotionally taxing it was. Now granted, I was fortunate in that from the start I had a great agent (albeit at a low level agency) — but when you’re starting that doesn’t matter. You need someone to believe in you. And it’s so easy to be seduced by wanting a name brand agency or management company so you could have your resume on their fancy letterhead, but I’m telling you — it makes zero sense at the beginning of your career. If they hip pocket you, you aren’t a priority. When it comes to packaging, they’re not going to think of you. And more times than not you’re shelved. I fell into that trap a couple times, and it’s stupid. Counterproductive. It’s like the actor’s version of being a label whore with clothes. A complete waste so that you can “look the part.” Dumb, dumb, dumb.
At the end of the day I think it doesn’t matter who you’re with, so long as they have good relationships and they work for you. That’s it. Beyond representation obstacles, there have been so many more. Bitchy actresses in the waiting room, test deals gone awry, having all my scenes cut out….I mean, you name it. I’ve been there. And in the past when those things would happen, I would crumble. It seemed like such an injustice when the director, and all the producers are fighting against one asshole network exec to convince him that I’m the only one they want to carry this pilot….and the asshole wins. That to me is still crazy. But the more I work in this industry, the more I realize that it’s just part of it. It’s the politics and business of this business that are so hard to swallow. But the more educated you are about the inner workings of it, the easier it is to not take it personally.
I read a book last year called “Desperate Networks”…ugh, who is it by? I can’t remember his name. He wrote “The Late Shift” also, but I didn’t read that. “Desperate Networks” is an incredible read!! All the politics that go into network shows, up-fronts, pilot season…all of it. It made me understand my role as the actor in the big picture….it shifted my perspective. That’s a must read. And if you haven’t seen “The TV Set” then stop reading this right now, and go rent it, or Netflix it….whatever. If you haven’t been through a proper pilot season and that world of testing this will give you the most accurate view of what it’s like. And it’s f-ing hilarious. David Duchovny, Sigourney Weaver…a must must see.
What else? Oh — what has been easier than I expected? My comfort level on set. I used to get so nervous on set — how could I keep up with these seasoned professionals? How could I deliver my lines best? Or at the beginning of my career, it was more like…”how can I deliver this ONE LINE best?” And what surprised me…and it happened in the past couple years….is that I get on set and it feels like a job. A real life job. It shocked me the first day it happened. It almost made me sad. Because for the first time I didn’t have knots in my stomach and this awe over the fact that I was working. It was the first time it hit me that this is actually what I do — not what I’m trying to do, but what I do. And while I still feel grateful for everything I book, the realization that I’m a working actress was…I wish I could think of a better word, but it was weird.
IAP: In your experience, is there one thing you consistently see actors do that sabotages their career?
WA: Well I can only speak to what I see people do in the waiting room, because I don’t see what they do in the room. That’s where it’s very easy for the shit to hit the fan. Example: yapping away, asking too many questions about the scene…and by that I mean if you have legitimate questions then go for it, but you have to remember that these people have been sitting in the room all day and don’t need an actor to come in and sound all “actor-y” with these endless questions. Perhaps that doesn’t annoy all producers, but I know for a fact that many of them find it annoying. And here’s the thing — and I was gonna blog about this today, but I’ll tell you instead — 9 out of 10 times, they know if it’s your part when you walk in the door. It’s your energy, your look. Pictures they stuck on story boards, and images they dreamt about — if you are it, when you walk in the door, then just know they are hoping you don’t have a lisp or stutter. And you know what? If they love you enough, they’ll get you a speech coach. Seriously. But I digress — back to self sabotage 🙂 I notice a lot of people unfocused in the waiting room, or psyching themselves out. They’re either chatting away with other actresses, or running their lines like madwomen. Now if that’s your method, then go for it….but I think (and I say this a lot in the blog) that it’s about finding a balance. Run your lines, have a drink of water, maybe listen to your ipod if that works for you….but remember that this is your one shot in the room. Why are you gonna BS with one of your competition about some mutual Facebook friend? Save that for when you’re both done. I don’t know…that’s just me. And when I’ve been the focused one, and some other people are just chatting away, what I’ve noticed is that I book that part.
Also, at the start of your career, when you have to pre-read, it’s so important to be engaging with the CDs. They are the gatekeepers. And even if the director might love you and want to have your babies, you’re never gonna meet that guy unless you get through the CDs. So it’s important to have them in your corner. Befriend them, remember their kids’ names or dogs’ names, or the trip they mention they’re planning. All the stuff they may mention that you can ask about the next time you see them. So that you’re a person they like as well as being an actor. And ALWAYS be nice to the assistants and associates — they will end up being CDs and will remember if you were a brat, or only turned it on in the room.
IAP: Since you’ve been working in this industry, do you have any stories or experiences that stick out in your mind as a major event or turning point for you? In your experience, are there any major pitfalls actors should be on the lookout for?
WA: This is a tough one to answer because if I reveal too much you’ll start to figure out who I am. And it sucks, because I want to tell you. There have been a couple things that I booked that I JUST KNEW were about to change my career. Publicists started calling my agent, I started getting invited to more red carpets and gifting suites than ever before, but somewhere in all of that the roles didn’t pan out to be so life altering. Great experiences, took me up a few notches, but no big “tah-dah!” moment. And I think maybe that’s a good thing for me for several reasons. I have never wanted to be famous. I’ve always wanted to make a great living getting to play dress up and work with awesome people. So perhaps the pace of my career is exactly where it should be. And also, I’m really private. I loathe walking the red carpet. It makes me nervous and itchy, and I don’t know which way to look, and I just revert to this nerdy child that I once was. I hate it…I get off the carpet and have to shake it off. Sounds dramatic, but it’s really nerve racking for me. And also, I think the lines have blurred so much these days between actors and celebrities that there are some people better served for that hand on the hip posing. I don’t know. Those are the sorts of things that I know people look forward to, but I most enjoy the thrill of booking the job, and the adventure of working with new people and traveling to cool places.
I think actors should look out for a few pitfalls — getting too cocky (because an ego will be popped in our field faster than any other), gossiping on set or anywhere for that matter (this town is SMALL), being late (awful!!), having excuses (“oh I just got these pages last night,” “oh I just got over a cold.” it doesn’t matter — someone may have just gotten off of a plane, gotten into a car accident, spilled coffee all over the sides, and still booked the part. So let your agent tell them backstory if they ask….you just do your best and don’t give any disclaimers).
Also, and this one pains me to say…but it’s true more times than not. “These people are not your friends.” Ugh. I hate to say it, and I fought against it, but I think it’s true. Every time I recur on a show or work with people for a long time, it feels like camp. You make instant friends — you spend countless hours together, you text, you chat all the time, eat all your meals together, take pictures together….but as quickly as you made those friends, they are gone just as fast. This industry is transient. And while you may make some lasting friendships along the way, for the most part this is business. They can introduce you to their spouses, and buy you dinner on the production company AMEX and say, “Welcome to the family. We love you.” And the next day the powers that be can recast you, fire you, forget about you. It’s a horrible truth in this industry. And I will just say, that as much as I refuse to believe it (despite my personal experience with it), remember that at the end of the day it’s just your JOB. And your friends are the people you had before you booked it, and that will still be there after you booked it. I hate having to tell you that, but I donʼt want you to set yourself up for heartbreak.
IAP: If you could give just one piece of advice to actors — a habit or behavior, mindset, book to read, etc — what would it be?
WA: Be kind to yourself. I think that what we are doing is hands down one of the hardest things to undertake. No, we’re not coal miners, but it’s not some fluff job like people outside of our industry perceive it to be. The competition is steep, the rules change all the time, and most of the time the best actor is not the one who gets the part (because it comes down to who everyone “likes” VS who everyone thinks gave the best read). It’s so easy to beat ourselves up when we don’t book or to wonder why. But please remember that it’s a long road –but it’s do-able. I never in a million years imagined that I would be at a point where I am the “choice” or on “the list” (meaning, my agency doesn’t have to submit me because I’m on a list…I mean, really?????). It’s amazing, and it’s a testament to sticking with it even when I felt deflated. I’ve had to freeze my union memberships, borrow money, work jobs that I hated, endure being treated like shit on set, kiss actors with smelly breath, and cry for hours on end because I just didn’t think I could take it anymore. And if you can get used to this rollercoaster — of emotions, of work — then that’s half the battle. Other practical things: save your money, surround yourself with people outside of the industry, and keep up the hustle.
I hope this helps, and if you have any questions, please let me know. I’m happy to be a part of this.
Shooting a film next week — off to learn some lines. hahaha — it seriously is never ending.
Clues: She’s from LA, surrounded by the industry (her dad was a Hollywood lighting director), did theater in high school, went to college out of state (Meghan went to Northwestern), and she had a few one-line roles early on in her career (although this probably applies to most actors) – watch her appearances on General Hospital, Century City, A Lot Like Love and Remember Me.
Interesting tidbits: She never wanted to be famous and she loathes walking the red carpet.
In a November 4, 2010 blog post on The Working Actress titled “How to hitchhike on a studio lot,” Meghan/WA gives some cheeky but helpful tips on how to get yourself a ride from a friendly golf cart driver.
Less than a week later Meghan/WA recounts what should have been a relaxing day at the spa but turned out to be a rather awkward one.
The interview mentioned can still be found here.
You know the industry is insane when…
😳 Moving swiftly on…
Meghan/WA praises The Hollywood Reporter and its then new format as “The Working Actress Cheat Sheet.”
Who remembers Blackberry’s BBM? In this post WA confesses her love for the good ol’ QWERTY phone and its free international chat service, and her refusal to get an iPhone (LOL), writing “So I love my Blackberry. Don’t try to sell me on the iphone — it’s not happening. I love the Blackberry Messenger feature (free anywhere in the world!)” I too stubbornly held on to my Blackberry Bold for years, refusing to join the cool crew and scoffing at the hard-to-use touch screen and pointless features – pff! But eventually I had to accept that my caveman phone just couldn’t keep up any longer and I gave in to the iPhone and of course couldn’t believe why I had waited so long to upgrade. 🤦♀️🍏📱 Anyway, onto the post…
Announcing her new website re-launch on November 23, 2010:
Love how she said “Cheers!”
A screenshot of how the re-launched website used to look, from a former reader on Tumblr who expressed her sadness that it was no longer being updated and described Meghan/WA as “a godsend.”
THE WORKING ACTRESS OMG! wow where do I begin? I don’t know where I found this blog but like most blogs I’m sure I found it somewhere through another shared link. How many times do you get to see the behind the scenes of a person becoming a star?? From what I know she last left off in 2012 as a series regular in some hit tv show…what is the show? I don’t know. She never let us know her identity and for good reason. That way she could be completely honest. At the beginning of my adult journey through auditions I found her and she was a godsend. We went through her ups and downs and everything she sacrificed for her career. I just want to know how she ended up?
From the screenshot it looks as though the final WA post was titled “The driver” and published on July 28, 2012. You can just about make out part of the content: “The driver thing is a bizarre luxury, that as a working actor, strangely becomes” ….cliffhanger alert!
Some tweets from @WorkingActress:
Food for thought, a caption and hashtag used a lot by Meghan on her now deleted Instagram page.
“Don’t give it five minutes if you’re not gonna give it five years” sounds very familiar indeed 😉
LOL! Twitter was confusing at first.
The final tweet.
A review of the blog by Lindsay Price on theatrefolk.com, featuring a few more funny quotes from old blog posts.
“Because there’s nothing worse than inviting people over to watch you on a show, only to realize that all of your scenes have been cut out. The awkward silence of friends sitting there so sympathetically and the one brave one who asks, “Was that it?”
“I’ve been to a few table reads of late: One was at an A list actor’s house, where it was videotaped from four camera angles, we sat on thrones & drank from goblets (no, really, that was actually what we did), and when you drove up to the property the guard greeted you by name and told you to drive over the bridge and past the lake to get to the house. “
“What I didn’t know, however, is how horrible, awkward, unnatural and frankly, brutal my chemistry would be with the actor.”
Another glowing review of The Working Actress by someone who was inspired to start her own blog chronicling her acting career on theactresschronicles.co.
Aspiring actress Shanice Kamminga also interviewed WA for her own blog shanicekamminga.com. I find the text on her website hard to read so here is the interview in full:
When did you know you wanted to be an actor?
I always enjoyed acting, and was that kid who did all the plays and musicals, but I never thought I’d jump in professionally. That was stars coming into alignment.
What was your first acting job?
My first professional acting job was a big feature film for Universal. I auditioned for one line, and ended up having two scenes written in. One never made the final cut, but the realization that you never know what will happen once you’re on set hit me that day. That one line can turn into 2 scenes is not only awesome, but probable.
Who is your example or inspiration?
I am inspired by my friends who are actors. We’ve all stuck with it, and it’s finally paying off. Hollywood works in waves, so just as we were sitting by waiting for our turn, we’re now finally getting to ride the wave.
What is the best acting class in Los Angeles?
There are several. I do private coaching, and don’t take class — I haven’t for some time now. But between Ivana Chubbuck, or Margie Haber’s audition technique class (which is such a great approach), there are plenty. What’s important to realize is that being able to act well and being able to audition well are two very different things. You need to know how to nail an audition. That’s half the battle — then you have to worry about the work. But, you need to get the job first.
What is your most bizarre LA experience?
There are several, and these are the kinds of moments I share on the blog because I think it helps people understand how bizarre the industry is in general.
How do you deal with rejection?
I’ve gotten much better with it. It’s not personal, and that’s the first thing to remember but that’s often so hard to believe in the moment. Rejection, I find, is hardest when you’re not working and you want the part sooo badly. It can never become your end-all, be-all, but sometimes it feels that way. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve spent many a days, curled up in bed crying with a loaf of bread and some wine. A one woman pity party. It’s awful and ridiculous. And just as part of the lifestyle is taking care of yourself (and not sending yourself into a carb coma), it’s also working on your craft, being prepared, and accepting rejection.
What advice would you give to other actors?
If you want it (really really really want it), you must know that it will not happen overnight, but it can very well happen. Half the battle is sticking with it when everyone else is throwing in the towel. Keep up the hustle!
Clue: WA was a big wine lover.
Lance Carter aka @DailyActor reposted one of the WA’s blogs titled “My Mantra” click here to read it. Notice in the comments section, Carter responds to a reader comment back in November 2017, saying that the WA definitely was Meghan: “Yeah, it was definitely Meghan who wrote it. I think she deleted it a while ago actually.”
Andrew Wood shared this funny quote from one of WA’s blogs about traveling:
…and a customs or security person asks you the purpose of your trip, as true as it may be, never ever say, “I’m here to shoot a pilot.”
They won’t get it…
And they’ll probably arrest you…
Actinganswers.com posted an excerpt from a post titled “Things that make my blood boil.”
On a review site, the blog is described as the “Uncensored chronicles of the life of a working actress. Welcome to the hustle.”
In early 2012, not long before the updates stopped, The Actors Diet did an interview with WA all about food. Click here to read.
Clues: Well, all of it. Meghan has always had a well-developed and sophisticated palate and loves healthy foods. In fact, in August 2016 she told Good Housekeeping magazine that two of the five foods she always has in her fridge are hummus and green juice.
Phew, I think that was everything I found. There is no concrete evidence or confirmation that the WA was indeed Meghan Markle, and I have seen some reporters have reached out to Kensington Palace but they did not wish to comment. So feel free to draw your own conclusions but my humble opinion is that it was her 🙂 We already know from past interviews throughout her career, and from The Tig, that Meghan is a hard working, kind, down to earth, intelligent, smart and funny woman and for me “The Working Actress” has reiterated just that.