Meghan Markle envied Paris Hilton? Apparently so — and here’s how she got over it

Two separate photos of a blond woman in dark sunglasses, left, and a brown-haired woman in a small hat
Interviewing Paris Hilton, left, presented a challenge to “Archetypes” podcast host Meghan Markle.

(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press, left; Danny Lawson / Pool via Associated Press, rightc)

Meghan Markle had to admit it: She was nervous before interviewing Paris Hilton — because she had judged Hilton ahead of their chat.

“I’ve had a judgment about her that’s based on everything I’ve seen, and I don’t like to come from a place of judgment. But I also didn’t grow up pretty,” the Duchess of Sussex said in a Variety interview published Wednesday.

“I grew up as the smart one,” she continued. “So much of what I ended up thinking about, when I thought about Paris, was envy and judgment — two of the most dangerous things.”


On her podcast, Markle wound up breaking down the “dumb blonde” and “bimbo” labels in her group chat with Hilton, standup comic Iliza Shlesinger and New Yorker journalist Clare Malone. The talk is the focus of the most recent “Archetypes” episode, which dropped Tuesday on Spotify.

Paris Hilton, businesswoman, DJ, influencer and former reality TV star, used to be tabloid fodder. After leaving the public spotlight, she’s now ready to tell her story.

Dec. 5, 2019

The duchess brought her 2006 experience as a beauty-focused “Deal or No Deal” briefcase-opener to the conversation during the podcast: It was a job that made her feel “not smart,” she said.

So how did Markle manage meeting Hilton for the interview? She apologized to the heiress and international DJ previously known for her O.G. reality show and her O.G. sex tape.

“[Y]ou hear about her trauma and her life and her buying into this persona,” the duchess told Variety. “Ultimately, I told her, ‘I’m really sorry that I judged you.’ I wanted her to be safe and comfortable. I told her I wasn’t looking for a ‘gotcha’ moment. I want a ‘got you’ moment, where we get you.”

(Hilton embarked on her own reputation refurbishment effort a couple of years ago with her YouTube documentary “This Is Paris,” which explored the abuse she and others say they endured at Provo Canyon School, a residential treatment facility for adolescents in Utah.)

Clintons. Obamas. British royals. How civic leaders became the industry’s ‘coin of the realm’ — and whether the trend is worth more than money.

Sept. 2, 2022


Markle said she decided to approach the interview in a way that humanized Hilton rather than defended her. She wanted listeners to consider that inside the caricature of Paris Hilton there was actually a human being.

“I’ve done a lot of internal work — I’m from California, it’s in the water,” Markle explained, “and whether you’re exercising or meditating, you’re sometimes asked to picture a person that makes you angry. You think about them, you get it all out, and then you’re asked to think about them as a 6-year-old child. Can you forgive them?

“That ’s how I contextually approach that.”