How Time’s Up Cofounder Nina Shaw Is Fighting For A More Inclusive Hollywood

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As one of Hollywood’s most powerful dealmakers and a founding member of Time’s Up, talent attorney Nina Shaw is steadfast in her mission to bring equality to the entertainment industry. “We’re at a moment in time where we have to choose our sides,” she says. “And I believe I’m on the side that history will look back at and thank profusely. ” Representing some of Tinseltown’s most prominent artists of color, Shaw is clearing a path for those who have historically been underrepresented and overlooked, amplifying the power of their diverse voices along the way.

A founding partner at the firm Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano, Shaw is the negotiator behind such Hollywood heavyweights as Ava DuVernay, Lupita Nyong’o, Misty Copeland, Tracee Ellis Ross, and John Legend, to name a few. The superstar dealmaker grew up in the Bronx against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement, an upbringing that infused her law career with greater purpose, instilling in her an ongoing sense of obligation to advance opportunity for others. “It was very difficult to grow up in that time and not feel a great debt to all of the people who were risking their lives to advance your civil liberties, Shaw explains. “To not feel that you owed a debt to society was to be an anomaly.”

Shaw doesn’t tiptoe around what it takes to broker the big deals she knows her roster of A-list clients deserve. “My default is always reasonableness,” she says. “But if you don’t want to do that with me, I will fight you to the ends of the earth.” The upside of her hard-won battles, Shaw believes, extends far beyond the careers of her clients and translates into a win-win for the industry as a whole. “I’m helping to relieve people of a false narrative, of things they believe that aren’t true, but are much more a function of their lack of exposure and their cultural bias,” she explains. “When I can make someone see that a particular performer is someone who they should value in a certain way and pay in a certain way, I’m able to do so often by explaining why that person’s experience is something that you may not understand, but it is valuable. And if I can make you understand it, I can help you to do a better job.”

Last January, Shaw joined forces with a collection of over 300 power players across the entertainment industry to launch Time’s Up, a movement dedicated to combating sexual harassment and workplace inequality. For Shaw, whose tireless commitment to diversity and equal rights has spanned the entirety of her career?, her involvement in the movement was a natural evolution of her life’s work. “It never occurred to me not be involved,” she says. One year later, the Hollywood-born initiative has now come to encompass and represent all aspects of workplace gender-parity, but the journey toward achieving meaningful progress remains ongoing. Shaw stresses the importance of empowering individuals across race, class and community as being crucial to the organization’s future efforts. “I believe that we will only succeed if we are truly intersectional,” she says. “The voices of other women of color and the voices of people across the gender spectrum and in the queer community are all important voices to be part of this.”

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

From Special Olympian To High Fashion Model, Chelsea Werner Defies All Down Syndrome Stereotypes

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While endorsement deals are one in a million for most professional athletes, very few Olympians swap sport for the sartorial.

There is, of course, the exceptions and two-time defending World Champion Chelsea Werner might be as good as it gets.

Chelsea was born with Down Syndrome, unable to walk until she was almost two years old and told she would always have low muscle tone, yet persevered to perform at a physical peak beyond many experts’ wildest expectations.

Surprisingly, the Special Olympian set her sights on an entirely new and unexpected challenge after her fourth US National Championships win – the hypercritical world of fashion modelling.

“I’ve been at the top the Gymnastics World for probably ten years now,” Chelsea said. “I still enjoy it but it’s not my entire life. I got some great modelling opportunities through my gymnastics and discovered I really loved it!”

At a time where inclusivity is starting to trump the unattainable body ideals that litter mass media, the career change really means something.

Models with disabilities are just as aspirational as those with fashion’s predication of unusually long legs – arguably, even more so– and giving the simple act of giving them space challenges the industry’s ‘acceptable’ discrimination.

While Chelsea doesn’t recognise the lack of diversity, her mother Lisa said: “It is slowly becoming more diverse but what they typically consider diversity is usually racial or plus size models.

“When it come to models with disabilities it’s pretty rare. A large segment of today’s population has some form of disability – they want and deserve to be represented!”

In response, Chelsea said: “I think it’s hard for all models. I’ve had a lot of challenges in my life and I never give up. I have a lot of people rooting for me and a good team behind me.

“I’m a very positive person and don’t see things as limitations. I’m pretty stubborn and work very hard. The way my parents raised me really made me feel good about myself.”

In a world where most struggle for a slice of success, her work ethic and attitude that has already started to pay off. Since 2016, Chelsea has been on the cover of Teen Vogue, walked in New York Fashion Week and travelled around the world for big-brand campaigns.

“I have always loved being in front of the camera – that’s where I got the nickname ‘Showtime’,” she laughs. “Whenever there is a camera or an audience I am at my best. I also love the travel. My first modelling job was for H&M and I filmed it in Havana, Cuba!”

Modelling’s traditionally rigid set of ideals (super-thin, able-bodied, white, tall) is one thing, but the lack of disabled visibility across all media is another.

Without representation, it is easy to see how disabled people might assume they aren’t worth representation. That they don’t make the cut. And it the hope-gifted context of the thousands of likes and comments Chelsea receives on her active social accounts.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Octavia Spencer to Star in ‘Madam C.J. Walker’ on Netflix

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Octavia Spencer’s next project is a literal rags-to-riches story. The Oscar winner will executive produce and star in “Madam C.J. Walker,” a limited series on Netflix that tells the true story of the woman who went from washing clothes to becoming one of the very few African-American female millionaires of the early 20th century.

Ms. Walker was born in Louisiana in 1867 to two former slaves. She was orphaned at 7 and married at 14. She washed clothes for $1.50 a day, until the birth of a daughter motivated her to seek a better life.

“As I bent over the washboard and looked at my arms buried in soapsuds, I said to myself: ‘What are you going to do when you grow old and your back gets stiff? Who is going to take care of your little girl?’” she said in an interview with The New York Times in 1917.

Ms. Walker decided to enter the hair-care industry at a time when few products were geared toward black women. Around 1906 she started her own business and soon created lines of hair straighteners, hair-growth elixirs, shampoos and pomades. As she earned riches and respect in the business world — extremely rare achievements for a black woman at the time — she gave back thousands to the N.A.A.C.P., the Tuskegee Institute, churches and Y.M.C.A.s; she also delivered lectures and helped organize protests against inequality and violence toward African-Americans.

The Netflix series is based on a 2001 biography of Ms. Walker by A’Lelia Bundles, her great-great granddaughter.

The project is being spearheaded by Ms. Spencer, who won an Oscar for her role in “The Help” and has since starred in “Hidden Figures” and “The Shape of Water.” “Since making ‘Hidden Figures,’ I don’t have a problem saying to a room of male executives: ‘I need a female writer or a female director,’ or ‘I need a black voice or a Latin voice,’” she said in a Times interview in 2016.

Continue onto The New York Times to read the complete article.

Move Over, Marie Kondo: How You Can Become A Professional Organizer, Too

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January is naturally a time for getting organized — what with New Year’s resolutions and all those winter days stuck indoors. This year, Netflix’s Tidying Up With Marie Kondo has elevated decluttering to the level of cultural zeitgeist. If you got a particularly joyful thrill by watching her work her magic from the safety of your living room, you might be wondering: Could I be the next Marie Kondo?

Okay, maybe you don’t want to snatch Kondo’s crown from her sweet, perfectly coiffed head, but you really could turn your own passion for tidying up into a job. Organizing has been a legitimate, money-earning business for decades (at least!). The National Organization of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) first began 35 years ago and now counts 3,500 members in its ranks, and 98 percent of them are women.

“There are women who had successful careers in a multitude of different backgrounds in the corporate world, psychology, teaching, lawyers, doctors…but many of them made the decision to move to running their own business, because they wanted the flexibility,” Jennifer Pastore Monroy, executive director of NAPO, tells Refinery29. “But now, we’re seeing millennials who are coming in as a first career route… And I think that’s reflective of the gig economy; people are looking to make their own path.”

That path can be standard residential decluttering and organizing, or it can be something more specialized, such as helping people before and after big moves, cleaning up estates after a death, downsizing seniors, working with people with ADHD, optimizing business productivity, and even sorting through digital messes. Some organizers work solo, while others prefer to be part of a team. There are side hustlers who just do their thing on nights and weekends, and others who work six days a week. That makes it difficult to say just how much someone can expect to earn in this profession (especially because of geographical variances, too), but the pros we spoke to charge rates ranging from about $60-$150 per hour. Some entrepreneurs can earn in the mid–six figures, especially if they have people working under them.

Most of the organizers we spoke to are happy that Tidying Up is creating more awareness of their industry, and they’re not worried about an influx of new wannabes. At the moment, they say there’s still plenty of work to go around, and professional organizers are a very supportive community willing to help out newcomers. Just don’t expect the work to look like what Kondo does on TV, where she stops by, delivers her wise words, and leaves her clients to follow her rules on their own.

“It’s not a magic wand that you wave,” says Amanda Wiss, owner of Urban Clarity in New York City. “But if you can be there side-by-side with your client in the trenches, that’s the kind of support that people need. It’s like having a personal trainer.”

Continue onto Refinery29 to read the complete article.

The Best Movies Directed by Women in 2018

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Pictures of movie characters

Earlier today, the 2019 Oscar nominations were announced, and, sadly, the directing category is 100 percent male. It seems we learned nothing from the 2018 Golden Globes ceremony, when Natalie Portman called out the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for its lack of female nominees in the directing category. While the Oscars did nominate Greta Gerwig last year for Lady Bird, Portman’s call-out is indicative of Hollywood as a whole. Female directors are, by and large, ignored when it comes to awards season.

And don’t get us wrong: The 2019 Best Director nominees at the Oscars—Spike Lee, Paweł Pawlikowski, Yorgos Lanthimos, Alfonso Cuarón, and Adam McKay—are all great talents, but we find it hard to believe there wasn’t one female-directed film worthy of a nod. Actually, we know there was more than one worthy film. So we put together a list of our favorites from last year, below, to watch before the Oscars. These are all great works done by women, and they all feature complex female characters. Here’s hoping we’ll see more progress in 2020. Until then, take a look—and add these to your queue, stat.

Continue on to Glamour Magazine for more.

Taraji P. Henson to be honoured with star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame

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Taraji P. Henson will be honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

The Oscar-nominated American actress and singer, 48, is known for starring in films including The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Date Night and the 2010 remake of The Karate Kid.

Henson, who also has an extensive career in television, will be honoured in the category of motion pictures with a star on Hollywood Boulevard.

Ana Martinez, producer of the Walk Of Fame, said: “Taraji P Henson is a powerful woman and a powerful actress.  She is an entertainer that fans cannot take their eyes off of due to her great acting ability.

“We welcome her bright star on our Walk Of Fame.”

Boyz In The Hood director John Singleton and rapper Mary J Blige will speak at the ceremony, which is due to take place on January 28.

Washington DC-born Henson began her Hollywood career working as an extra in television shows before getting her big break in the 2001 comedy-drama film Baby Boy, starring alongside Tyrese Gibson.

In 2008 she starred opposite Brad Pitt in David Fincher’s The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, playing the mother of a disabled child.

Henson was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress for the role. Last year she voiced a character in Disney’s animated film Ralph Breaks The Internet and will appear in comedy What Men Want in February.

Continue onto The Independent to read the complete article.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet Mary Oliver Dies at 83

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Mary Oliver, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet whose rapturous odes to nature and animal life brought her critical acclaim and popular affection, has died. She was 83.

Bill Reichblum, Oliver’s literary executor, said she died Thursday at her home in Hobe Sound, Florida. The cause of death was lymphoma.

“Thank you, Mary Oliver, for giving so many of us words to live by,” Hillary Clinton wrote in a tweet. Ava DuVernay quoted from Oliver’s poem “Praying” and fans online shared their favorite lines.

Author of more than 15 poetry and essay collections, Oliver wrote brief, direct pieces that sang of her worship of the outdoors and disdain for greed, despoilment and other human crimes. One of her favorite adjectives was “perfect,” and rarely did she apply it to people. Her muses were owls and butterflies, frogs and geese, the changes of the seasons, the sun and the stars.

“In my outward appearance and life habits I hardly change — there’s never been a day that my friends haven’t been able to say, and at a distance, ‘There’s Oliver, still standing around in the weeds. There she is, still scribbling in her notebook,'” Oliver wrote in “Long Life,” a book of essays published in 2004.

“But, at the center: I am shaking; I am flashing like tinsel.”

Like her hero Walt Whitman, whom she would call the brother she never had, Oliver didn’t only observe mushrooms growing in a rainstorm or an owl calling from a black branch; she longed to know and become one with what she saw. She might be awed by the singing of goldfinches or, as in the poem “White Flowers,” overcome by a long nap in a field.

___

Never in my life

had I felt myself so near

that porous line

where my own body was done with

and the roots and the stems and the flowers

began

____

Her poetry books included “White Pine,” ”West Wind” and the anthology “Devotions,” which came out in 2017. She won the Pulitzer in 1984 for “American Primitive” and the National Book Award in 1992 for “New and Selected Poems.” In 1998, she received the Lannan Literary Award for lifetime achievement. Her fans ranged from fellow poets Stanley Kunitz and Rita Dove to Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush.

“Although few poets have fewer human beings in their poems than Mary Oliver, it is ironic that few poets also go so far to help us forward,” Stephen Dobyns wrote of her in The New York Times.

Oliver was a native of Maple Heights in suburban Cleveland, and endured what she called a “dysfunctional” family in part by writing poems and building huts of sticks and grass in the nearby woods. Edna St. Vincent Millay was an early influence and, while in high school, Oliver wrote to the late poet’s sister, Norma, asking if she could visit Millay’s house in Austerlitz, New York. Norma Millay agreed and Oliver ended up spending several years there, organizing Edna St. Vincent Millay’s papers. While in Austerlitz, she also met the photographer Molly Malone Cook — “I took one look and fell, hook and tumble,” Oliver later wrote — and the two were partners until Cook’s death, in 2005. Much of Oliver’s work was dedicated to Cook.

Oliver studied at Ohio State University and Vassar College, but never graduated and later scorned much of her education as “a pre-established collection of certainties.” She did teach at Case Western University and Bennington College among other schools, although much of her work drew upon her childhood and the landscape around Provincetown.

“I am not very hopeful about the Earth remaining as it was when I was a child. It’s already greatly changed. But I think when we lose the connection with the natural world, we tend to forget that we’re animals, that we need the Earth,” Oliver, who rarely spoke to the press, told Maria Shriver during a 2011 interview for Oprah Winfrey’s “O” magazine.

Continue onto the New York Times to read the complete article.

Former ABC President Channing Dungey joins Netflix

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In a move anticipated within the industry, Dungey is headed to the new home of two other former powerhouse ABCers: Shonda Rhimes and Kenya Barris.

Channing Dungey, the former head of ABC Entertainment who stepped down in November, is joining Netflix, where she will oversee original TV series alongside Cindy Holland, the company’s longtime head of originals.

The move was anticipated within the industry and reunites Dungey with two of her former showrunners, Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s AnatomyScandal) and Kenya Barris (Black-ish), both of whom decamped from ABC to Netflix earlier this year. At Netflix, Channing will also oversee other high-profile producers, such as the Obamas, who have a producing deal at the company; Jenji Kohan (Orange is the New BlackGlow) and Marti Noxon; as well half of the originals executive team. The other half will report to Holland.

Interestingly, sources told The Hollywood Reporter that Dungey, a TV veteran who had been at ABC since 2004, will also have a direct line of communication with Netflix’s content chief Ted Sarandos. Like other executives whom Netflix has poached from traditional entertainment companies, such as Scott Stuber, who heads Netflix’s original film division, Dungey brings experience working with talent and nurturing projects as the company invests more heavily in its own content–and begins to operate more like a traditional studio. In contrast, Holland was promoted to oversee originals in 2012, when Netflix first began making its own shows. She started at the company in DVD acquisitions and then took over domestic TV licensing.

Dungey’s exit from ABC came as its parent company, the Walt Disney Company, was preparing to merge with 21st Century Fox. The new arrangement would have united Dungey with her formal rival at Fox, Dana Walden, who was named in October as incoming Disney TV Studios chairman. Her departure also marked the end of a dramatic year at ABC. After green-lighting a remake of Roseanne that became one of the network’s biggest hits, Dungey swiftly fired the show’s star, Roseanne Barr, after she made a racist slur on Twitter. The show continued production as a spin-off (The Conners) without Barr, but has faired less spectacularly in the ratings. 

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

Big League Chew Is Putting A Woman On Its Package For The First Time Ever

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Big League-Chew Girl

Big League Chew Bubble Gum from your childhood is getting a makeover — the bubble gum maker is putting a woman on its packaging for the first time ever.

The news was broken on Twitter by ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell.  NowThis confirmed the news. Big League Chew Bubble Gum was founded by Rob “Nellie” Nelson, former pitcher of the Portland Mavericks. Nelson came up with the idea of shredded gum in a pouch. So he bought a gum kit and got to work. “I just followed the instructions. It was like making brownies,” he stated to CBS this morning.

Since then, it has become one of the most recognizable brands in America. The company has sold more than 800 million pouches. It’s also the #1 selling shredded bubble gum in the world. Nelson’s then teammate Jim Bouton helped fund the project. The two pitched it to Amurol, a division of Wrigley’s, and the first pouch was sold in 1980. It brought in $18 million in the first year. Big League Chew Bubble Gum has six different flavors, including original, grape, watermelon, cotton candy, sour apple, and, most recently, blue raspberry.

Until now, Big League Chew Bubble Gum has always featured male players on its pouches.

Continue on to  nowthisnews.com to read the complete article and view the video.

Raiders hire first female assistant coach in franchise history

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Like every member of Jon Gruden’s new staff, Kelsey Martinez’s first focus is coaching.

Then, every so often, the league’s only female strength and conditioning coach is approached by one of her peers; running backs coach Jemal Singleton, special teams coach Rich Bisaccia, and more.

They all want to thank Martinez for blazing a trail their own daughters can follow.

“That’s when it started to hit: ‘Oh, wow. This is a big deal,'” Martinez told Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “To be an inspiration for them is huge to me.”

It’s a rarity to see a woman in on an NFL team’s coaching staff. Recently, Kathryn Smith (Bills) and Katie Sowers (49ers) became full-time staff employees.

But the Silver and Black has a history of trailblazing NFL hires, including Art Shell as the league’s first black coach and first Tom Flores as the league’s first Hispanic coach.

Oakland is currently the only team to list a female strength and conditioning coach on their team website, though. Linebacker James Cowser said he’s thankful he gets to work with Martinez.

“It instantly becomes business, and that’s what it’s all about,” Cowser told Gehlken. “I think that’s a testament to her and who she is because she’s able to get us to switch into work mode. We don’t think about male-female whatever. It’s just business and how can we get better.”

That’s what Martinez tries to bring to the Raiders‘ practice facility every day. According to Gehlken, she’s helping offensive linemen keep pace with Gruden’s faster offense, helping Cowser and his fellow linebackers bulk up.

She’s also helping to pave the way for an underrepresented group in the league. Martinez may want to focus on coaching, but she knows she’s setting an example as well.

“Don’t create limits on yourself,” Martinez said. “There’s many excuses or whatever that can be made, but at the end of the day, what do you love to do? I was able to find what I love to do, and that’s working for Jon Gruden every day. Why limit yourself?”

Continue onto the NFL Newsroom to read the complete article.

Meghan Markle: Making Activism a Top Priority

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By Mackenna Cummings

As a young girl, Meghan Markle knew that there was no age requirement for activism. While many may recognize her as the Duchess of Sussex, a title she earned in May 2018 after marrying Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, the truth is she has been using her voice and passion to change the world for most of her life—which is why she’s the Professional WOMAN’s Magazine Wonder Woman of the year.

Long before she charmed her now-husband through her philanthropy and heart, Markle was witnessing a world around her with inequality—one that needed help—and sought out to change it. At 11 years old, when she saw a commercial for a Procter & Gamble product implying that only women are expected to do housework, she was hurt by the messaging and its implications. She decided to put her disappointment into words, in a letter directed to not only the president of Procter & Gamble but also influential women like Hillary Clinton and Gloria Allred. Her determination paid off, and soon the commercial was edited to reflect a more inclusive message. She was later interviewed on the children’s television channel Nickelodeon, where she encouraged other kids to take a stand whenever they believed something wasn’t right. The experience helped her realize the impact she could have on the world by simply speaking out about causes she cared about.

Throughout her career, Markle has made activism a top priority. She volunteered in soup kitchens in her teens and continued that service in the various cities her acting led her to. She earned bachelor’s degrees in both theater and international relations at Northwestern University, where she completed an internship with the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She was interested in politics from an early age, and while she did not pursue a career in that field, she has positively affected lives and changed minds throughout her acting career.

Markle championed for equality and gender rights as her popularity was growing for her role as Rachel Zane on the hit television show Suits. She became involved with One Young World, a charity organization that allows young leaders around the world to come together to brainstorm solutions for world problems. She learned by experience how powerful any individual can be if they choose to use their voice, and she continues to encourage young people to speak up for their beliefs, just as she did when she saw that television commercial. Markle also served the United Nations (UN) as the Women’s Advocate for Women’s Political Participation and Leadership, visiting refugee camps and meeting with women around the world who are also making positive changes in their communities.

“I’m proud to be a woman and a feminist,” she said at the UN on International Women’s Day in 2015, speaking on gender equality. Through her work, she calls for women to “see their value as leaders” and encourages men to be like her father, who encouraged her at age 11 to write a letter and take a stand. She refutes the idea that women need to “find their voices.” Instead, she reminds women that they have their voices—they only need to use them. Markle believes strongly in building the self-esteem of young women, encouraging them speak up and take on leadership roles wherever they can. Had she not had family members and others who assured her of her value and helped her fight her own insecurities, she might not have become the woman she is today. She makes it a point to do the same for other young girls, in the hopes that one day, they, too can make a difference.

In 2016, Markle became a Global Ambassador for World Vision. The campaigns she has promoted help provide clean water to those in need and bring greater awareness to the lack of education that young girls around the globe can access. She visited India and saw firsthand how the stigmas associated with menstrual cycles prevent many girls from continuing their education and even working. While in India, Markle was introduced to the Myna Mahila Foundation, an organization that empowers women by encouraging the discussion of taboo subjects, such as menstruation, and by setting up workshops to produce low-cost sanitary protection to enable girls to stay in school. In 2017, Markle wrote an article for TIME Magazine, “How Periods Affect Potential,” and she continues to support the effort. For their wedding, Prince Harry and Markle asked for donations to a handful of charities instead of presents, and the Mumbai-based Myna Mahila Foundation was the only foreign organization on the list.

With her acting career coming to an end, she has transitioned smoothly into her role as Duchess of Sussex, even taking over responsibilities dear to the Queen’s heart. Alongside her husband, Markle will take over Queen Elizabeth II’s role for the Queen’s Young Leaders Program. This program is for young leaders who are positively impacting their communities within the Commonwealth, and through it she will continue to support and encourage kids to believe in their ability to change the world. Philanthropy plays a large role in the duties of the Royal Family, and Markle’s background and experiences will certainly only add to the work being done.

According to friends, her passion for helping others and her determination to visit places and make an impact played a big role in bonding with her new husband. As a couple, they both continue to make their charity work top priority, like visiting fairs for World Aids Day, speaking out against inequality, and continuing Prince Harry’s Invictus Games, a competition for wounded servicemen and women. While Markle has left acting behind, her activism and passion for equality, it seems, is only just beginning. She plans to continue to use her voice to change the world and encourage other minorities and women to also take a stand and make a difference.