Before she ever met Prince Harry, Meghan Markle spent her time volunteering, acting and running her now-defunct lifestyle website.
In the book "The Game Changers: Success Secrets from Inspirational Women Changing The Game and Influencing The World," which was recently released in Australia, Markle recalled volunteering as a teen.
"I started working at a soup kitchen in Skid Row of Los Angeles when I was 13 years old, and the first day I felt really scared. I was young, and it was rough and raw down there, and though I was with a great volunteer group, I just felt overwhelmed," explained the former "Suits" star. "I remember one of my mentors (Mrs. Maria Pollia) told me that ‘life is about putting others’ needs above your own fears’. That has always stayed with me."
The 36-year-old revealed she had a moment of feeling unsafe, but it did not stop her from continuing to volunteer.
"Yes, make sure you are safe and never ever put yourself in a compromising situation, but once that is checked off the list, I think it’s really important for us to remember that someone needs us, and that your act of giving/helping/doing can truly become an act of grace once you get out of your head," Markle advised.
Markle, who starred in "Suits," for seven season before quitting acting to become a full-time royal, said she nearly didn't have a career in show business.
"I was working for the U.S. Embassy and was going down a path of foreign service. In university, I double majored in Theatre and International Relations, so I knew I loved the energy of both, but wasn’t sure where I would settle, career-wise. I was home (in Los Angeles) over the holiday one year, and a manager asked a friend for a student film I had done. She sent it to him and he called me a few days later, saying he wanted to represent me. It was a turning point because I was able to take a step back and re-evaluate what I really wanted to be doing. Plus, truth be told, I was a little homesick at the time, so staying in LA for a bit to roll the dice with an acting career seemed liked a good idea. Thank God it worked!" she said.
She said she taped five pilots of shows that didn't get picked up by networks before she got her big break with "Suits." She added in her interview for "Game Changers" the day "Suits" got the green light from USA "still remains one of the best days of my life."
Markle also raved about her website, The Tig, which she shut down once her romance with Prince Harry became news worldwide.
She called The Tig an "outlet for me personally" that she used to combat the "smoke and mirrors, of retouching and distortion" in the entertainment industry.
"I am self-sufficient and a go-getter, so often times I have to remind myself to take a moment to just breathe. My brain is always going, but at the end of the day because it is all stuff that I am passionate about, it’s easier to not feel exhausted as I squeeze it all in," she said at the time.
Markle offered her words of wisdom to her fans: "Don't give it five minutes if you’re not going to give it five years, be kind to yourself, and Rome wasn’t built in a day."
Markle's life has changed drastically since the interview took place. In November, Kensington Palace announced Markle and Prince Harry's engagement. The pair will wed on May 19. Markle retired from acting following the engagement news and revealed she will focus on royal duties full time.
Markle said in her first post-engagement interview, "I don't see it as giving anything up. I see it as a change. It's a new chapter."