To mark her 40th birthday today (a date she shares with none other than Barack Obama) Meghan Markle has announced a new project in which she asks 40 friends to donate 40 minutes of their time to mentor women reentering the workforce following the COVID-19 pandemic — a crisis that left millions jobless and economically insecure. To help unveil the new initiative, the Duchess of Sussex harnessed the comedic talents of her friend Melissa McCarthy.
“Because I’m turning 40, I’m asking 40 friends to donate 40 minutes of their time to help mentor a woman who is mobilizing back into the workforce,” Markle told McCarthy, who had donned a busy floral frock and fascinator just for the occasion.
McCarthy’s tea-sipping, organic gardening, and comedy chops aside, it may have been Prince Harry’s special skill set that stole the show (make sure to stick around for the blooper reel in which the Duke can be seen through a window in the couple’s home, juggling like a veteran of the clowning industry).
Some VERY keen observers also pointed out another (sort of maybe) cameo – that of baby Lilibet. As Page Six noted, you can catch a glimpse of some photos on the Duchess's desk at one point. The center photo may or may not be Harry with Lilibet.
“I think if we all do it and all commit 40 minutes to some act of service, we can create a ripple effect,” explained Markle in her first appearance since giving birth to the couple’s second child, Lilibet Diana.
Markle elaborated on the mission on the Archewell website, writing that “women are also shouldering the brunt of the [COVID] crisis when it comes to unpaid labor, including schooling and caring for family members. And the latest research shows that fewer women than men will regain work as we recover from the pandemic.”
Time, says Markle, is a precious resource, which is why she’s asking her friends to donate theirs.
“I believe mentorship is one way to help women regain confidence and rebuild their economic strength, and for my birthday, I have asked 40 friends, activists, athletes, artists, and world leaders to help kickoff a global effort by contributing 40 minutes of mentorship to support women re-entering the workforce.”
Some of the boldface names participating in the project include Adele, Gloria Steinem, Stella McCartney, Amanda Gorman, and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau. McCarthy also donated her time, helping to film the new video while suggesting alternative or additional ways for Meghan to celebrate 40, including a yacht party, tea with her chickens, and a “besties” tattoo featuring Markle and (obviously) McCarthy herself.
The Duchess, however, seems keen to stick to the original 40x40 mentorship plan. Which is probably for the best.
[video_embed id='2242157']BEFORE YOU GO: Meghan and Harry working on a new animated series[/video_embed]