By Megan Davies
LONDON, Aug 22 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) — Meghan Markle has made a surprise appearance at a fashion shoot for her new clothing line with the London charity Smart Works, which helps long-term unemployed women look for jobs.
The American former actress, who is married to Britain's Prince Harry, is a patron of the charity that provides high-quality interview clothes and interview training.
Earlier this year, it was revealed she would oversee a clothing line in collaboration with the charity, to be sold in British stores.
A video clip posted on the royal couple's Instagram account on Wednesday showed the 38-year-old meeting the models as they arrived for the shoot of the new workwear range — offering a sneak preview of the clothing.
Markle, who became the Duchess of Sussex when she married Prince Harry, is already widely recognised as a champion of women's equality and empowerment.
We are so excited to see this special initiative come to life, helping to equip our clients with the perfect pieces for their interviews ✨ pic.twitter.com/VZdCQagDra— Smart Works Charity (@SmartWorksHQ) August 22, 2019
A self-declared feminist who has previously campaigned for the United Nations on gender equality, she promised last year that women's rights would be a focus of her charity work as she joined Britain's royal family.
She has also won praise for her own fashion sense — People magazine named her the best dressed woman of 2018.
Women are still at a disadvantage in the workplace and a study by the Young Women's Trust this week showed that one in 10 employers would be reluctant to hire a woman who they thought might get pregnant.
Smart Works, which operates in six cities, helps women referred from prisons, care homes, homeless shelters, mental health charities, and job centres. A third of the women have been turned down from more than 50 jobs.
Markle, who starred in television legal drama Suits, has helped pick outfits for women who had just secured jobs and needed a basic wardrobe to see them through to their first paypacket.
(Reporting by Megan Davies, Editing by Tom Finn and Claire Cozens. Please credit Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)