How Ellen DeGeneres Convinced Meghan Markle to Adopt a Dog + More Facts From Our May 2016 Cover Star

You asked, and Meghan answered. Read on for more surprising facts straight from our interview with actress Meghan Markle

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On filming in Toronto

Best Health: What’s your favourite part about filming in Toronto?

Meghan Markle: The fans are so excited and so nice! When we first started filming season one at Bay and Adelaide, people would walk by and be like, ‘What is it? What’s it called?’ Because we weren’t even airing here yet. People had no idea. Now we have police and security and people crowd around and it’s crazy. It’s really nice how Toronto has embraced us. There’s this really sweet pride that comes from knowing we are embracing the city. I love how excited people are and of course it’s Canada so they’re still so polite.

Here are the healthiest and most fun things to do in Toronto.

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On strong female characters

BH: What’s been your favourite Rachel story line on Suits?

MM: I personally love watching Rachel’s career aspirations, with her going to law school and all that. Also, the development Rachel and Donna’s friendship. Off camera, Sarah [Rafferty] and I are so close and you can see how [the writers] have woven that into the story line. You see our banter with each other. I love that. I love anything that’s showing strong female relationships that aren’t competitive. I think it’s really important to have that on television. And I love that [Sarah and I] are able to do that together because it reflects real life.

The secret to making friends and keeping them for life is a surprising one.

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On Louis Litt

BH: Other than Rachel, who is your favourite character on Suits?

MM: Louis Litt! He’s one of the best characters on television. It’s so well written. Rick [Hoffman] is so good at bringing him to life. (Outside of Sarah, he’s the other person that I’m closest with on the cast.) It’s just multi-layered. You love to hate him and then your heart goes out to him. I think what he’s done is craft a character – they’ve written it this way for him, but what he’s done is brought it to life where once you start to follow and understand Louis Litt’s story, he’s made it so simple to be empathetic where even when you know he’s being nasty or divisive, it’s coming from all this deep rooted sadness or insecurity. He’s really humanized that character and it’s awesome to watch. I’m really proud of him.

Speaking of characters, reading a good book has some unexpected health benefits – and you will be more likeable too.

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On her rescue dogs

BH: You have two rescue dogs. Do you know what breed they are? And what are their names?

MM: Well Bogart is possibly a Lab/Shepherd mix. I’m not entirely sure. When I got him… it’s a funny story. He’s my first dog ever. I didn’t grow up with dogs. I was in LA and I went to this dog rescue [shelter] and they had gotten him and his brother. They found them in an alley in this neighbourhood called Downey at five weeks old. So I saw him and I was sitting there with him and then Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi walk in. Now, I don’t now her, but Ellen goes ‘Is that your dog?’ And I said, ‘No,’ and she’s like, ‘You have to take that dog.’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m deciding.’ And she’s like, ‘Rescue the dog!’ It’s sort of like if Oprah tells you to do something. I’m sitting there holding him and she’s like ‘Have you thought of a name for him yet?’ And I said, ‘Well, I think I’d name him Bogart,’ and she’s like ‘You’re taking the dog home.’ And she walks outside to get into her car but instead of getting in she turns around and comes and taps on the window glass and she yells ‘Take the dog!’ And so I brought him home. Because Ellen told me to.

Bogs is about three years old now and I started to see that he loves the company of people, but just like I love the company of dogs, I don’t want to be around solely dogs all day long so I realized he might like to have a companion. A little over a year ago I looked for a small dog to be his buddy. [He was driven] up from Kentucky where they had found him in the woods. I was waiting in Milton [Ontario] for him to be driven up and his paper work from the pound just said ‘The little guy,’ and I tried [some names] but he wasn’t responding to anything so I said ‘ “Little guy’ and I think he was so used to people calling him it that he responded, so I said ‘You’re name will now be Guy.’ I have Bogart and Guy. Guy is a Beagle and 17 pounds. He’s probably about four- or five-years-old based on his teeth. They are thick as thieves those two.

Here is a little factoid worth knowing: How dogs are trained to detect cancer.

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On her passion project

BH: If you weren’t acting, what else would you love to do?

MM: Some of the things I’m doing to a certain extent. I started The Tig because I wanted to be writing more. My job is to say someone else’s lines believably for a living, so I suddenly had an outlet to say my own words. I did it because it was a passion project. Now it’s become like another job. [Markle closed the site amid rumours when she and Prince Harry first started dating.]

I also love cooking and I love food so much, along with travel so to say I wish I could do a food and travel show at some point – but that could happen. Other than that, of course I still love politics and social issues but that’s still part of what I’m doing. So I feel really grateful that – even though it requires a lot of juggling – if there’s anything in your life that you wish you were doing, do it! In some capacity you really can. It doesn’t mean you’re doing it full time but if it’s important to you I think you find a way to fold it into your life. It’s part of creating the balance but it’s also, for myself at least, finding my happiness. It can’t just come from one place; it has to feed you from a lot of different places.

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On female empowerment

BH: Do you have a favourite post on The Tig?

MM: The think pieces that I write. It’s validating to see that those are the ones that get the most engagement. I’ve done interviews with friends and high-profile people but at the end of the day it’s just the ones that I’m personally writing about dreaming bigger or self-esteem and empowerment. Those are also the posts that have made organizations reach out to me, like UN Women and like Dove with the Self-Esteem project. Those opportunities were all from the posts that I wrote on The Tig.

I repurposed something that I wrote for Elle UK on The Tig called “More Than An Other” about bi-racial identity and finding my path in the industry and I was really happy with that one, but I think the one that sort of kicked it all off was this post called “Birthday Suit,” which I wrote on my 33rd birthday. [It’s about] knowing that you’re enough and your sense of self-worth and it’s a really simple piece about where I was at that point in my life and I’m really glad that people get something out of it too.

Meghan also spoke out about period stigma. Read all about it!

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On her celebrity crush

BH: Who is your male and female celebrity crush?

MM: You’re going to laugh at who my male celebrity crush is but I’ll never let it go. I love Dennis Quaid! It’s so random. Something to Talk About! I’m from LA, so I was around actors all the time, and people in the industry. I can intellectualize them as celebrities but I truly don’t see them that way. My cast-mate Gina [Torres] is married to Laurence Fishburne. These are just people that are around all the time. At the end of the day, we’re all just people. As for my girl crush… Madeleine Albright. She learned German on bed rest, how impressive is that!? That’s girl crush material.

Find out more about Meghan Markle in this cover story feature.

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On travel

BH: Favourite city to visit and why?

MM: LA because I’m homesick and my family is there. Outside of that, I love Jamaica. I’ve been going there with my mom since I was 13.  I just love how relaxed the vibe is.

And I think Barcelona is one of the best cities in the world. I also love Buenos Aires. I used to work for the US Embassy there. I was there for about six months during what would have been my senior year of university. I had finished my credits early so I went there to work as an intern and then I moved to Madrid shortly after that.

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