Meghan Markle's Hallmark Co-Star Knew She Was Destined For More Than Acting

In addition to her role as Rachel Zane on the hit show, "Suits," Meghan Markle has also starred in two Hallmark movies. The Duchess of Sussex played Amy Peterson in 2014's "When Sparks Fly," and two years later, she returned to Hallmark to portray Cass in "Dater's Handbook." This film, which was released January 30, 2016, was shot well ahead of Meghan's early dates with Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex.  But even before Meghan joined the royal family, the "Dater's Handbook" cast knew she would have a special future.

Actor Kristoffer Polaha, who played Robert, one of the film's romantic leads, spent a lot of time chatting with Meghan on the set. Polaha adores working for Hallmark, and he's noticed that there's a tremendous amount of camaraderie among people involved in their productions. During their three weeks on set, Polaha and Meghan discussed their aspirations and goals. "One of the things that she was really clear about was that she didn't want to be an actress forever," Polaha explained to My Devotional Thoughts. "She was already a part of the UN doing stuff for children, education, and women's rights in Africa."

Besides these impressive philanthropy credits, Meghan also impressed her Hallmark colleagues with her thoughtfulness. After the movie wrapped, Meghan wrote Polaha some friendly notes and gave his family presents at Christmas. When Rafaella Rabinovich, the movie's costume designer, had a birthday during the filming, the duchess and Polaha took her out to celebrate. 

People have noticed Meghan's potential since childhood

Even when she was a kid, Meghan Markle had qualities that made people pay attention. Illise Faye, Meghan's former teacher, was impressed that as a student, Meghan would advocate on behalf of her classmates. "She would stand up for what she believed in, and she was a leader among her friends," Faye explained on the True Royalty TV documentary "Meghan for President?"  

Meghan also supported causes like gender equality as a child. When she was 11, the Duchess of Sussex wrote a letter to Procter & Gamble in response to a dish soap commercial that came across as sexist. She was motivated to continue her activism when, approximately a month later, the company changed the line from "women" to "people." Meghan later recounted this experience in 2015 while serving as a UN Women's Advocate for Women's Political Participation and Leadership. 

Meghan's family also played a big role in introducing her to philanthropy as a kid. The duchess recalled seeing her parents participate by donating food to homeless shelters and giving their time to individuals in hospice care. As Meghan reached adulthood and enjoyed success as an actor, she used her good fortune as a springboard to get involved with causes close to her heart. "With fame comes opportunity, but it also includes responsibility," Meghan wrote in Elle in 2016.

Meghan still loves rom-coms, but she doesn't want to act in them

A couple years after those in-depth conversations occurred on the set of "Dater's Handbook," Meghan Markle was engaged to Prince Harry. As she was joining the royal family, Meghan announced a career change, explaining that she felt fulfilled as an actor and ready for other ventures.

Even though she's no longer acting, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, is enthusiastic about onscreen love stories. "People love love. I'm not excluded in that sentiment," she informed Variety in 2022. However, when asked if she would act in the future, Meghan replied, "I'm done. I guess never say never, but my intention is to absolutely not." Instead, she's looking for a behind-the-scenes role. In August 2023, Meghan and Prince Harry announced that their production company had optioned the love story "Meet Me at the Lake," to adapt it into a Netflix film. The book's plot has some eerie similarities to Harry and Meghan's own real-life story, which is possibly the reason they purchased the film rights.

Like Meghan, her former "Dater's Handbook" co-star Kristoffer Polaha has also expanded his career beyond acting. After seeing his pitches for films fail because they weren't based on an already-existing book, Polaha teamed up with author Anna Gomez and began writing the romance series "From Kona with Love." The actor/author's strategy is already proving successful. In 2022, film rights were purchased for "Moments Like This," Polaha and Gomez's first book in their projected five-book series.