Meghan Markle Breaks Down ‘Toxic’ Asian Stereotypes in First New Podcast Episode Since the Queen’s Death

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

Chris Jackson/Getty Meghan Marklea

Meghan Markle’s podcast is back.

After a hiatus in releasing new episodes of Archetypes following the death of Queen Elizabeth on Sept. 8, Spotify dropped the latest edition of the Duchess of Sussex’s podcast on Tuesday.

Margaret Cho and Lisa Ling joined Meghan to break down the trope of the “Dragon Lady.” The duchess opened the episode by recalling the diversity of cultures she was exposed to while growing up in Los Angeles, explaining that “the multitude of Asian cultures was a huge part of that,” from exploring Little Tokyo on the weekends to relaxing at the Korean spa with her mother, Doria Ragland.

However, Meghan admitted that she wasn’t aware of the prejudiced stigmas many Asian women are forced to navigate until years later, pointing to the problematic portrayals often seen on the silver screen.

“Movies like Austin Powers and Kill Bill — they presented these caricatures of women of Asian descent as oversexualized or aggressive,” she said, noting that the classic films were just two of “many” examples.

“This toxic stereotyping of women of Asian descent… this doesn’t just end once the credits roll,” she continued.

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Margaret Cho and Lisa Ling

Margaret Cho and Lisa Ling

Getty (2) Margaret Cho; Lisa Ling

Welcoming Cho to break down the “dragon lady” trope, the 53-year-old actress, activist and comedian said the archetype stems from the “fantasy of Orientalism.”

“It’s similar to the femme fatale… a woman who is beautiful and deadly. Because we can’t just be beautiful. We have to have, like it has to come at a cost and it’s kind of like, evil queen adjacent. But it’s also so pinned to this idea that Asianness is an inherent threat. That our foreignness is somehow ‘gonna getcha,'” Cho said. “The mystery and the exoticism of it is part of it. And unfortunately, that trope has really stuck to film, but also to Asian-American women or Asian women.”

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Reflecting on her childhood in San Francisco, the Fire Island star said she was “raised” by TV and movies, but felt frustrated with the lack of Asian representation.

“I never saw Asian people in them, and so I never felt visible. I never felt seen anywhere. And then later, I guess, I started to go into silent films, and I started to realize, ‘Oh, this is actually like an archetype, this archetype of the Dragon Lady,’ ” she said of her experience watching early Asian-American movie stars like Anna May Wong.

Ling, 49, also spoke to the lack of representation she saw on the small screen, revealing that it was a driving force for her to go into journalism.

“To be honest with you, the reason why I pursued broadcast journalism at all was because growing up, it’s the only path that I thought was available to me. I was someone who grew up in a broken home,” the CNN host shared. “My parents were divorced when I was 7, and the television was always on in my home. It was like my favorite babysitter. And I used to have these fantasies of being part of it somehow, because I thought, if I can get on TV, maybe I will have a better life one day. But no one looked remotely like me on TV, except for Connie Chung.”

“She still is just the symbol of elegance and intelligence and, and grace. And she really allowed me to know what was possible,” Ling added. “She was the only Asian person on a national stage. And so I thought that this would be my only pathway.”

Breaking tradition with episodes past, Archetypes‘ next guest was not revealed.

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The mourning period for Queen Elizabeth’s family extended until one week after the late monarch’s funeral, which took place on Sept. 19. Since then, members of the royal family have returned to carrying out normal duties.

Three episodes of Archetypes were released before the monarch’s death, with Meghan welcoming guests Serena Williams, Mariah Carey and Mindy Kaling to debunk stereotypes about women. But Spotify confirmed the delay in new episodes by updating the podcast’s “About” section to read: “New episodes of Archetypes will be paused during the official mourning period for Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II.”

Last week, Spotify made another adjustment to announce the return date, writing: “Regularly scheduled episodes will resume Tuesday, October 4.”

Two days after the first episode dropped, Archetypes became the number one podcast in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada on Spotify’s international charts.

Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Peter Phillips arrive at the Palace of Westminster after the procession for the Lying-in State of Queen Elizabeth II on September 14, 2022 in London, England.

Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Peter Phillips arrive at the Palace of Westminster after the procession for the Lying-in State of Queen Elizabeth II on September 14, 2022 in London, England.

Phil Noble – WPA Pool/Getty Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

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Mike Tindall, who is married to Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter Zara, also hosts a podcast. In the first new episode of The Good, The Bad & The Rugby following the monarch’s death, he admitted that he had “regrets.”

“I also have loads of regrets about not asking her so many more things,” Mike said, recalling “having nervousness when you get that lucky seat of being sat next to her.”

“What would you ask her now if you could?” co-host Alex Payne asked.

“Just going back through history and everything she’s possibly seen — 15 prime ministers, I don’t know how many presidents. To go through everything,” Mike reflected. Alluding to the incredible pressure of the royal role, which the Queen performed for 70 years, he added, “When she’s meeting dictators, she has to stay neutral, she has to perform her duty.”

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