Meghan Markle learned to embrace who she was from a very young age — no matter her skin color. “I have the most vivid memories of being seven years old and my mom picking me up from my grandmother’s house. There were the three of us, a family tree in an ombre of mocha next to the caramel complexion of my mom and light-skinned, freckled me. I remember the sense of belonging, having nothing to do with the color of my skin,” the Suits star told Allure for its April issue. “It was only outside the comforts of home that the world began to challenge those ideals.”

Born to an African-American mother and Caucasian father, Markle, who began dating Prince Harry in 2016, finally identified that unease during a college course. “I took an African-American studies class at Northwestern where we explored colorism; it was the first time I could put a name to feeling too light in the black community, too mixed in the white community,” she said.

The conundrum continued after college when she began to find work as an actress. “For castings, I was labeled ‘ethnically ambiguous.’ Was I Latina? Sephardic? ‘Exotic Caucasian’? Add the freckles to the mix and it created quite the conundrum,” she wrote.

It’s those freckles, in fact, that Markle partly identifies herself with, so when they disappear in magazines and papers, she takes issue. “To this day, my pet peeve is when my skin tone is changed and my freckles are airbrushed out of a photo shoot,” Markle said. “For all my freckle-faced friends out there, I will share with you something my dad told me when I was younger: ‘A face without freckles is a night without stars.’ ”

What’s your photography pet peeve? Tell us @BritandCo!

(h/t People; photos via Nicholas Hunt/Getty)