By Oliver Gettell
November 21, 2016 at 12:00 PM EST
George Pimentel/WireImage

Actress and activist Meghan Markle has opened up about reconciling her endeavors in both “Hollywood fantasy” and “third-world reality.”

In a new essay for Elle U.K., the Suits star writes candidly about using her celebrity to illuminate important social issues, such as child poverty and women’s rights.

“The moment Suits became successful and I realised people (especially young girls) were listening to what I had to say, I knew I needed to be saying something of value,” says Markle, who serves as global ambassador for World Vision and an advocate for U.N. Women. She also maintains a lifestyle website, The Tig, that includes pieces about self-empowerment and profiles of inspiring women.

“With fame comes opportunity, but it also includes responsibility — to advocate and share, to focus less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings,” she adds.

Markle is well acquainted with the unglamorous side of stardom. In recent weeks, for example, she has been the subject of intense media scrutiny over her budding romantic relationship with Prince Harry.

In her essay, though, she embraces the opportunities to do good that fame has afforded her. “Don’t get me wrong,” she writes, “the entertainment industry matters: it gives people an escape, a catalyst to laugh and to balance the realities of life. Plus, my gig as a working actor is the hand that feeds me. Without that, I could never be the hand that feeds another at this level.”

Read Markle’s full essay for Elle U.K.