There was a minor uproar when Meghan Markle said that her time on Deal Or No Deal “forced [me] to be all looks and little substance” as she stood by her numbered briefcase and that she ultimately felt like she was a “bimbo” on the show. “I get it. I felt like nothing [too],” Howie Mandel told Us Weekly on Oct. 27. The show’s former host said that he “[didn’t] think she’s maligning Deal or No Deal. … I’ve never really heard anybody complain, and I don’t think Meghan is complaining. I think Meghan just said she wanted to do more. It wasn’t fulfilling for her.”
Howie, 66, empathized with Meghan over her comments about how Deal Or No Deal felt reductive and diminishing. “I get it because — I’ve never said this before — but they had this pyramid of 26 beautiful, intelligent women standing there just staring at me like I was a piece of meat,” he said. “I was in the center, just dressed up in a suit, and I felt like I am more than this. And they would just look at me, and I had to do nothing.” Like Meghan, Howie found the experience on Deal lacking. “And that’s why I’ve moved on and become a judge on America’s Got Talent. I just needed more than to be a Deal or No Deal host.”
With that said, Howie did say that the show was “a great workplace environment” and that Meghan was likely talking about “what was going on her mind” during her time on the show. “I don’t think there weren’t ever [any] complaints from any of the [other] women,” said Mandel. “And unlike most shows up until that point, the ladies had more to do. They weren’t just pointing out gifts and opening [cases], a lot of times they were mic’d, and they had their input.”
“I don’t know why there is a big hoopla,” said Howie, “except I have to say that me standing there with 26 women staring at me made me feel like a bimbo.”
Meghan made her comments during an episode of her Spotify podcast Archetypes. “I was thankful for the job, but not for how it made me feel, which was not smart,” said Markle. “I was surrounded by smart women on that stage with me, but that wasn’t the focus of why we were there. … didn’t like being forced to be all looks and little substance, and that’s how it felt for me at the time. Being reduced to this specific archetype: the word ‘bimbo.’” Meghan also alleged that a woman on the production team would tell her to “suck it in” as a way to appear skinnier.
Donna Feldman, another former “Briefcase Beauty” on Deal Or No Deal, told HollywoodLife that she “[has] to disagree with what is being said. During my time on the show, neither myself nor anybody else I worked with was ever treated as such, in my opinion. However, it’s important to note that everyone has their own experience, and I can only speak from mine.”