“To know me is to know I love my work. It’s been a rough week watching a show I love SO much be criticized,” the fashion stylist captioned a Friday, October 21, Instagram post. “I had the privilege to design the looks for Deal or No Deal, for all of the women and, of course, @howiemandel.”
She added: “It was one of the most wonderful, challenging, highs profile gigs of my career and I loved every minute of it. Everyone on the show from my wardrobe team to the producers, the crew, hair and makeup, Howie and especially the models all worked SO very hard to make the shows the best they could be for the contestants and the fans who adored it. I have thought a lot about this, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Cerchione’s comments come days after the Duchess of Sussex, 41, publicly dissed her appearance as a briefcase model on the game show.
“Now, my experience on the show – which included holding said briefcase on stage, alongside 25 other women doing the same – was … for me, fascinating,” Meghan recalled on the Tuesday, October 18, episode of her “Archetypes” podcast, noting she felt reduced to a bimbo. “There were times when I was on set at Deal or No Deal and thinking back to my time working as an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Argentina, in Buenos Aires … and being in the motorcade with the Secretary of Treasury at the time and being valued specifically for my brain. Here I was being valued for something quite the opposite.”
She continued: “There were different stations for having your lashes put on or extensions put in or the padding in your bra. … When I look back at that time, I’ll never forget this one detail. There was a woman who ran the show and she’d be there backstage, and I can still hear her … she’d go, ‘Markle, suck it in! Markle, suck it in!’”
While the Suits alum gushed about the “smart women” on the stage with her, she ultimately felt objectified for her looks. “I would end up leaving with this pit in my stomach knowing that I was so much more than what was being objectified on the stage,” Meghan told guest Paris Hilton.
“I think she’s a duchess because of me,” former Deal or No Deal host Howie Mandel exclusively told Us Weekly in May 2018, joking about his experience with Meghan. “It is kind of crazy, but I find that once you work with me, the sky’s the limit. I think because I’m a happily married, taken man. So if you can’t have Howie, what’s the next best thing? [Prince] Harry.”
While the Northwestern University grad has since moved on from her game show tenure, other series alums remember their experience fondly.
“Deal or No Deal never treated us like bimbos. We got so many opportunities because of that show,” Claudia Jordan wrote via Instagram on Tuesday, disputing Meghan’s claims. “If you just show up and don’t engage then you’ll just get your check and not get much out of it but if you show up and seize your moments then there’s no limits to what you can do with the opportunity.”
While the Real Housewives of Atlanta alum, 49, noted she did not want to “attack” her former costar, she intended to set the record straight on the “misunderstanding” about the show’s climate.
Cerchione, for her part, also felt “lucky” to be a part of such a “special” TV family. “There was a mission at work to do the best we could, take care of our full team and treat everyone with the respect they earned and deserved,” she gushed via Instagram on Friday. “The women gained such uh-mazing opportunities! … I’m proud to have been a part of the show and the Deal or No Deal Family and always will be 💖.”