Meghan Markle thinks she can be the new Martha Stewart

US

Meghan Markle will use the final year of her current Netflix contract to “take on” America’s most famous lifestyle queens — like Ina Garten, Martha Stewart or Joanna Gaines, sources say.

The contract Markle and Prince Harry signed with the streamer back in 2020 runs until the end of 2025, but multiple insiders told Page Six they don’t expect either side will want to renew the deal.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who lunched at Cirpriani restaurant in Beverly Hills Thursday, have one more year left on their Netflix deal — but industry insiders don’t expect either side to push to renew. London Entertainment for NY Post
The 42-year-old former actress has a year left on her Netflix deal and is going to use to become a lifestyle queen. On Thursday she headed for power lunch spot Cipriani in Beverly Hills. London Entertainment for NY Post

Sources say Harry and Meghan’s Netflix deal won’t be renewed when the contract ends next year — and that Meghan is trying to position herself as a lifestyle entrepreneur à la Joanna Gaines or Gwyneth Paltrow. 

As we’ve revealed, the couple is working on various projects with Netflix — including a film adaptation of Carley Fortune’s hit book, “Meet Me By the Lake” — and Harry has been in talks about traveling to Africa for a documentary.

Hollywood insiders now expect Markle to work on a Netflix project close to her heart: something in the same realm as her former lifestyle blog, The Tig.

“From what I understand, I think Meghan will take on Martha Stewart, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ina Garten and play them at their own game,” said one industry insider.

Sources expect Markle wants to follow in the footsteps of Martha Stewart Getty Images
Joanna Gaines found fame on HGTV and went on to launch a network and brand, Magnolia, with husband Chip. She now has her own cooking show and a Target homeware range. Jessica Attie

She is getting advice from powerful friends like Claire Waight Keller, the former Givenchy designer who created her wedding dress and with whom she had lunched Thursday at Beverly Hill power spot Ciccone, and who just signed a big deal with Uniqlo and Victoria Jackson, a QVC star and makeup entrepreneur.

Just this month, Markle was seen cooking traditional Afghan food when she visited the Southern California Welcome Project for “an evening of cooking and storytelling.” In 2018, while still a working member of the royal family, she launched a cookbook to raise funds for the victims of the tragic Grenfell blaze in London.

We’re told that the publishers of the “Together/Grenfell” cookbook had also pitched a cooking series — along the lines of the power of food bringing communities together — with Markle.

Gwyneth Paltrow has turned Goop into a brand valued at around $250 million. IPA PRESS/bauergriffinonline.com

“This would not surprise me,” a Hollywood source said of Markle wanting her own lifestyle empire. But, the source added, “She would have to be relatable and natural, the way Drew Barrymore is,  it can’t feel contrived or like she’s acting.”

An expert said that, while Markle might want to turn herself into a lifestyle guru in the vein of Stewart or Joanna Gaines — who heads up the $50 million Magnolia brand with her husband, Chip — that would inevitably require letting viewers into her personal life.

“The reason Martha, Joanna and Gwynet have crushed it is because they’ve let viewers into their most private spaces and shared their biggest secrets,” said Rachel Richardson, a former SnapChat exec and writer of the Highly Flammable trends newsletter.

Markle reportedly made Ina Garten’s famous Engagement Roast Chicken before Prince Harry proposed. Now, will she try to emulate Garten?

“Authenticity is key in the lifestyle arena and those that succeed tend to be willing to share their whole lives. Think about it — what do we not know about Gwenyth Paltrow?”

Added Richardson: “In ‘Harry and Meghan’ [Netflix documentary] and the Oprah interview, Megan let cameras capture some aspects of her private life. But to pull off a successful lifestyle show she’ll have to be prepared to swing the door all the way open.”

Richardson also questioned whether Markle could use her royal coat of arms, which is now prominent on the new Sussex.com website, for branding.  “But any exploitation of her title, coat of arms etc will cause friction with the palace. It’s very much frowned upon to exploit royal status for commercial gain.”

To succeed as a lifestyle guru, Markle would likely need to invite fans into her $14.5 million Montecito home. ZUMAPRESS.com

Markle has made no secret of her love of Ina Garten — who once revealed that Markle made her famous Engagement Roast Chicken recipe before Harry proposed.

Markle was also fond of posting recipes on The Tig, from beet cheesecake to spicy broccoli and hempseed stew — and dated Canadian chef Cory Vitiello before Harry.

As for the Sussex Netflix deal coming to a close, one company insider said, “Look, both Meghan and Harry and Netflix got exactly what they wanted. It was a good deal for both of them, if you look at the success of the ‘Harry & Meghan’ documentary.

“But where else does it go?”

“Harry & Meghan” was seen by 81 million households in its first three weeks in December 2022.
It was then announced as the streamer’s second-highest ranked documentary ever.

Experts wonder whether Markle might her royal coat of arms on any branding. She was given the insignia by the late Queen Elizabeth upon marrying Harry. @KensingtonRoyal/X

Netflix’s chief content officer Bela Bajaria said earlier this month: “They have a couple of unscripted things they’re working on … [And] they have a movie in development, a [scripted] series that they’re working on.”

Meanwhile, Markle last week announced she’s joining forces with Lemonada Media for a new podcast.

“Becoming a lifestyle guru offers endless opportunities to make serious money via brand deals,” said Richardson. It’s not difficult to imagine the clamor for Duchess of Sussex branded cookware, furniture, loungewear, yoga mats etc.

“Having a royal seal of approval certainly raises the stakes in terms of what she could charge for partnerships and how consumers would view the products.”

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