Who will be Meghan’s power 40? Duchess names first 12 celebrity mentors including Adele, poet Amanda Gorman, Justin Trudeau’s wife Sophie and fashion designer Stella McCartney – but still has 28 more to identify

  • Meghan Markle has asked 40 activists, artists and world leaders to participate in her 40th birthday initiative 
  • Aim is to encourage people to commit to giving 40 minutes of time to support women going back to work
  • Among the well-known names involved are Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, Melissa McCarthy and Katie Couric
  • Others are Nobel peace prize nominee Amanda Nguyen, author Deepak Chopra and activist Dr Ibram X Kendi

Twelve activists, artists and world leaders have been named to help the Duchess of Sussex launch her 40×40 project, including singer Adele, TV anchor Katie Couric, designer Stella McCartney and poet Amanda Gorman.

Meghan Markle has asked 40 celebrities to participate in her 40th birthday initiative which aims to encourage people around the world to commit to giving 40 minutes of their time to support women going back to work.

Also among the well-known figures who have agreed to contribute 40 minutes of mentorship to women re-entering the workforce is Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Hollywood actress Melissa McCarthy is also involved after helping Meghan announce the project in a video today. Asked if she would be involved, McCarthy said: ‘Yes, times 40. Forty, 40, 40, and then 40 times, I say yes.’ 

Others who will be taking part in the 40×40 project are Nobel peace prize nominee Amanda Nguyen, author Deepak Chopra, professor and anti-racism activist Dr Ibram X Kendi and feminist journalist Gloria Marie Steinem.


Singer Adele (left) and TV anchor Katie Couric (right) are among the 12 stars announced so far as part of the 40×40 project

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is also involved in the new 40×40 initiative


Fashion designer Stella McCartney (left) and poet Amanda Gorman (right), the US National Youth Poet Laureate, are involved

Hollywood actress Melissa McCarthy is also involved after helping Meghan announce the project in a video today (pictured) 

Also involved are chef José Andrés, who is the founder of World Central Kitchen, and pediatrician Dr Nadine Burke Harris, who is the Surgeon General of California, where Prince Harry and Meghan live in an £11million mansion.

There are 28 further celebrities on the list who have not yet been revealed. One of them could be Edward Enninful, British Vogue editor in chief, who posted the 40×40 logo on his Instagram account this afternoon.

Which 12 celebrities are involved in 40×40 so far? 

  • Adele
  • Amanda Gorman
  • Amanda Nguyen
  • Deepak Chopra
  • Dr Ibram X Kendi
  • Gloria Steinem
  • Katie Couric 
  • José Andrés 
  • Melissa McCarthy 
  • Dr Nadine Burke Harris
  • Sophie Grégoire Trudeau
  • Stella McCartney 

Another could be Daniel Martin, a make-up artist who is the global director of artistry and education at Tatcha, and posted on Instagram today: ‘For women who give everything, we give our time. Are you in? 40×40.’

Meghan has written a statement of intent about her new initiative 40×40 on the website of her charitable foundation Archewell.

She says when reflecting on turning 40, and the many things she is ‘grateful for’, she was struck that ‘time’ is ‘among our greatest and most essential gifts’, especially ‘time spent in service to others knowing that it can contribute to incredible change’.

The duchess, who two months ago gave birth to her second child daughter Lilibet, claimed globally tens of millions of women had left the workforce during the past two years, in a large part due to the pandemic.

But many were still in unpaid roles like carers and she claimed research has shown fewer women than men will return to work as the pandemic recovery begins.

Meghan added: ‘I believe mentorship is one way to help women regain confidence and rebuild their economic strength, and for my birthday I have asked 40 friends, activists, athletes, artists and world leaders to help kick off a global effort by contributing 40 minutes of mentorship to support women re-entering the workforce.

‘With this time, I hope they each help someone advance a professional life on her own terms and I hope that they inspire countless others to give 40 minutes of their time as well.’ 

In a video shared on the Archewell website this afternoon, Meghan couldn’t stop giggling as McCarthy helped her launch her ’40×40′ campaign backed by several other famous Los Angeles-based friends.


Nobel peace prize nominee Amanda Nguyen (left) and feminist journalist Gloria Marie Steinem (right) are involved in 40×40


Author Deepak Chopra (left) and professor and anti-racism activist Dr Ibram X Kendi (right) will give their time to the scheme


Also involved are chef José Andrés (left) the founder of World Central Kitchen, and pediatrician Dr Nadine Burke Harris (right)

In between fits of giggles with Melissa, Meghan, seen for the first time since the birth of Lilibet two months ago, said she wants people around the world to commit to giving 40 minutes of their time to support women. 

At the start of a Zoom-style call in her spotless LA mansion, Meghan told Melissa McCarthy: ‘It’s my 40th birthday and I’ve got an idea. Because I’m turning 40, I’m asking 40 friends to give 40 minutes of their time to mentor a woman who is remobilising back into the workforce. 

‘Over two million women in the US alone and tens of millions around the world have lost their jobs due to Covid. And I think if we all do it, and all commit 40 minutes to an act of service, it can have a ripple effect.’

Melissa repeatedly interrupts Meghan with jokes about other things she could be doing to celebrate her birthday, leaning on her royal links suggesting a tea party or a bash on a yacht.

A video shared by Archewell this afternoon of the Duchess of Sussex talking about her new 40×40 global project


There are 28 further celebrities on the list who have not yet been revealed. One of them could be Edward Enninful (left), British Vogue editor in chief, who posted the 40×40 logo on his Instagram account this afternoon. Another could be Daniel Martin (right), a make-up artist, who wrote today: ‘For women who give everything, we give our time. Are you in? 40×40’

At one point the Duchess laughs when asked: ‘Are you finally going to do a Suits reunion?’, and replies: ‘Why would I do a Suits reunion for my birthday?’

But it was McCarthy who laughs the loudest at the end of the call when she spots Prince Harry juggling outside the window, much to Meghan’s surprise – although the camera was at the perfect angle to spot him.

The slick film was made in the same immaculate Montecito study where Harry filmed his recent Apple TV mental health series with Oprah, and Meghan sits at grand oak desk with a number of pictures of her husband and two children, a pile of strategically placed copies of Meghan’s children’s book The Bench.

US-born Meghan also sips from a quintessentially British cup of tea placed next to a plate of biscuits with her beloved beagle Bogart sat behind her on a luxurious grey dog cushion.

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