Where is Monica Lewinsky now? The former White House intern, whose relationship with Bill Clinton led to the president’s impeachment, is today an activist who works to stop cyber bullying, is a public speaker, and has been a contributing writer to Vanity Fair Magazine.
She is also a co-producer of the new FX series, Impeachment: American Crime Story. She has spoken frankly about what it’s like seeing her most embarrassing moments and worst traumas showcased on television, even if it’s in a dramatized fashion. Lewinsky has rebuilt her life, rising above public infamy to help fight bullying.
“As a producer, I’m very proud of the project,” she told the TODAY Show of the FX series. “It is a dramatization, but there is an enormous amount of emotional truth.” Lewinsky was only 22 at the time of the scandal.
Monica Lewinsky was born on July 23, 1973. That makes her 48-years-old today.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Lewinsky Says She Was Able to ‘Reclaim My Narrative’ Through the FX Program
Lewinsky opened up about the FX program in a very candid fashion on TODAY. “I do not recommend your early 20s being dramatized on TV,” Lewinsky told TODAY.
“I’ve been incredibly lucky the last six or seven years to really be able to reclaim my narrative so the opportunity to have a seat at the table around that was really meaningful to me.”
She felt the vision of the show was positive, a perspective of three women on the sidelines of power at the time. “That was compelling to me,” she said.
She was asked on TODAY how much of the show was real. “It is a dramatization, but there is an enormous amount of emotional truth, and I think that’s what was really important.” She said people would be surprised when they watched it to learn some things they didn’t know happened.
She said, “Even I learned things,” saying she was surprised to learn some of the things that happened. But she insisted that she did not have “veto power” when it came to the program.
“The process was I felt heard… and listened to,” she said, but she said she did not always get her own way when it came to what was depicted.
2. Lewinsky, Who Has Had Careers Ranging from Handbag Designer to Weight Loss Pitchwoman, Said She No Longer Needs an Apology From Bill Clinton
Lewinsky was asked on TODAY whether she would want Bill Clinton to see the series and she said she didn’t know “how to answer that.” Asked if she wished she could speak to him or whether he owed her an apology, she said that there was a long period before her life changed in the past six or seven years when she “felt a lot like there was not this resolution.” She said he should want to apologize but she no longer needed it.
Indeed, she said she pushed for the producers to include the infamous thong-flashing she gave Clinton in the show. The scene was initially missing from the show. She felt that she “shouldn’t get a pass…truth and context were really missing at the beginning of 1998 and humanity.”
Since the scandal, Lewinsky has had several different careers – handbag designer, weight loss pitchwoman – before she virtually disappeared from the public stage for about a decade while she attended grad school. In the last several years, though, Lewinsky has cautiously and slowly reemerged into the public spotlight. She has stayed out of political commentary, though, and she never revealed her vote for president in the 2016 presidential election, for example.
On Twitter, Lewinsky has called herself, “social activist. public speaker. vanity fair contributor. ambassador @bystanderrev + @antibullyingpro. knitter of things without sleeves #clickwithcompassion.” Her profile has also read, “human/anti-bullying activist/speaker/@vanityfair contributor/@tedtalks giver/@resiliencefnd board member/rap song muse/former beret model. #clickwithcompassion.”
For a time, Lewinsky knitted, made handbags, and was a pitchwoman for Jenny Craig. Celebrity net worth says Monica was paid $1 million for the Jenny Craig gig and made another $500,000 with a tell-all book. The site puts her current net worth at $1.5 million. According to Celebrity net worth, Monica’s family is “well-to-do” and she “attended elementary school in Bel-Air and Beverley Hills High school.”
She is active on Twitter, where she has quite a following.
The New York Times says that she “splits her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she grew up, and London” and has had a hard time finding employment. Instead, she meditates, does therapy, hangs out with friends and volunteers, The Times said.
She has spoken candidly about suffering from online bullying herself. According to The Today Show, “Lewinsky is teaming up with Vodafone to create anti-bullying emojis and GIFs.”
The New York Times says she has appeared at New York benefits, participated in an anti-bullying workshop, and “joined a feminist networking group.”
3. Lewinsky Has Never Married, Gave a Well-Received TED Talk & Focuses on Cancel Culture
Does she have a husband? No, she’s never married and never had children, and, in some ways, the scandal that engulfed her early 20s has never gone away for her (Clinton said on the Today Show on June 4, 2018 that he doesn’t plan to offer her a direct apology). However, Lewinsky has slowly regained her voice and a new identity in the public eye, largely for speaking out against Internet abuse.
She also has a documentary that is called Fifteen Minutes of Shame and it focuses on cancel culture.
Monica Lewinsky has become part of pop culture. She has tried to seize back her image by giving carefully selected public talks.
Lewinsky gave an 18-minute TED talk in Vancouver called “The Price of Shame.” In the talk, she described the painful consequences she still endures because of the scandal, and said she believes she was one of the first victims of cyber bullying. She said during the talk, “Anyone who is suffering from shame and public humiliation needs to know one thing: You can survive it. I know it’s hard,” said The Hollywood Reporter.
The rapper G-Eazy made “Monica Lewinsky” the title of a song, and, says The New York Times, her name is “a reference in dozens of others,” including those by Kanye, Eminem, and Beyonce.
4. Lewinsky Says the Shame ‘Sticks to You Like Tar’ But Has Worked to Fight Against Bullying
Over the years, Lewinsky has never been able to shake the story of her relationship with the president. It became a focal point of discussion again during the height of the #metoo movement. That renewed attention on whether Lewinsky was properly characterized by the media during the early days of the scandal.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, a Democrat, said she thinks Bill Clinton should have resigned because of the Lewinsky matter (Bill Clinton was also accused of unwanted sexual contact and sexual harassment by other women, including Juanita Broaddrick, who accused him of sexual assault.) However, when asked whether he planned to apologize to Lewinsky herself, Bill Clinton said no and added that he believes he did the right thing by not resigning (he was impeached).
“I do not. I have never talked to her. But I did say, publicly, on more than one occasion, that I was sorry,” he said on The Today Show. “That’s very different. The apology was public.” It was rare for Clinton to mention Lewinsky after all of this time. She responded on her Twitter page, which she uses to advance her cyber bullying causes, by reposting a Vanity Fair article she wrote revisiting the question of consent in the relationship. You can read more about that later in this article.
Lewinsky granted a rare interview with The Guardian, which called her “a respected and perceptive anti-bullying advocate. She gives talks at Facebook, and at business conferences, on how to make the internet more compassionate. She helps out at anti-bullying organisations like Bystander Revolution.” She told The Guardian, “The shame sticks to you like tar.”
Lewinsky has addressed the ramifications that the fallout over the Clinton relationship cost her. She also appeared at a Forbes conference and spoke about online bullying, saying, “I lost my reputation… And I lost my sense of self.” Lewinsky told Vanity Fair that she was moved to become an anti-bullying activist by her mother’s tearful reaction to the suicide of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers freshman who jumped off a bridge after being “secretly streamed via Webcam kissing another man.”
Lewinsky was once invited to speak at a philanthropic summit put on by Town and Country Magazine. However, when Bill Clinton ended up on the agenda, her own invite was pulled. The magazine later apologized, writing on Twitter, “We apologize to Ms. Lewinsky and regret the way the situation was handled.”
Lewinsky exposed the 2018 snub on her Twitter page, where she has hundreds of thousands of followers. “Dear world: please don’t invite me to an event (esp one about social change) and –then after i’ve accepted– uninvite me because bill clinton then decided to attend/was invited. it’s 2018. emily post would def not approve,” she wrote on Twitter. She added, “p.s. …and definitely, please don’t try to ameliorate the situation by insulting me with an offer of an article in your mag.”
Although Lewinsky didn’t reveal the name of the magazine, other outlets eventually revealed it, and some people leaped to her defense.
Lewinsky was also discussed during the 2016 presidential election due to Hillary Clinton being the Democratic nominee. Then Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said he believes it’s fair game to bring up Bill Clinton’s extra-marital affairs when running against Hillary Clinton, and he specifically mentioned Lewinsky when doing so, said The Today Show.
The Today Show quoted Trump as saying, “You look at whether it’s Monica Lewinsky or Paula Jones or many of them. That certainly will be fair game.” He justified the comment by saying that Hillary had played the “women card,” said the television show. Asked about this, Lewinsky said, according to The Today Show: “I’m not going to answer that. How’s this? I’m affected by what happens on the world stage, but I don’t let it deter me.”
Lewinsky hasn’t spoken much about the Clintons over the years and has been very circumspect in her public comments, but she did tell Vanity Fair that she considered the relationship “consensual,” adding, “Sure, my boss took advantage of me… Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position.”
In 2014, The Hill said that Hillary Clinton refused to deny reports that an old friend of hers had said Hillary called Lewinsky a “narcissistic looney tune”; Hillary said, “I am not gonna comment on what I did or did not say back in the late 90s.” She told Vanity Fair she found it “troubling” that Hillary’s impulse was to “blame the woman.” She called herself a “conscientious Democrat” but said she was fearful of being dragging back into the news because of Hillary’s presidential run. In 2014, Senator Rand Paul accused Bill Clinton of showing “predatory behavior” toward Lewinsky.
5. Lewinsky Went to College In London & Wrote an Essay In ‘Vanity Affair’ Magazine Revisiting the Question of Consent
In 2005, Lewinsky moved to London for a time, where she studied social psychology at the London School of Economics; she graduated with a Master of Science in 2006, after writing a thesis called “In Search of the Impartial Juror: An Exploration of the Third-Person Effect and Pre-Trial Publicity,” according to Gazette Review. Lewinsky had obtained the infamous White House internship at age 22, after graduating from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, with a BA in psychology, said Gazette Review. She told Vanity Affair, “I moved to England to study, to challenge myself, to escape scrutiny, and to reimagine my identity.”
She didn’t talk much about the Clinton scandal for a decade until she penned the major article for Vanity Fair magazine in 2014. The Vanity Fair essay was a 2015 National Magazine Award finalist. Entitled, “Shame and Survival,” The essay’s introduction said, “After 10 years of self-imposed reticence, and now hoping to help victims of Internet shaming, she critiques the culture that put a 24-year-old through the wringer and calls out the feminists who joined the chorus.”
In the article, she criticized what she called the “‘culture of humiliation’ that not only encourages and revels in Schadenfreude but also rewards those who humiliate others.” It thrives especially online, she wrote.
In March 2018, in the wake of the #metoo revisiting of sexual harassment by powerful men, Monica Lewinsky herself revisited the topic in Vanity Fair. She described once running into special prosecutor Ken Starr in a restaurant. “Though I wish I had made different choices back then,” she wrote that she said to him. “I wish that you and your office had made different choices, too.”
In the essay, Lewinsky wrote that she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and still feels trauma. She added, “…what transpired between Bill Clinton and myself was not sexual assault, although we now recognize that it constituted a gross abuse of power.” She indicated that she is revisiting what happened to her and referred to it as gaslighting: “I’ve lived for such a long time in the House of Gaslight, clinging to my experiences as they unfolded in my 20s and railing against the untruths that painted me as an unstable stalker and Servicer in Chief.”
She concluded, “I now see how problematic it was that the two of us even got to a place where there was a question of consent. Instead, the road that led there was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege…Now, at 44, I’m beginning (just beginning) to consider the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern. I’m beginning to entertain the notion that in such a circumstance the idea of consent might well be rendered moot.”
Those pursuits evaporated. She told Vanity Fair in 2014 that, after leaving grad school in London, “I moved between London, Los Angeles, New York, and Portland, Oregon, interviewing for a variety of jobs that fell under the umbrella of ‘creative communication’ and ‘branding,’ with an emphasis on charity campaigns.” But she kept getting turned down.