“I think I’m very loving, I’m very loyal. I think I’m intelligent, I certainly feel I’ve been miss-portrayed”. From a private flirtation with President Clinton to the public nightmare of the aftermath. Monica Lewinsky finally breaks her silence and talks about it all, in her own words.
About the affair with Bill Clinton: “He was very tender with me. He was very affectionate”. About her feeling towards him: “Sometimes I have warm feelings, sometimes I’m proud of him and sometimes I hate his guts…”. and about her own feelings: “I felt like a piece of trash. I felt dirty”.
Before the reaction: how it all began
Before we get to Lewinsky’s final reaction to the scandal, a quick reminder of how she became the most infamous woman in the world. Lewinsky started her position as the White House intern in July 1995. In December of that year she was promoted to a paid position in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. The promotion came at a rather interesting time, having people question the reasoning behind it.
One step closer to the scandal: the mysterious promotion
Lewinsky’s promotion in December was said to have been due to her affair with the president, which (now we know) started in November 1995. Lewinsky’s goal in the White House was to move up the White House ladder, the affair was never to be known by anyone other than Bill Clinton and herself. Lewinsky stated that she loved the president and that the affair for her was more than just a fling.
The story is almost out: the betrayal
In January 1998, news of the affair had reached the public. The investigation into the relationship between Lewinsky and Clinton had been underway for several months prior to the public’s knowledge. When Lewinsky was moved from the White House to the Pentagon due to an increasingly close relationship with the president, she spoke to her coworker, Linda Tripp about the affair. Lewinsky had no idea that Tripp would betray her trust and record her conversation with her.
It’s out: Monica, an intern and a lover
Little did Monica Lewinsky know back then that her coworker/friend was recording their conversations. Tripp then passed along the tapes she recorded to an independent attorney who was contracted to deal with an ongoing investigation into Clinton. It was too late to stop it, and the truth was out. Once the affair became public, Lewinsky’s entire life changed. Then-president Clinton immediately tried to deny all of the allegations against him.
Exhibit 1: The blue dress
As soon as the scandal broke, Lewinsky was told to keep any gifts she may have gotten from the president, as well as the now-infamous blue dress she was wearing in one of their encounters that contained Clinton’s DNA. Clinton, in an effort to cover his involvement in the matter, gave a press conference where he stated the now-famous line, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” The media was in a frenzy since the president’s acknowledgement of the alleged affair.
At first Lewinsky didn’t want to talk to the press
Once the news conference aired, it was too much for Lewinsky to handle and she remained behind closed doors. Lewinsky ended up spending weeks in her home and away from the public and media attention. Even as she was in hiding, there were those who got her contact information and harassed her, leading to a new low in Lewinsky’s mental state. Clinton was still denying the affair at the time, putting the focus on Monica.
Lewinsky breaks her silence for the first time
The first time Lewinsky broke her silence and spoke openly about the affair was in an interview with Barbara Walters on ABC’s 20/20. Many parts of the interview were cringe-worthy and definitely made some people move uncomfortably in their chairs. With a shy smile of a girl with a crush, she explained in detail what exactly happened with former President Bill Clinton and how she felt about it.
“I’ve waited a lifetime to express to the country how very sorry I am”. She added: “I apologized privately to my family, friends…but I would like to publicly acknowledge that I recognize the pain and the suffering they’ve gone through because of this. I wouldn’t dream to ask Chelsea and Mrs. Clinton to forgive me…but I want them to know that I’m very sorry for what happened and for what they’ve been through”.
The first time
Lewinsky then explained what actually happened between her and President Clinton and how exactly it all went down. Monica said that the first time she actually ever saw Clinton was during an arrival ceremony for a world leader. She said that she had her breath taken away by a man who was “full of energy, sensuality, and attractiveness.” From then on, whenever she would see him, the two would have “intense eye contact.” This would lead to what Lewinsky would describe as “intense flirting” between the two.
Monica then said that during a government shutdown in 1995, she was alone with Mr. Clinton in the office of the Chief of Staff. She then said she surreptitiously bent down and “accidentally” showed the president her underwear. She said she did it because “flirtation is a dance. One person does something, and does the other person raise the stakes? That was our flirtation, and it was a subtle flirtatious gesture.”
“I have a crush on you.”
Later that night, Monica was invited into the president’s private quarters. After some small talk, she simply could not hold it in any longer and she blurted out “I have a crush on you.” The president then went up to her and kissed her. According to Lewinsky, Former President Bill Clinton was “a good kisser.” She also said that despite Bill Clinton’s religiosity, he was a “very sensual man.”
Took a phone call in the middle
Allegedly, while the two were being intimate for the first time, Bill Clinton got a phone call from a congressman, as everyone was trying to solve the issue of the government shutdown. Lewinsky said that the president taking the call while he was with her did not make her feel cheap, but “added to the level of excitement.”
“He sucked it in”
When President Clinton saw Monica the second time, Monica said that the President “took off his shirts in one of the more endearing moments of the relationship.” This is because Former President Bill Clinton, wanting to look better the first time Monica saw him shirtless, sucked in his stomach. Lewinsky says that “all of a sudden, he became very real and very human.” She added that she also sucked in a little bit as well when she took her shirt off.
Was weight an issue?
Monica then talked about her “weight problem” and said that the former president of the United States was “very sweet” about it. She said: “Because the president knew that I was self conscious about my weight. He would make an effort to say ‘oh it looks like you’ve lost weight’ or ‘oh, you look skinny today.’ It was sweet.” Monica knew that while the president may not have been telling the truth in regards to her weight, it still made her feel good.
By about the fifth time that Monica was alone with the president, she asked him straight up if their relationship was only physical or if he actually wanted to get to know her. According to Monica, “the President started to tear up and told me that he never wanted me to think that, and that was not what the relationship was about.”
“Attracted to my energy”
Monica Lewinsky was interested in knowing why the president was so attracted to her. Bill Clinton allegedly responded that he was drawn to her because she has a lot of energy and lights up the room whenever she walks in. He thought that she had a lot of energy and was attractive. It turns out that the president was also attracted to Monica’s mind, calling her “smart.”
It turns out that the Oval Office may be one of the best places in the world to have a fling. There is a door which leads into a hallway where there is a private study off to the side as well as a bathroom. This is where the vast majority of the trysts former President Bill Clinton had with Monica Lewinsky occurred. It appears that the designers and architects of the Oval Office knew exactly what they were planning for.
One of the issues with having an affair with the most powerful person on planet earth is that someone can come in at any time and for any reason. There could be a national security crisis, a crisis in international diplomacy, or just Hillary Clinton coming in for a visit to her husband. Monica said that “there was no thrill of potentially being caught” for her, and that she really did not want that to happen.
Bad for the nation
When asked if she felt bad about what she was doing and if she was doing something bad for the country, Monica said no. She says she was “enamored with him, excited, and was enjoying it.” While she did not feel bad at the time whilst the affair was going on, she does say that knowing what she knows now, she does indeed feel remorseful for her actions.
Relationships with two married men
In order for the two’s late night trysts to be kept secret and to keep people from asking questions, Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky came up with cover stories to hide what was really going on. They agreed that she would be saying that she was delivering papers. However, Monica said that she “had had a relationship with a married man before, and (she) knew the rules.”
During the hearings, former President Bill Clinton made the entire relationship sound like he was the one being gratified, and he alone. However, when Barbara Walters confronted Monica Lewinsky about this, Monica was quick to say that she too found pleasure and was very gratified. She also says that there were things the two did that, as a woman, made her feel gratified. She then began giggling after this question was asked.
Monica Lewinsky does not consider what she did with former President Bill Clinton to be anything more than just “fooling around.” However, most of the time, the president was not brought to completion. This is because, as Lewinsky said, the president “needed to be able to trust me more, and over time it was that he did not want to get addicted to me.” An interesting moment of self control.
While Monica said that she really is trying to put the entire ordeal behind her, she knows that she’s “a young woman who made some private mistakes and who’s very sorry for those mistakes, but was also part of some other forces that she certainly couldn’t control and know about.” However, despite all of this, she still told Larry King that she “does not feel like a victim” and does not have a victim mentality.
Bill Clinton’s reaction: “I did not have…”
On August 17, 1998, there was a White House hearing where Clinton said, “there is not a sexual relationship, an improper sexual relationship or any other kind of improper relationship” and continued to defend himself as he was not in that present moment having an affair with Lewinsky – essentially trying to use words in his favor. Clinton was much more savvy than Lewinsky, who was just 24 years old at the time.
After a few weeks, Lewinsky was asked to give the DNA ridden dress to prove that she was with the president. As soon as the dress was in the custody of the attorneys, Clinton confessed to his relationship with Lewinsky, stating that he didn’t lie when being questioned, he just answered around the technical definitions of the questions. After his confession, both Clinton and Lewinsky were asked to appear before a grand jury and testify in person. Lewinsky was given transactional immunity by the United States Office of the Independent Counsel if she were to give her honest testimony.
As soon as Lewinsky was on her way to court, she was hounded by the public, reporters and all kinds of individuals. She was without a doubt the most famous individual of that year. Little did she know that she would become practically legendary in the worst possible way. This was the beginning of Lewinsky’s name being tarnished in the media and soon to become the very first victim of cyber-bullying.
The court of public opinion was more vicious than any other group. American’s were convinced that Lewinsky was at fault and that she seduced the president into the acts they committed together. Lewinsky was pushed through crowds of reporters, harassed at home and on the phone. The situation came to a head when Lewinsky admitted that she considered to take her own life. She got past her low point and remained out of the public’s eye.
Due to Clinton’s harassment lawsuit by another woman named Paula Jones, and him accused of perjury and obstruction of justice, Clinton was being tried by the United States Senate and attempting to be impeached for his actions. His affair with Lewinsky added fuel to the fire and was another nail in the coffin of public opinion of Clinton. Bill Clinton ended up being acquitted on all of the charges against him, although he was indeed impeached on December 20, 1998 – the second president in the history of the United States to be.
After such a devastating and public trial of her own character, Monica kept low (or tried to) for years following the scandal. Consider the fact that she was just 21 years old when she started working at the White House. Lewinsky stated that the affair was more than that for her, she was in love with Clinton and didn’t blame him for the affair. Lewinsky said, “Overnight, I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one. I was Patient Zero.” By ‘patient zero’ she meant that she was the first to be publicly and digitally tried.
Hillary Clinton’s opens up
During the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton was asked about her thoughts on the matter of her husband’s 90s affair with Lewinsky. Clinton, always the classy one, didn’t say much, but knew that her husband had a problem that he needed to deal with when it came to his infidelities since Lewinsky wasn’t the first woman he was accused of being with. Lewinsky was the last woman he was said to have been with.
Little by little
It took Monica many years to feel comfortable in the public eye again, and she still isn’t as comfortable as she would be if the scandal didn’t happen. After the scandal, Lewinsky got introduced to Saturday Night Live sketches, as well as designed her own line of hand bags under the name The Real Monica Inc. Her bags were sold in high-end retail stores and did very well. It was around that time, in 2000, that she also appeared as a Jenny Craig representative for the weight loss product.
No longer under immunity agreement
Lewinsky admitted that the only reason she did the Jenny Craig ad was to pay off her legal fees. Also in 2000, Lewinsky moved to New York City and proceeded to be a part of the celebrity crowd there. Later in 2000, Lewinsky moved to England to be a correspondent for Channel 5. In 2002, Lewnisnky was no longer under the immunity agreement with the United States, and appeared on Monica in Black and White, an HBO special about the Clinton affair. In 2003, Lewinsky hosted a television show as well as appeared as a guest on others.
In 2005, life was getting too hectic for Monica in the United States in terms of the media coverage of her life and her own businesses. Lewinsky moved to London to attend the London School of Economics to get her Master’s degree in social psychology. She graduated in 2006 with her degree. For her Master’s thesis, Lewinsky’s work was titled, “In Search of the Impartial Juror: An Exploration of the Third-Person Effect and Pre-Trial Publicity.” Very aptly named and researched by her own experiences in the public eye.
When Lewinsky disappeared from the public eye and lived all over the country and in England, she had trouble finding jobs due to her level of notoriety. Her field was marketing and communications with an emphasis in nonprofit organizations that she very much wanted to work for. Lewinsky was out of the public eye from 2006 to 2014, when she reemerged, she was much slender and more powerful in her conviction to use her experience to help others.
Today, Lewinsky is worth a reported $500,000. Her income comes from her various speaking engagements and interviews. Her work for the anti-bullying platform is not part of her income. Much of her income has also come from her $1 million deal with Jenny Craig Inc. for a weight loss ad. She ended up getting only $300,000 of the full amount but it is significant in her net worth. Her book advances make up the rest of her income as well.
Vanity Fair cover
In June 2014, Lewinsky was interviewed by Vanity Fair Magazine as her ‘coming out’ statement to the world that she is back and out of hiding. She spoke to the journalist on behalf of the magazine in the most candid of ways, opening up about her ordeal when she was just 24 years old and criticized the world for their reaction and judgement of her without hearing her out.
“He has lied”
In 2004, after Bill Clinton came out with his autobiography, Lewinsky said to the Daily Mail, “He could have made it right with the book, but he hasn’t. He is a revisionist of history. He has lied. […] I really didn’t expect him to go into detail about our relationship. […] But if he had and he’d done it honestly, I wouldn’t have minded. […] I did, though, at least expect him to correct the false statements he made when he was trying to protect the Presidency. Instead, he talked about it as though I had laid it all out there for the taking. I was the buffet and he just couldn’t resist the dessert. […] This was a mutual relationship, mutual on all levels, right from the way it started and all the way through. […] I don’t accept that he had to completely desecrate my character.”
Monica has been through a lot over the almost 20 years since the news of her affair with the president broke. The public crucified her without hearing what she had to say, despite having said it over and over again. She calls herself ‘patient zero’ of the cyber-bullying generation and she has a point to her words. To this day she is remembered for her acts in the Oval Office and has undergone the worst version of public humiliation a person can undertake. At the very least today’s generation knows the technology to make sure they are not caught.
Due to Lewinsky being an expert at public shaming and cyber-bullying, she decided to take her experience and turn it to a more positive path. She has become an advocate for those who are being bullied, knowing how difficult it is for someone when they are not heard. She is also politically outspoken (although saying nothing bad about anyone, especially Hillary Clinton) and is focused on speaking about the social ramifications of bullying.
Monica is now in her mid-40s and well past the scandal that made her the unwanted sensation she turned out to be. As we mentioned earlier, Lewinsky wanted to use her position as a well-known figure and put herself back out there for the sake of those being bullied and silenced. She wanted to bring to light the incredibly dire issue of cyber-bullying and was doing so by speaking about it on national television.
Lewinsky talks about her ordeal and the scandal that made her infamous, but has turned her unfortunate situation to a much better one. In October of 2014, Lewinsky spoke at the Forbes 30 Under 30 summit. She spoke about her ordeal and said, “Having survived myself, what I want to do now is help other victims of the shame game survive, too.” Lewinsky only got started in 2014, gaining a lot more traction over the years.
Lewinsky’s sad inspiration to speak publicly about anti-bullying and make it her mission was due to the unfortunate death of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, who took his own life after being cyber-bullied to the breaking point. It was his death that made Lewinsky put her own trauma behind her and speak out sine she knows that at the very least, the fact that people will get details of her affair for her will garner enough attention and therefore will have an audience for her cause.
The anti-bullying platform has given Lewinsky a purpose in her life. She came back to help and wants to hear nothing about other people’s criticism of her behavior 20 years ago. She said, “I really think that I’m grateful to have this opportunity,’ and continued ‘Even though I have suffered from shame, I’m not ashamed of who I am.” Since she had a problem finding a position in her own field, she used what learned on her tough road to get her something else.
Sounds strange that Monica Lewinsky would be linked with emojis, but she is. Lewinsky was responsible for releasing a line of emojis that re about a the fight against cyber-bullying. The release of the emojis came around World Safer Internet Day on February 9th. She recorded a video where she comedically compares these emojis to Kim Kardashian’s Kimoji line of emojis. She said, “It might not break the internet but it could fight cyberbullying.”
Bringing it closer to today, Lewinsky, who is outspoken politically like we said, has publicly stated that the current president’s alleged taping of personal conversations is just like her Pentagon coworker and supposed friend recording her conversations with her in order to prove the Clinton scandal and would later lead to Clinton’s impeachment. Lewinsky said, “taping without permission is becoming en vogue again.” Lewinsky certainly has a word or two for the current president.
In an Op-Ed for the New York Times, Monica Lewinsky had many words to say about the passing of Roger Ailes, the Fox News chief and how he used her scandal to make Fox News what it is today. She wrote, “Some experts have noted that viewers found Fox for the first time because of the crisis. John Moody, a Fox executive editor, reflected on that period: ‘The Lewinsky saga put us on the news map.’ As he put it in another interview: ‘Monica was a news channel’s dream come true.’”
Monica has been able to distance herself from the shamed young woman she once was. She took her incredibly terribly situation and, after years of hiding, decided to do use her professional knowledge, her educational background and her ill-earned fame and make something productive with it. Lewinsky, the anti-cyber-bullying advocate is making lots of lemonade for the many lemons that were thrown her way and in doing so is a role model for how to move on from a terrible ordeal.
So this is the story about the now famous Monica Lewinsky. From the moment when she was just a young woman who landed a job at the White House. Lewinsky is a born and raised California girl who spent much of her formative years in or around Los Angeles, California. Lewinsky attended Lewis & Clark College, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1995. It was after her graduation that Lewinsky got an unpaid internship at the White House, through familial connections. After a road that would have debilitated any other person, but had this woman survive and tell her story through the one way she knows best – her words.
Between her interviews and talks, Lewinsky travels to broaden her knowledge and probably escape the scrutiny which is always around her no matter where she goes in the Western world. She is prone to the selfie photo just like we are and is seen here on one of her many trips abroad (perhaps to India?). Honestly, wafter all she has been through, she deserves to become as obscure as she wants to be.