Where’s Monica Lewinsky now?
There was a period in American history when Monica Lewinsky was one of the most infamous names in the air. After news of her affair with then-President Bill Clinton was announced, Lewinsky found herself ostracized as details of her personal life spread like wildfire through media coverage, talk shows from late evening, opinion programs, Saturday Night Live, and the newly flourishing World Wide Web.
Lewinsky said that attention ultimately led to a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. “I am sorry to say that I do not yet have a definitive answer on the significance of all the events leading up to the 1998 investigation,” she wrote in a 2018 article. Vanity Fair editorial marking the 20th anniversary of the scandal. “I unpack and retire what happened to me. Again and again.”
Lewinsky found a few different career paths over the next two decades. She had a handbag line, was a spokesperson for Jenny Craig, and hosted a dating show before returning to school and earning her Masters in Psychology from the London School of Economics. His dissertation was titled “In Search of the Fair Jury: An Exploration of Third-Person Effect and Pre-trial Publicity”.
Over the past decade, Lewinsky has also built a career as an anti-bullying advocate. In addition to expressing herself frequently on the subject (she even joined John Oliver’s show for a segment on public shame) she hosted a TEDTalk titled “The Price of Shame” comparing the media coverage and criticism she suffered to what we would now call cyberbullying. Lewinsky also worked with Bystander Revolution, an anti-harassment resource founded by Mackenzie Bezos.
She is also directly involved American Crime Story: Impeachment, the new season of the anthology show FX. Lewinsky serves as producer for the project, something that gave star Beanie Feldstein confidence to take on the role of Monica. (It’s also something that producer Ryan Murphy specifically sought, by stating, “I told him, ‘No one should tell your story except you, and it’s kinda gross if they do… If you want to produce it with me, I’d love that; but you should be the producer and you should make all the money. ‘”) According to a fellow producer on Accused, it was important to her that the show portrayed the “agency” she had in her relationship with Clinton.
This is just one of the ways Lewinsky comes to reinterpret his experiences around the Clinton scandal. While she originally written in a 2016 Vanity Show editorial that she would still believe “this was a consensual relationship” and that “all ‘abuse’ came afterwards, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect her powerful position,” she admits having reconsidered this position after the #MeToo movement gained momentum in 2017.
“He was my boss. He was the most powerful man on the planet. He was 27 years older than me, with enough life experience to know better, ”she wrote two years later for Vanity Show. “He was at the peak of his career at the time, when I had my first job out of college.”
Accused is not the end of her career as a producer: she has already signed with HBO Max to produce a documentary titled 15 minutes of shame, which will focus on those who have found themselves caught in the world of public criticism and humiliation.
Overall, Lewinsky seems to have found a way to build on the worst time of her life, moving from what she called “the most humiliated person in the worldTo an activist who can joke about her past on Twitter.