Monica Lewinsky, the White House intern whose affair with then President Bill Clinton led to his impeachment and nearly brought down his presidency, granted a rare interview with The Guardian. In it she said she’s “hyper-aware of how other people may be perceiving me.”
The reason people perceive her is well known, stemming from the infamous “blue dress” which contained Clinton’s DNA, proving what he and his administration had been steadfastly denying for months — the affair, in deed, had happened.
Lewinsky shot to infamy in 1998 after the then unknown Matt Drudge published the story of the affair with Clinton on the Drudge Report. That story made Drudge an overnight sensation and catapulted Monica to infamy.
She told the Guardian, “I felt like every layer of my skin and my identity were ripped off of me in ’98 and ’99. It’s a skinning of sorts. You feel incredibly raw and frightened. But I also feel like the shame sticks to you like tar.”
Still, Lewinsky is likely to experience a revival, of sort, with the reemergence of Hillary Clinton, since she’s leading the race for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. Hillary was involved in the attempt to discredit Monica, coining the phrase “vast right-wing conspiracy” in an attempt to deflect from her husband’s infidelity with a woman young enough to be his daughter.
Already having a picture of her used in an online campaign ad by Republican front-runner Donald Trump, Lewinsky is ready for the spotlight, albeit dimmer, this time. “I’m affected by what happens on the world stage. But I don’t let it deter me. I’m incredibly grateful for the movement I have in my life right now,” she said when asked about the election.
The affair and its aftermath led Lewinsky into depression. She has since emerged and now has a successful career as an anti-bullying advocate, giving speeches at some of the world’s largest companies.
For his part, Bill Clinton has mostly escaped the stigma that follows Monica. After having survived impeachment, Clinton’s favorability ratings have rebounded and he makes millions of dollars giving speeches.