|Full Name||Monica Lewinsky|
|Birthday||July 23, 1973|
Monica Lewinsky is an American activist, television personality and former White House intern who came to public attention in 1998 for her relationship with then-U.S. President Bill Clinton. She is now an advocate for anti-bullying and women‘s rights and a speaker on the topics of shame and internet privacy.
Clinton & Lewinsky Scandal Due to 1995 Affair
As a bright-eyed 21-year old, Lewinsky began an internship in 1995 at the White House office of Chief of Staff Leon Panetta. It was there she first met and struck up a friendship with President Bill Clinton. Over time, their flirtatious friendship blossomed into a full-fledged affair between 1995-1997, unbeknownst to the public.
Lewinsky confided details of the clandestine affair to coworker Linda Tripp, who secretly recorded their conversations and turned the tapes over to investigators. This triggered a sequence of events that brought the affair to light and sparked a national scandal that nearly brought down Clinton‘s presidency.
In January 1998, allegations surfaced and quickly dominated media coverage worldwide. Both Clinton and Lewinsky initially denied the relationship. However, faced with evidence including Tripp‘s tapes, Clinton was forced to reverse his testimony. He admitted to inappropriate relations with Lewinsky in grand jury testimony in August 1998.
The revelations and investigation by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr into the affair and attempted coverup became known as the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal. It revealed sordid details of Lewinsky‘s intimate relationship with the president and their efforts to hide it from authorities.
This scandal resulted in only the second impeachment of a U.S. president in history. A longtime fan like me remembers where they were when the story broke that almost brought down Clinton‘s presidency.
Early Life and Career
Long before Lewinsky was known for her tie to political scandal, she grew up in a close-knit family in Southern California. Her childhood dream was to one day work in the White House.
After graduating from Bel Air Prep high school, Lewinsky attended Santa Monica College. She later transferred to Lewis & Clark College, graduating in 1995 with a degree in psychology.
Eager to get experience in politics, Lewinsky interned in the White House office of Chief of Staff Leon Panetta starting in 1995. This role later set the stage for her fateful encounter with President Clinton.
Previously, she interned for the office of Congressman Ron Wyden. She also spent two years working as an assistant to Pentagon spokesperson Kenneth Bacon starting in 1994.
Work as an Activist and Public Speaker
Lewinsky initially struggled to find employment and rebuild her reputation after becoming known for her role in the Clinton scandal. However, she has since worked to turn hardship into purpose.
In 2014, she reemerged as an inspirational speaker and anti-bullying advocate with a powerful Ted Talk. Her speech on public humiliation received a standing ovation and over 20 million views.
Lewinsky serves as an ambassador for anti-cyberbullying organization Bystander Revolution. She is also an outspoken advocate for women‘s rights and mental health awareness.
She regularly speaks on topics like online harassment, shame resilience, empowerment, and cultivating compassion. Lewinsky aims to create positive change by drawing on her own traumatic experiences.
Some highlights of her advocacy work include:
- Launched the #DefyTheName anti-bullying campaign in 2015
- Served as a strategic advisor for Bystander Revolution
- Partnered with Vodafone on their anti-cyberbullying #BeStrong campaign
- Gave a 2015 TED Talk that received over 20 million views
- Joined forces with BBDO for the 2018 #EmbraceCivility campaign
Interesting Facts and Insights
- Lewinsky designed her own handbag line called The Real Monica, Inc. that was sold in New York starting in 1999.
- She graduated in 2006 with a Master‘s degree in social psychology from the prestigious London School of Economics.
- Lewinsky appeared as a guest on shows like Mr. Personality, Jimmy Kimmel Live and The View after the scandal.
- She made many contributions as a news correspondent for British network Channel 5 and as a columnist.
- In 2005, Monica made Diet Coke television commercials poking fun at her infamous blue dress.
- She has managed to turn great adversity into an inspiring second act career as a speaker and highly influential anti-bullying activist.
Monica Lewinsky has shown incredible resilience and inner strength in the face of unimaginable public humiliation. She has courageously reinvented her life‘s purpose and emerged as a compassionate role model. Her journey reveals that no mistake needs to define a lifetime.
Lewinsky‘s experience and activism has made the world a little safer for the next generation. She uses her powerful platform to advocate for those without a voice and create positive change. I have so much admiration for how she has turned hardship into a force for good.