‘It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress,” writes Monica Lewinsky in the new issue of Vanity Fair about the clothing items that will forever be infamously associated with her “inappropriate relationship” with former US president Bill Clinton between 1995 and 1997.
This is the first time that the public is hearing from the former White House intern-turned-staffer in a decade. Lewinsky remained in the public eye for several years following the affair and the ensuing scandal that led to the Clinton impeachment in late 1998 (the president was acquitted on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice by the Senate in February 1999). But for the last ten years, since she left the US to pursue a degree in social psychology at the London School of Economics, she has maintained a relatively low profile.
Lewinsky, now 40, writes in Vanity Fair that she decided to speak out in order to regain control of her life. “I am determined to have a different ending to my story,” she asserts. “I’ve decided, finally, to stick my head above the parapet so that I can take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past.”
In a teaser for the full article, which becomes available May 8, Lewinsky shares that she was suicidal following the revelation of her sexual relationship with Clinton and during the investigations that followed. She says she felt like the most humiliated person in the world. What made it even worse was that “I was also possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet,” she writes.
While she regrets what happened, she maintains that she was not abused by her boss. “Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position…”
Lewinsky has had difficulty finding work following her return to the US with her Masters degree in hand. She has interviewed for positions in communications and branding for charitable campaigns, but her notoriety has led to potential employers deeming her not quite the right fit for the job.
On the flip side,” I was right for all the wrong reasons, as in ‘Of course, your job would require you to attend our events.’ And, of course, these would be events at which press would be in attendance,” she shares.
Lewinsky, who claims to have turned down offers that would have earned her millions, says she has decided to devote her time and effort in support of victims of online humiliation – something she knows more than a little about.
To make it abundantly clear that she is putting the scandal that made her a household name behind her, Lewinsky poses in a conservative white dress in Vanity Fair. The infamous semen-stained blue dress is nowhere to be seen.