The other day, a radio personality was performing a morning segment in which he revealed interesting and lesser known worldly facts to listeners. That day’s fact happened to be that Monica Lewinsky had not held a job since the age of 22, after her internship in the White House would change the trajectory of her life entirely. While most of this well-meaning DJ’s facts are truthful and entertaining ,this one was just dead wrong. Monica Lewinsky, the intern who had sexual relations with then-president Bill Clinton and who therefore became the subject of a media-frenzy that culminated with Clinton’s impeachment, is far from jobless. Until recently, Lewinsky had largely been out of the spotlight since her 1998 affair with former president Bill Clinton. During that time, as the Washington Post article wonderfully titled “From Thong to Thesis” points out, she procured a master’s degree from the London School of Economics in social psychology at the age of 33.
As she poured herself into her studies and attempted to sneak away from the oppressive beam of the spotlight, it had been years since she had spoken publicly. And with articles circulated by reputable news sources referring to her accomplishments as “from thong to thesis,” who can blame her? Her last interview was in 1999 and had been one of the most watched events in television history as she sat down to tell her side with Barbara Walters.
In the years following her interview with Walters, Lewinsky struggled to find herself before deciding in 2005 to pursue her education further and start fresh in a different country. Directly after the interview, she became a spokesperson for the struggling Jenny Craig, claiming she lost over thirty pounds using the diet program. She began trying her hand at different endeavors that seemed to have no rhyme or reason- from being a hand bag designer to a reality dating show host. Her name was instantly identifiable, and for this reason she made a more-than-decent living. For working with Jenny Craig alone, she was paid $1,000,000.
Upon leaving for London in 2005 and graduating not long after that, Lewinsky disappeared until recently. In 2014, she began speaking publicly again and in March of 2018 she received one of the highest honors for speakers by participating in TED Talks. Lewinsky gave a captivating speech on “The Price of Shame” and at 41-years-old, she again reinvented herself. Lewinsky owned her narrative in a way that removed her as a victim and made her an intellectual discussing the cultural implications of what happened to her as she was growing into adulthood in the late 1990s.
Lewinsky’s speech has been extremely well-received and this likely will not be the last we will see of Lewinsky as a speaker. Also, we may at some point be able to look forward to a self-penned memoir. In 2012, the New York Post and numerous sources reported Lewinsky was offered an advance of $12,000,000 to write a memoir detailing her affair and the aftermath with Bill Clinton, In 2018, it has yet to be confirmed or released, but the possibility still exists.