The Life of Monica Lewinsky

At 22, she was a national scandal. Now, she uses her experience to advocate against bullying. This is the story of Monica Lewinsky.

Pioneer against cyber-bullying

This is Monica Lewinsy. She was born in San Francisco in July 1973, and grew up in Beverly Hills, California. She was 14 when her parents endured an acrimonious divorce. In May 1995, she graduated from Lewis and Clark College in Portland with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Fresh out of college, she moved to Washington D.C., to work as an intern in the office of White House Chief of Staff Leon E. Panetta. She was 22, when she first met President Bill Clinton. After landing a paid job in the Office of Legislative Affairs, she was reassigned to the Pentagon in April 1996. She became friends with her colleague Linda Tripp, whom she confided in about her affair with President Bill Clinton.

She came forward to investigators in the summer of 1997, and the story broke in January 1998. The scandal consumed the news cycle for nearly a year until Clinton was eventually impeached in December 1998. Lewinsky was granted transactional immunity in exchange for her testimony. After enduring public shaming, she cooperated with British author Andrew Morton in his book, Monica's Story. On March 3, 1999, 70 million Americans watched her exclusive interview with Barbara Walters on ABC. After the scandal, she moved to New York City and launched a line of handbags. After appearing in commercials for weight loss company Jenny Craig, she briefly hosted Mr. Personality, a reality dating show on Fox.

In 2005, she decided to leave the public spotlight to pursue a master's degree in social psychology in London. In 2014, after a decade of self-imposed exile, she wrote an essay in Vanity Fair about the Clinton affair and began a campaign to combat cyberbullying. The same year, at a Forbes' Under 30 Summit, she made her first ever public address, calling herself “patient zero” of online harassment. Overnight, I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one. In 2015, she became an ambassador for the Bystander Revolution, an anti-bullying organization, and she held a widely viewed TED Talk. In 2017, she took part in the #MeToo movement — and while she said the relationship was “consensual” — she denounced an “abuse of power” on Clinton’s part. In August 2019, FX announced she will be revisiting the story — this time as a producer for Season 3 of the series American Crime Story, which set to air before the 2020 election.