By Judy Kurtz
Monica Lewinsky says she was arguably “the most humiliated person in the world” following her 1998 sex scandal with then-President Clinton.
Now, more than 15 years later and after the rise of the Internet, Lewinsky contends Americans are “caught in a feedback loop of defame and shame, one in which we have become both perps and victims.”
Vanity Fair released the full text Wednesday of an essay, titled "Shame and Survival," penned by the ex-White House intern, and featured in its June issue. The glossy mag had released excerpts from the piece earlier this month.
Lewinsky catches readers up with the reality of her life since she became an international headline. She says her name has become an “archetype,” defined by two-word monikers such as “That Intern” or “That Woman,” (as Bill Clinton famously referred to her).
“It may surprise you to learn that I’m actually a person,” she writes.
Lewinsky says she’s “managed to get by (barely, at times)” with a variety of projects, and has even received loans from friends and family members.
She says she’s recognized every day, and oftentimes, the doorman at the New York apartment where she’s staying will call up and warn that a barrage of paparazzi will await her downstairs.
“I hit the computer. Time for a little self-Google. (Oh, dear reader, please do not judge.) My heart sinks,” she writes. “There’s an explosion on Google News. I know what this means. Whatever day I’ve planned has been jettisoned. To leave the house — and risk a photo — only ensures that the story will stay alive.”
Lewinsky says choosing to tell her story now “is not about Me versus the Clintons.”
“Their lives have moved on; they occupy important and powerful places on the global stage. I wish them no ill,” she says, “And I fully understand that what has happened to me and the issue of my future do not matter to either of them.”
She says, unlike the other people involved in “Monicagate,” she “was so young” that she “had no established identity to which I could return.”
Now, Lewinsky, who was 24 years old at the time of the scandal, says she wants to finally move on.
“It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress,” she writes, “And move forward.”