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Caitlyn Jenner’s inspiration? Monica Lewinsky

Caitlyn Jenner, Monica Lewinsky, Bruce Jenner, Vanity Fair
Getty Images, Vanity Fair

Caitlyn Jenner found inspiration from an unlikely source during her transition to a woman: Monica Lewinsky.

The former White House intern’s story “struck a chord” with the Olympic gold medalist, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, according to the groundbreaking Vanity Fair profile penned by Buzz Bissinger.

The journalist describes sitting at the kitchen counter with the reality TV star about two weeks after Jenner, 65, underwent surgery related to her transition. “[Jenner] had listened to Monica Lewinsky’s powerful TED talk on what it is like to be the ceaseless target of cyber-ridicule,” Bissinger writes. “The talk had struck a chord with Caitlyn because of the similarities with how she had been dealt with on the Internet.”

Lewinsky, who became a national punch line when news of her affair with former President Clinton broke in 1998, has, in recent months, taken on a new role as a public speaker and anti-cyber-bullying advocate. “Public shaming as a blood sport has to stop,” Lewinsky, 41, said during her talk at the TED conference in March.

Before Jenner’s new name and look were unveiled, the “Keeping up With the Kardashians” star was the subject of ridicule and intense media scrutiny, with tabloids splashing photos of her donning nail polish and a ponytail and picking apart the images.

Jenner, Bissinger writes, “had in front of her five pages of notes. It dawned on me that she was going to give her version of a TED talk to an audience of one: me.”

The talk lasted for nearly 40 minutes, the scribe writes: “My heart bled for Caitlyn. She was so earnest, trying so hard: you could feel the essential goodness in Caitlyn, and Bruce Jenner before her.”

Shortly after the first photos of Jenner emerged from the Vanity Fair piece, Lewinsky wrote on Twitter:

Lewinsky, now a Vanity Fair contributor, broke her silence, like Jenner, in the pages of the magazine last year after staying mum about the sex scandal for more than a decade. She added that she was “moved” by Jenner “being moved” by her TED talk.

Tags Caitlyn Jenner Monica Lewinsky
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