What can we say about Monica Lewinsky that hasn’t already been said?
Once a bright-eyed White House intern, Monica Lewinsky got to fulfill her dream of working alongside the charismatic and powerful President Bill Clinton. But when her admiration of the president blossomed into a full-blown affair, the fallout nearly destroyed Clinton’s career. And it transformed Lewinsky’s name into a punchline that comics still use today for a cheap laugh.
However, Lewinsky was always more than an infatuated girl or a stale punchline. She was basically on the frontlines of #MeToo long before it was an official movement. And, sadly, she has firsthand experience of the patriarchal political system and compliant media that gives men a free pass while finding excuses to vilify women for the exact same activities.
Fortunately, Lewinsky has had decades to learn and grow from the scandal with Bill Clinton. And she has done much to rehabilitate her name and help other young women avoid the same fate that befell her.
But you can’t really move on from the past without acknowledging that past and learning from it. Keep reading to revisit the Monica Lewinsky scandal in photos and to learn how she has grown since then!
Monica meets Bill
We don’t know exactly when Monica Lewinsky first met Bill Clinton in 1995. But it was most likely at a White House function just like this.
At a fundraiser
As an intern, Monica made an appearance at many events like fundraisers. But this fundraiser picture shows she already had a close and personal relationship developing with Bill Clinton.
Posing at the White House
Any given day at work involved a lot of boring activities for Monica Lewinsky. But she was still able to secure time for a photo with the boss when she really wanted to.
More than another intern
On paper, Monica was one of many interns serving at the White House at the time. But she was the only one to go on and make history in such an explosive way!
A relaxing function
At more relaxing White House functions, even the president gets to ditch his coat and tie. Here, Monica and Clinton can be seen at a party on the White House Lawn in 1995. Footage of the event was discovered in the White House Archives in 2018 and released for a docuseries on A&E.
Just another day
Not every vintage photo of Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton is filled with scandal. In fact, this photo captures just how mundane the average day could be!
A close relationship with Bill Clinton
At this point, it seems clear Monica cared about Bill more than he cared about her. Still, this photo captures Clinton looking happy beside her.
Part of what made the case against Bill Clinton so airtight was the abundance of evidence. And little notes like this, written from Monica to Bill, didn’t exactly help matters!
Monica and stepmother
In 1998, paparazzi would swarm Monica Lewinsky wherever she went. Here, we see her stepmother helping her to navigate the crushing crowds of the press.
Another incriminating note
In the first note, Monica refers to her “friendship” with Clinton. Now, the progression of an affair and the imbalance of power in the relationship is on full display. Here, Monica laments that she and Clinton have not spoken in weeks. “Please do not do this to me,” she writes. “I feel disposable, used, and insignificant.”
Monica and attorney
As the investigation into Bill Clinton heated up, Monica Lewinsky had many encounters with legal professionals. Here, we see her walking alongside attorney Nathaniel Speights.
During the deposition
Obviously, Monica Lewinsky couldn’t sit on the sidelines while Bill Clinton was being impeached. Here, we see a candid photo taken during her deposition.
Casual days with Bill
Some of Monica’s time with Bill was about as mundane as it gets. For example, here we see her looking his way as he scarfs down a tasty slice of cake.
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Monica leaving the family home
As the Clinton scandal heated up, almost every moment of Lewinsky’s life was documented. Here, we see a photographer has snapped a picture of her leaving her family home in 1998.
Interview with Barbara Walters
Bill Clinton’s impeachment made Monica Lewinsky into a household name. This led to things like her groundbreaking interview with Barbara Walters shown here.
Leaving the club
Business or pleasure? For Lewinsky, sometimes the answer is “both.” Like in this picture, where she spent a day in the Cosmos Club alongside her attorney William Ginsberg (pictured on left).
For a time after the impeachment scandal, Lewinsky tried to parlay her infamy into a career. Here we see a photo of her from 1999 where she is selling her own line of handbags.
Monica takes Manhattan
When she wasn’t selling handbags, Monica Lewinsky wasn’t afraid to channel her reputation and make friends and professional connections. She spent a fair amount of time at parties, galas, and other fancy events all throughout Manhattan.
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A killer TED talk
As Monica Lewinsky grew older and matured, she realized how much others could learn from her experiences. Here, we see her at her 2015 TED talk where she discussed making the internet and social media both safer and more compassionate.
Monica and #MeToo
The #MeToo movement emerged as a way to help female victims of male sexual aggressors to take a stand against abuse. Here, we see a photo of when Monica Lewinsky entered this debate and encouraged women to stand up for themselves by attending Anti-Bullying Week at London’s Alexandra Palace in November 2017.