Twenty years after she endured worldwide ridicule when her affair with President Bill Clinton was revealed, Monica Lewinsky is still working to reclaim her identity.
"The shame sticks to you like tar,'' she told The Guardian in a wide-ranging interview.
Lewinsky, 42, has become an anti-bullying advocate after enduring a brutal backlash as a 22-year-old intern at the heart of a political scandal. She admitted in the interview that she "came very close" to attempting suicide.
"I felt like every layer of my skin and my identity were ripped off me in '98 and '99,'' she said. "It's a skinning of sorts. You feel incredibly raw and frightened."
Lewinsky is teaming up with Vodafone to create anti-bullying emojis and GIFs after speaking to teens and learning the symbols are a fast way to "help someone feeling alone and upset." Her work with anti-bullying campaigns has become an important part of her identity 20 years after the scandal.
"I'm incredibly grateful for the movement I have in my life right now,'' she said.
Decades later, her name is still getting injected into the political conversation. In a December appearance on TODAY, Republican front-runner Donald Trump said if Hillary Clinton "is gonna play the women card" in a general election, her husband's extra-marital affairs are "all gonna be fair game."
"You look at whether it's Monica Lewinsky or Paula Jones or many of them,'' Trump said. "That certainly will be fair game."
Lewinsky was asked by The Guardian if she's worried that Trump will bring her up during his campaign if he secures the Republican nomination.
"I'm not going to answer that,'' she said. "How's this? I'm affected by what happens on the world stage, but I don't let it deter me."
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