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After spending the last two decades trying to reclaim her life, transforming herself from a political punchline to an anti-bullying advocate, Monica Lewinsky said she still finds it tough every time she’s dragged back into headlines.
The most famous White House intern in history found herself struggling in the spotlight again earlier this month after former President Clinton’s awkwardly addressed the #MeToo movement in a TODAY interview.
“It can be a range of emotions or experiences,” Lewinsky told InStyle magazine about what it’s like to wake up and learn she’s become news again. “Despite the amount of trauma work I’ve done for the past 20 years, there’s still a pattern that gets tapped into or triggered.”
InStyle interviewed Lewinsky for its first “Badass Women” issue, recognizing the work she's done to rebuild her life since the public learned about her affair with Clinton in 1998.
Recently, Lewinsky has become an outspoken advocate on issues that have affected her. In 2015, she gave a powerful TED Talk about cyberbullying. Earlier this year, she penned an essay for Vanity Fair describing how the #MeToo helped her feel less alone.
She told InStyle she was glad to channel her experiences to help others.
“If people can find some modicum of relief or healing from my having shared my experiences, that’s the greatest privilege. To be a part of helping someone else,” she said.
Despite living through one of the biggest scandals to rock the White House, Lewinsky said she feels grateful for the opportunities she’s had over the past few years.
“I now identify as a writer, a social activist, and someone who has a voice on various topics,” she said. “But in many ways I feel like I’m still just coming into who I am as a woman, having been delayed in many ways.”
Lewinsky also said she takes positive reinforcement from the public whenever she can get it.
"I would say that hearing from people who have connected with something I’ve said or written really fills my tank," she said. "It’s kind of corny, but I have this personal belief that when people say something kind to me now, it erases something negative that was said about me in the past. "
And while she expressed concerns about social media's influence, particularly on young girls struggling with self confidence, Lewinsky also said she finds "a wonderful power" to the medium.
"It’s a way for people to feel less alone, to find their tribe, to find their voice, to find their power to speak their truth," she said. "We also experience so many other cultures. That’s something we weren’t able to do unless we had the privilege of money and time to travel. "