Monica Lewinsky looks back at her ‘mistake’: ‘You can survive it’
December 5, 2018
Monica Lewinsky is looking back at her affair with former President Bill Clinton, sharing what she learned about picking herself back up following the scandal.
Speaking to 40 students who were in attendance at The Hollywood Reporter’s “Women in Entertainment” event in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Lewinsky started off by telling the teenagers that she “can guarantee” them “one thing” — everyone makes mistakes.
“We have all made a mistake in our career that had consequences,” Lewinsky explained.
“And we can all probably agree that when it comes to being in this room, the worst mistake or the mistake with the worst consequences, I definitely win. Hands down!”
“Like breathing and change, mistakes are a guaranteed part of life,” she continued. “They can be found in the history of every successful person, and they are often the seed of every downfall. But they can be rich with learnings and growth even when they’re painful and devastating.”
Lewinsky, 45, went on to reflect on what happened in her own life over two decades ago when she was working at the White House.
Monica Lewinsky speaks onstage during The Hollywood Reporter’s Power 100 Women In Entertainment at Milk Studios on Wednesday in Los Angeles. (Jesse Grant/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter)
“Twenty years ago as a consequence of my mistake, I had to spend some time in court in front of a grand jury,” she said referring to her 1995 affair with Clinton.
“Not a great place to be just in case anyone was wondering,” she joked. “But at the conclusion of my second or third time there, the foreperson of the grand jury, who was actually a stranger to me, said something important: ‘Monica, none of us in this room is perfect. We all fall and we fall several times a day. The only difference between my age and when I was your age is now I get up faster.'”
Looking back, Lewinsky said that the foreperson was “100 percent right.”
“Get comfortable with the fact that at some point you will make a mistake in your career,” she added. “And know that from the deepest part of you, you can move on from it, you can grow from it, and you can survive it.”
Last month, Lewinsky provided an in-depth reflection about the shocking events for a six-part A&E docu-series titled “The Clinton Affair.”
The special — from Academy Award and Emmy-winning producer Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions, as well as Emmy-winning director Blair Foster — examined the jaw-dropping events that led to the now-72-year-old’s impeachment, which occurred on Dec.19, 1998.
Lewinsky and her parents, as well as those close to Clinton, including former senior advisor Sidney Blumenthal and former lawyer Bob Bennett, participated in the documentary. Foster previously told The Hollywood Reporter that while the Clintons were aware of the project, they themselves were not involved with the series.
“I don’t talk about this very often and I still feel uncomfortable talking about it because I think it’s one of those things where it’s not as if it didn’t register with me that he was the president,” Lewinsky recalled in the documentary.
“Obviously it did. But I think in one way, the moment we were in the back office [of the White House] for the first time, the truth is that I think it meant more to me that someone who other people desired had desired me. However wrong it was. However misguided. For who I was at that very moment at 22-years-old, that’s how I felt.”
Fox News’ Stephanie Nolasco contributed to this report.