Monica Lewinsky went from being a White House intern to a worldwide known public figure in the course of just one night. The California native became famous following the affair involving then-US President Bill Clinton. And it tore Lewinsky’s world apart.
Now, Lewinsky lives a more private and calm life outside of the spotlight. At the same time, she’s made her fair share of money through the years.
Here’s all you need to know about Monica Lewinsky – and how much her net worth is!
Monica Lewinsky was born July 23, 1973 in San Francisco, California. Her father worked as an oncologist and her mother as an author.
Monica Lewinsky – early life
At an early age, Lewinsky and her family relocated to Beverly Hills in Los Angeles. However, her early life was a tough period, with Lewinsky having weight issues. She was pushed around by others, and it sure was hard.
“I was very sensitive, so I couldn’t take a joke,” she told The Guardian.
“I remember sitting on my parents’ bed and them practicing with me how to take a joke, how to not cry., I remember one very specific day in the playground when a group of girls had concocted some game. They’d say a number and it would mean something – run up and push me, or make a face at me, or say something stupid.
“Those memories inform a lot of who we become,” she added.
“They contributed to me not having a strong sense of self. Look. I could sit and cry all day about kids being afraid to go to school.”
Monica Lewinsky was raised jewish and attended the Sinai Akiba Academy, as well as John Thomas Dye School. She graduated from the Pacific Hills School in 1991, and moved on to study at Santa Monica College.
At the same time, she was working for the drama department at Beverly Hills High School. According to a BBC profile, her former friends at college remember her as “very friendly and very flirtatious”. But also “a bit emotional”.
After completing her two-year degree at Santa Monica College, Monica Lewinsky enrolled at the Lewis & Clark College. She graduated with a degree in psychology in 1995.
Monica Lewinsky – Bill Clinton
Growing up in a wealthy family, Monica Lewinsky’s parents had many high-profile connections. Through one of her mother’s, she went on to get the job as an unpaid intern at the White House the same year. And it would change her life forever, both for good and bad.
At 22 years of age, Lewinsky began working at the White House. She and President Bill Clinton started flirting not long after she had started, and it turned into an affair which lasted for two years.
One day, Lewinsky told President Clinton, “I have a crush on you”, to which he replied, “Well, do you want to come into the back office?”
It wasn’t until 1998 that Clinton and Lewinsky’s affair became known to the world. Lewinsky’s phone had been tapped and her calls recorded in secret, and in the end, she had to testify before a grand jury. The report – consisting of over 3,000 pages – was made public, with all the details of Clinton and Lewinsky’s encounters.
President Clinton called her a liar, denying that he had had a relation “with that woman”. Lewinsky has said several times since that she’d do anything to “have my anonymity back”.
“That people could read the transcripts was horrific enough,” Lewinsky said in a TED talk. “But a few weeks later the audio tapes [the recorded telephone calls] were aired on TV, and significant portions made available online. The public humiliation was excruciating. Life was almost unbearable.”
“I felt like every layer of my skin and my identity were ripped off of me in 1998 and 1999,” Monica Lewinsky explained. “It’s a skinning of sorts. You feel incredibly raw and frightened. But I also feel like the shame sticks to you like tar.”
Monica Lewinsky – life after affair
Monica Lewinsky became famous practically overnight. Soon after, in 1999, she started her own handbag line, as well as becoming the spokeswoman for weight-loss company Jenny Graig.
Lewinsky made several appearances on different television shows, even hosting a Fox dating show called Mr Personality in 2003.
Simply put, she was trying to rebuild her personal brand at this time. However, the reviews of her performances – and actually even taking the gig as a dating show host – were not great.
“There, sitting casually on the edge of the stage in a black pantsuit, Ms. Lewinsky tries to project the image of a well-adjusted, forward-looking person, who was treated badly by Bill Clinton, Linda Tripp and the media,” The New York Times wrote in their review of the dating show.
Fame and celebrity status were the last things Monica Lewinsky wanted at this point. Her television show host career didn’t last long, and instead, she went back to school.
Lewinsky wanted to get away from Washington DC following the affair, and so moved to New York City.
However, it didn’t quite work out as she wanted it to. The New York Post even nicknamed her “The Portly Pepperpot”, as a jab at her weight.
“Even in New York, her reception is not always positive,” journalist Vanessa Grigoriadis wrote in a 2001 New York Magazine profile piece.
“Not long ago, she was chased down the street by a group of men screaming epithets, and tabloids still report news like ‘Monica eats potato chips,’ ‘Monica’s snuck out the kitchen door of Balthazar,’ and ‘Monica stuffs herself with crab cakes.’”
Moved to London
New York City wasn’t a great fit for Monica. Instead, she decided to leave the US altogether. In 2006, she began her studies at London School of Economics, where she earned herself a Masters of Science degree in social psychology.
Her thesis was entitled “In Search of the Impartial Juror: An exploration of the third person effect and pre-trial publicity.”
“I moved to England to study, to challenge myself, to escape scrutiny, and to reimagine my identity,” Lewinsky wrote in 2014. “My professors and fellow students at the London School of Economics were wonderful—welcoming and respectful. I had more anonymity in London, perhaps due to the fact that I spent most of my waking hours in class or buried in the library.”
“The audience of students and parents erupted in spontaneous applause. It was a very emotional moment for her,” Lewinskys publicist Barbara Hutson said in a statement of Monica receiving her degree.
Monica was pushed around by the public following the Clinton affair. It was tough on her, but she never gave in. Instead, she wanted to use it to her advantage.
In 2014, Lewinsky began writing for Vanity Fair, as well as speaking about her experiences at Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30” event. Furthermore, she started a campaign to fight the kind of hatred she went through herself following the Clinton affair going public.
Problems getting work
Her 2014 essay, Shame and Survival for Vanity Fair became widely popular, and Lewinsky became an ongoing contributor for the magazine.
Lewinsky applied for jobs pretty much everywhere. She moved between London, Los Angeles, New York, and Portland and interviewed for many jobs.
However, it always seemed like her past still was a big problem for many employers.
In her essay, Lewinsky described how companies didn’t think she was a good fit because of her name. She recalls one “promising job interview” which took place during the run-up to the 2008 primary season.
“‘So here’s the thing, Monica,’” the interviewer said,” Monica Lewinsky recalls. “‘You’re clearly a bright young woman and affable, but for us—and probably any other organization that relies on grants and other government funding— it’s risky. We would first need a Letter of Indemnification from the Clintons. After all, there is a 25 percent chance that Mrs. Clinton will be the next president.’ I gave a fake smile and said, ‘I understand’.”
During a 2019 interview with John Oliver, Lewinsky revealed that she actually considered changing her name at one point. However, she didn’t because for her, it was a “principle.”
Monica Lewinsky – net worth
“Bill Clinton didn’t have to change his name. Nobody’s ever asked him did he think he should change his name and so I think that was an important statement,” Lewinsky explained.
“I’m not proud of all of the choices I’ve made in my life, but I’m proud of the person I am.
“As hard as it has been to have that last name sometimes and the pain that I have felt of what it’s meant for other people in my family who have that last name, I am glad I didn’t change it.”
Over the last few years, Monica has dedicated her life to fight hatred online. In 2015, she held a much praised TED talk on the subject, and months later joined the organization Bystander Revolution as a strategic advisor and ambassador.
Lewinsky also entered the show business industry, where she served as producer on the third season of Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story, which focuses on the affair she was involved in.
“Monica, to us, always felt… There’s just no experience comparable to that and [it] always just felt important and very clear that we would work with her and speak to her about every script page,” executive producer/writer Sarah Burgess said.
“It feels like in 1998, our culture created a second Monica Lewinsky that doesn’t bear any relationship to the real person.”
At the same time as she’s found her passion in life, Lewinsky has also made a great amount of money in doing it. According to Celebrity Net Worth, she’s worth around $1,5 million these days.
Living life on her own terms
Monica Lewinsky’s life changed when the Clinton affair became public. She was blamed for it both from ordinary citizens as well as celebrity television hosts, and it almost broke her.
But in the end, she proved she was made of tough stuff. Instead of capitulating, Monica decided to dedicate her life to help people that is subjects to hate online in order to help prevent others suffering with the same experience that she did.
Her activism and impact on many people has grown larger and larger, and this time, it’s all on her own terms.
Monica Lewinsky became the subject of a vast amount of hate online following the affair with Bill Clinton. However, we are delighted to see that she’s moved on and is now helping others.
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