Twenty-three years ago, Monica Lewinsky was vilified and unmercifully mocked around the world. At the time Lewinsky was an ambitious intern working at the White House under then-president Bill Clinton. But a scandalous affair with the soon-to-be impeached president turned Lewinsky's life into a living nightmare.
The affair made front-page news around the world for months, and the name Lewinsky became one of sexual jokes and humiliation for the young intern. But that was then, and this is now. A quarter of a century later, and Lewinsky no longer hides from the shame of her past.
Today the 47-year-old anti-bullying activist, television personality and fashion designer doesn't take her White House scandal too seriously. In fact, Lewinsky has even found the humor in her unwanted fame.
Indeed, instead of living in quiet seclusion, Lewinsky seems to always jump at the chance to poke fun at her own expense on social media. Her latest self-deprecating moment occurred Friday, May 21, on the social media platform Twitter.
UberFacts (@UberFacts), an online web service/app that provides people with random facts, posted the question, "What's the most high-risk, low rewarding thing you've ever done?" Apparently, Lewinsky couldn't resist.
The tweet, which had 2,000 likes by Thursday afternoon and was retweeted 137 times, went viral after Lewinsky responded with a simple side-eye emoji from her personal account (@Monicalewinsky).
The subtle response quickly got over 25,000 retweets and was liked more than 161,000 times. Even Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) responded with, "kinda perfect tweet."
Such Tweets are nothing new from Lewinsky. In 2009 the infamous icon responded to Adam Grant's (@AdamMGrant) question about career advice:
Other Lewinsky Twitter comebacks include one from last summer when she posted another simple yet hysterical response to Sarah Cooper (@Sarahcpr), who posted, "My advice to the younger generation: make your mistakes now. Because by the time you're 40, you'll barely even remember them! And then you get to make the same mistakes all over again it's really fun."
Lewinsky's response: "uhhhmmmmmmm."
Futurist and strategist Scott Steinberg recently gave credit to Lewinsky's in Forbes. "We know that social media is a cult of personality," said Steinberg. "She's a bit of a character, and to her credit she's become empowered by seizing the moment but also seizing the conversation. "The audience embraces the humor in her responses," Steinberg added.
"She is an example of how to respond to a crisis, even if it isn't recent," he continued. "We've seen that many celebrities — including Britney Spears and Sinead O'Connor — had those moments that could have been career threatening. We're starting to rethink those, and Lewinsky has been part of the conversation."
Lewinsky will always carry the fruit of her scandal and social media has given a voice to those who have little empathy. But at least now she can write her own punch line and she does it well.