The writer and activist said her forties were the "best decade" yet for her
Monica Lewinsky is embracing life at 50.
The producer and social activist, who had her milestone birthday on July 23, chatted with Savannah Guthrie on Tuesday’s episode of the Today show about why the last ten years of her life have been “the best past decade so far."
“I’m incredibly grateful,” said Lewinsky. “You know, turning 40 was horrible and turning 50 was very empowering."
She went on to share that she had a moment of reflection as the big 5-0 approached where it finally dawned on her how far she’d come. “I did a lot of personal work, just seeing out the old decade [and] what I want for the new one,” Lewinsky explained to Guthrie, 51. “And [one day I] found myself in the car, waiting for something, and just started to go through mentally all of the things that had happened this last decade.”
One of those things was producing 2021’s Impeachment: American Crime Story, the acclaimed FX series that recreated her world-famous affair with then-President Bill Clinton. The series was praised for its portrayal of Lewinsky's side of the story, helping viewers understand the pain she went through being thrust under the crucial judgment of public opinion and the harsh media landscape at the time.
Representation like that, Lewinsky shared on Today, played a direct role in her outlook on life now. She recalled thinking: “I was so overwhelmed with gratitude in that people see me for my true self now; that I have been able to find a purpose to my past; that my narrative has been revisited and I was able to reclaim it, in large part from younger generations.”
But ironically, the process of reclaiming her narrative required Lewinsky to become public again — which Guthrie pointed out was "the very thing that was most painful" for the former White House intern in the first place.
"Yes, it was terrifying," Lewinsky admitted, noting that she still today finds doing interviews "hard."
"It’s not natural for me. But it was — you know, it’s a long journey from ‘98," she said. "It’s been 25 years now. And I’m grateful, I’m really grateful for where things are now.”
Elsewhere during her conversation on Today, Lewinsky also spoke out about the work she’s done in recent years to combat bullying, including her newly-launched “Stand Up to Yourself” campaign against self-bullying.
“It’s such a universal topic, when you stop to think about it,” she said of the negative voice that people have in their heads, which the campaign aims to draw attention to.
At Guthrie’s encouragement, Lewinsky then shared a story about her own progress “course-correcting” her negative inner dialogue and how she talks to herself.
“It may sound a little hokey to some, but I had boxes unpacked and there was stuff everywhere and I tripped and totally fell — not, like, caught myself, totally fell. And I noticed that my reaction, the thoughts in my head, were, ‘Oh thank God I didn’t hurt myself,’ instead of, you know, ‘You f------ idiot. You klutz. Of course you fell.’ "
She continued, “And that was a big shift for me. Even though it’s small. And I think part of what can be really important with this is actually the witnessing part — the noticing. And that’s the first step with all of it, is just becoming mindful of how often we say these things [to ourselves].”
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The co-anchor also gave Lewinsky a shoutout as she shared that she is going to be honored with the Hetrick Martin Institute’s Emery Award, which is awarded to individuals who demonstrate leadership in the community and live out the institute’s mission: providing all young people, regardless of their sexual orientation or identity, with a safe and supportive environment.
Today airs weekdays on NBC (beginning at 7 a.m. ET).
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