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Monica Lewinsky: ‘Vanity Fair’ essay a PR win

» Posted by on May 7, 2014

 

Monica-LewinskyGood for you, Monica Lewinsky!

Monica Lewinsky is out with an essay published exclusively in Vanity Fair magazine in which she writes about her affair with President Clinton.

“It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress,” she writes. “I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton. Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.”

The writing is clear. The writing is crisp. And she does an excellent job taking ownership of what happened and reflecting to the public that she gets the scope, the significance and accepts it for what it is.

The article is not vengeful. It does not seem politically motivated. It seems very honest, real and good-hearted.

From what I’ve read, you walk away actually liking her.

I work with clients who are misunderstood or mischaracterized. And when you meet them and talk to them, you leave with a totally different impression.

It’s hard to convey that in a normal TV or magazine interview. Especially if you are put on the defensive.

But that is what this article was able to accomplish: Because of the messaging and the tone.

This was just beautifully done.

Lewinsky is now 40. She very grown up. No longer the White House intern.

She writes in Vanity Fair, “I am determined to have a different ending to my story. I’ve decided, finally, to stick my head above the parapet so that I can take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past. (What this will cost me, I will soon find out.)”

The writing I am certain was heavily edited as you might expect with an esteemed publication like Vanity Fair.

Monica Lewinsky may be smart and educated. But writing an article at this level just doesn’t happen. I suspect these were her thoughts and ideas, but the editors made it come alive. (Spoiler alert: It’s really no different than an editorial that runs a newspaper. Those are often heavily edited too.) I am absolutely okay with that.

About the affair, Monica Lewinsky blames no one, including the President. She says it was a relationship between two consenting adults.  Lewinsky writes: “Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position. . . . The Clinton administration, the special prosecutor’s minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me. And that brand stuck, in part because it was imbued with power.”

She acts so grown up in this essay. She absolutely owns up and takes responsibility. She is not feeling sorry for herself. It is about empowerment. There’s also no whining or complaining. She comes across as someone who has learned a lot in 40 years and has amazing perspective.

The article is brilliant. Rather than running and hiding, Monica Lewinsky so takes ownership,  embracing the past and turning it into something she can own.

When this scandal broke, the media and everyone who watched it dehumanized her. No one could possibly relate to that Monica Lewinsky. The ordeal was so far beyond normal.

But this Monica Lewinsky revealed in this essay is a different story. This essay made her relatable. It made herself real.

Suddenly women can now say, “Wow, there’s someone who took a bad experience and is turning it around.” They might be saying: ‘She is in control of her life and I like that about her.’ She’s likeable.

All I can say is great, great, great for Monica Lewinsky.

A lot of time has passed since that scandal and maybe everyone is finally ready to give her a break–just like they would want people to give them.

Hey, I’d love to know your take on this. Please weigh in in the comments section or on social media!

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Glenn Selig founded The Publicity Agency in 2007 and has represented some of the biggest newsmakers and most influential business leaders and companies nationwide. He is a frequent guest on MSNBC, Fox News Channel and on CNN. Reporters call him for an expert PR opinion on high profile cases to offer perspective. He also appears on air to publicly defend his clients. View the PR firm website and follow him on Twitter @GlennSelig