If there’s anyone who can speak credibly about recovering from a mistake, it’s Monica Lewinsky.
At The Hollywood Reporter’s Power Women in Entertainment breakfast Wednesday, Lewinsky used her own experience to send a powerful message to teenagers, who may know her only as a brilliant speaker.
“You may have no idea of my history,” Lewinsky said to 16- to 18-year-old participants from THP’s mentorship program present at the Hollywood celebration, along with presenters including Kesha, Awkwafina, Lupita Nyong’o and Hannah Gadsby. “Or, if you know the music of Eminem, G-Eazy, Kid Cudi and of course Beyonce, you might have heard of me.” (Lewinsky’s scandalized past of being an intern with a relationship with then-President Bill Clinton has been referenced in those song lyrics.)
She said, turning to the young women, some of whom would go on to receive scholarships at the event, “All of us here this morning, outside of you who are in the program, have something in common. … We have all made a mistake in our career that had consequences. And we can all probably agree that when it comes to being in this room (my mistake wins),” the anti-bullying advocate said.
Lewinsky joked about how spending some time testifying before a grand jury was less than fun, but something positive came out of the experience. A stranger in court gave her sage advice.
The woman told Lewinsky, “Monica, none of us in this room is perfect. We all fall and we fall several times again. The only difference between my age and when I was your age, is now I get up faster,” Lewinsky recalled.
“I was roughly eight years older than most of you who are in the program are now when she said this to me, and I have now lived longer to know that she was 100 percent right,” Lewinsky said.
“Painful as they may be, mistakes may give you the chance to become that stronger, rebuilt woman; a more resilient and expanded self,” she said. “When that mistake eventually knocks on your door, I hope that you think back to today. Remember everyone in this room. And remember that we have all been where you are, and we are living and breathing.”
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