Monica Lewinsky—then and now! Sixteen years after she became America’s most infamous woman, former White House intern Lewinsky finally appears at ease in the June 2014 issue of Vanity Fair.
Unlike her troubled 23-year-old counterpart, Lewinsky, now 40, lounges and even beams for celebrity photographer Mark Seliger. “It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress,” Lewinsky writes of her mid-’90s affair with former president Bill Clinton—and bury the stained item, she does!
Lewinsky v. 2014 wears a soft white, lace, scalloped shift dress and casually lounges across a luxurious-looking red couch in one photo. The brunette gives a wide grin as she rests one hand against her wavy tresses.
She even goes head-to-head with Beyonce. “Thanks, Beyoncé, but if we’re verbing, I think you meant ‘Bill Clinton’d all on my gown,’ not ‘Monica Lewinsky’d,'” Lewinsky quips of the superstar’s “Partition” lyrics.
In the aftermath of the 1998 White House affair, Clinton was impeached and Lewinsky became a pop-culture punchline. She made subsequent appearances, only to appear awkward and uneasy at times. “I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton,” she reflects in her essay. “Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.”
Lewinsky’s revamped image is part of part of her agenda to distance her name from one of the biggest political scandals in history. “I am determined to have a different ending to my story,” she writes in her VF piece. “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.)”
That purpose, it turns out, was fueled by the September 2010 suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, who took his life after being publicly humiliated. “Perhaps by sharing my story, I reasoned, I might be able to help others in their darkest moments of humiliation,” she adds in her essay. “The question became: How do I find and give a purpose to my past?”
Vanity Fair‘s June 2014 issue hits newsstands May 13, and the digital edition goes live May 8.