Actor Alan Cumming has been a friend since they were introduced by a mutual friend in 2000, when “she was hardly really human for human beings,” he said. (He described how, when they wanted to go out to eat, on one occasion they had reached a dining room above the penitentiary just to touch her.) “When you realize what she has been through, the fact that she is, who she is – this warm, friendly, funny, witty person – it’s just remarkable. ”
That’s right: Spend more than a few minutes with Lewinsky, and you quickly realize that she’s far smarter and funnier – often at her own expense – than she often got the credit for. She’s still cautious and at times cautious, but she’s a little looser, a little more confident than she was a few years ago.
These days, she uses her name (well, mostly) publicly. She’s comfortable interrupting an interview – or leaving a scene – if it’s going to a place she’s not comfortable with. She is financially independent for the first time – making a living from producing, speaking and advising fees.
And she can laugh at things she could not always. Such as. Clintons.
When I wrote about her in 2015, Lewinsky suddenly pulled out after an artist who had painted Bill Clinton’s portrait said in an interview that a “shadow” in his painting owned by the National Portrait Gallery should represent the affair. She was really sorry, she said, but she just felt too exposed to move on with the article. Eventually, she changed her mind.
But one recent afternoon, when we walked into a production studio for a meeting and were confronted with three giant posters with Hillary Clinton’s face – ads for the Hulu documentary, “Hillary” – she just laughed. “Well, that’s fun,” she said.
“It just does not affect me in the same way, you know?” she said later when I asked how it affects her to see the Clintons in the news. “They do not weave nearly as large as they did in two decades of my life.”
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