Monica Lewinsky Is the New Face of Reformation – US 247 News


The next act in the career of Monica Lewinsky, the White House intern turned anti-bullying activist, writer and producer? Modeling. Ms. Lewinsky is the star of a new campaign introduced this week by Reformation, a fashion brand.

The campaign, called “You’ve Got the Power,” is meant to promote not only the brand, but also voter registration ahead of the 2024 election. Ms. Lewinsky, 50, told The New York Times that she was flattered, if a bit stunned, to be tapped for the project, which is — not incidentally — the latest marker on her path toward self-acceptance.

Growing up in Los Angeles, a city where she said beauty was achieved “with smoke and mirrors,” she “didn’t fit the mold.” She was a “chubby” brunette who, she said jokingly, had real “boobs.”

Although Ms. Lewinsky said she relished the opportunity to issue “a gentle reminder to women to make sure that they register to vote” by appearing in the campaign, she was swift to acknowledge that the project also appealed to her vanity. She saw it as a way to earn “street cred with a new generation,” she said, and hoped that Reformation’s perceived cool factor would somehow rub off on her.

“I’ll take any opportunity for people to think I’m cool,” she said, laughing on a phone call from her home in Los Angeles. Since the campaign came out, some people on social media have said that it’s the first time they have heard of Ms. Lewinsky. Others on social media have called her an icon.

In a series of photographs by Zoey Grossman, Ms. Lewinsky projects self-assurance and a subtle sensuality. Some images show her playing boss, her hair backswept, wearing items including a black leather trench coat and a scoop neck midi dress. In another photo, she exudes glamor in a close-fitting red top and a matching flared skirt.

The campaign’s work-appropriate wardrobe, priced from $78 to $798 (for the leather trench), was conceived to appeal to an ever-widening range of consumers, said Hali Borenstein, Reformation’s chief executive. Some 70 percent of Reformation customers are under 35, she added.

The idea to approach Ms. Lewinsky came from Lauren Caris Cohan, Reformation’s chief creative officer, who said she had admired Ms. Lewinsky ever since hearing “The Price of Shame,” her 2015 TED Talk in which she campaigned for a world free of bullying . Ms. Cohan said she was struck by how Ms. Lewinsky “used her voice for good,” and recalled with a laugh how she had hoped to enlist Ms. Lewinsky for the campaign by inviting her to dinner and presenting her with a sack full of Reformation cashmere sweaters.

For Ms. Lewinsky, who had never been photographed for a fashion campaign, there were some challenges. “I’m not comfortable in front of a camera,” she said. “I find it stressful even to choose what you’re supposed to wear.” To help her pose confidently, the Reformation marketing team provided a coach. “That gesture made all the difference,” Ms. Lewinsky said.

Still, the prospect of vamping for a photo shoot resurfaced many of the insecurities that had plagued her as a girl and as a young woman who endured relentless scrutiny in the late ’90s because of her affair with former President Bill Clinton. “People weren’t very kind,” she said. “And they weren’t very kind about the way I looked. Those experiences still impact me today.”

Experience has cost her, but it has taught her as well. “I’m learning to weather the storm,” she said. “I’ve found that resilience is a muscle you build.”

Ms. Lewinsky, who is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, said she was “embracing the idea that I can have a multi-hyphenate career.” She plans for it to include more activism for mental health issues, an outgrowth of her near-evangelical stance on bullying. “That has become a priority for me,” she said.

She is also intent on developing female-supportive film projects, she said. Among them is a limited television series about Amanda Knox’s ordeal as a college student who was convicted of murder and later exonerated.

Ms. Lewinsky’s absorption with work is but one indication of her striking ability to bounce back. “My therapist, who deals with trauma, told me it takes a long time of things feeling different to start feeling safe,” she said.