Thursday 23 November 2017

US Diary - Lewinsky's
 guru plan draws fire

Monica Lewinski has been getting media training
Monica Lewinski has been getting media training

Orla Healy

Monica Lewinsky has more than charity dinners on her agenda. In her first TV interview since 2003, which will be broadcast Stateside tonight, the brunette, who turns 41 in a fortnight, is brimming with the kind of confidence that comes with media training. And a plan.

"To be called stupid, and a slut, and a bimbo, and ditzy, and to be taken out of context, it was excruciating," Lewinsky says, in an advance clip released by the National Geographic Channel.

Talking about the day (September 11, 1998) Ken Starr released his epic 445-page report, Lewsinsky rattles off a well-polished response. "That was one of the worst days of my life. I was a virgin to humiliation of that level, until that day," she says.

"To have my narrative ripped from me, and turned into the Starr Report, and things that were turned over or things they delved out of my computer that I thought were deleted. I mean, it was just violation after violation."

She also comes down hard on the media coverage at the time: "To be in the vortex of this media maelstrom was quite alarming, and frightening. And confusing. I think a lot, too, had to do with the fact that I was a woman."

While that last sentiment is being viewed with scepticism, industry observers say Monica's plan to reinvent herself as a self-help guru for women who are publicly humiliated is even more of a stretch. Or as The Daily Beast headlined a piece about talk that the London School of Economics grad is trying to land gigs on the lecture circuit: Monica Lewinsky is doomed. One agent, who consulted with Lewinsky on the plan to relaunch herself into the workforce, tells The Beast: "When I met with her and her handlers, I said: 'I'm going to be very blunt with you. I can't think of any accomplishment of yours, other than being seduced by the most powerful man in the world. I don't fault you. Anyone would have succumbed. But what have you been doing since then? What have you done to correct the situation? What have you done for someone else? Or is the story that because you were so damaged by all of this, so inextricably linked to this scenario, that you couldn't move on with your life?' Which is a story in itself."

Still, some of the New York PRs who talked to The Beast say there is one very obvious opportunity for someone with Monica's skill set - aka her "incomparable expertise and experience" about "the workings of the media and the perverse processes of scandal" - it would make her an ace crisis PR strategist

Orange not the only suit

ORANGE is not the new black for internet sensation Jeremy Meeks. The "Hot Convict," whose mugshot went viral after he was arrested on weapons charges in California last month, is worried that his burgeoning career as a model will be jeopardised if he is forced to appear in court wearing an orange jumpsuit and shackles.

The blue-eyed 30-year-old with smouldering good looks - and a tear-drop tattoo - is behind bars on $1.1m bail pending a hearing on Tuesday. His lawyer, Tai Bogan, filed a motion last Wednesday asking if his client (who he claimed, has "become woven in the fabric of pop culture,") could wear something less offensive. It took the judge all of one minute to throw that one out.

Bogan is now planning to file a request that all cameras be banned from the courtroom. Meeks, who hired a second Hollywood agent last week, expects to pull in between $30,000 and $100,000 a month on modelling jobs and endorsement deals. No word yet on how he manages to pull this off while serving time. Or what company came up with the brilliant idea of using a felon to promote its product.

'Notebook' not so romantic

Fans of The Notebook were dismayed last week when director Nick Cassavetes revealed how Ryan Gosling tried to have his co-star - and then girlfriend - Rachel McAdams thrown off the film. In an interview with VH1 to mark the 10th anniversary of the weepie, Cassavetes shopped Gosling for bad behaviour.

"They were really not getting along one day on set. Really not. And Ryan came to me, and there's 150 people standing in this big scene, and he says: 'Nick, come here.' And he's doing a scene with Rachel and he says: 'Would you take her out of here and bring in another actress to read off-camera with me?' I said, 'What?' He says: 'I can't do it with her. I'm just not getting anything from this.'"

Instead, Cassavetes says he put the two in a room and let them yell it out."The rest of the film wasn't smooth sailing," he said dryly, "but it was smoother sailing."

Russian veto trumps 'Cards'

THOSE guys in the Kremlin really don't care who they offend. Even if it is Frank Underwood. In a silly piece of posturing last week, the Russians vetoed a vote to allow House of Cards Season 3 film in the chamber of the UN Security Council. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was fully behind the plan to shoot two episodes of the Netflix show in the horse-shoeshaped space, which has been the backdrop for historic debates over dramas such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the crisis in Ukraine. "We are of [the] opinion that the Security Council premises should be available at any time and on short notice," Mikael Agasandyan, UNSC coordinator for the Russian delegation said. "Besides that, we consistently insist that the Security Council premises are not an appropriate place for filming, staging, etc."

The Chinese were a bit iffy too but it turns out they just wanted plot spoilers, as they said they felt they "should have a rough idea on scripts for those episodes which are relating to our work". Right.

Sunday Independent

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