Beanie Feldstein has nothing but respect for Monica Lewinsky. The 28-year-old, who portrays Lewinsky in the upcoming show Impeachment: American Crime Story, reflected on the media circus surrounding the former White House intern's affair with Bill Clinton.
"I felt gutted by some of the things that Monica went through," Feldstein told W magazine. "My task is to be Monica's bodyguard — to put my body in front of hers. It's my job to portray her pain, because I feel so much for her."
The Booksmart star understands how Lewinsky entered into a relationship with the president in 1995.
"Monica and I are cut from the same cloth in so many ways," Feldstein explained. "We're both Jewish girls from L.A. who listen to show tunes on the treadmill! But still, I never felt less in my comfort place than when I was playing Monica. Obviously, I'm queer, so I don't know if I'd flirt with the president, but who knows? When Clinton shined his light on you, there was no better feeling in the world. It wouldn't matter if you were male, female, nonbinary, queer. When that man put his spotlight on you, the world fell away. And if I was 22 and the most powerful person in the world focused his high beams on me, I would probably do the exact same thing as Monica."
Although the women only met in person once due to COVID-19 restrictions, it's clear Feldstein is very sympathetic to what Lewinsky, now 48, dealt with decades ago.
"Monica's fame wasn't positive," Feldstein said. "When you're hurting, none of that fancy stuff like photo shoots or invitations to parties matters. From my own life experience, you can be on Broadway or at an awards show, but there’s always pain beneath the surface. That nuance is very hard to see from the outside."
Lewinsky, a writer, activist and speaker, is a producer on Impeachment and Ryan Murphy's latest installment of the anthology series was made with her blessing. Season 3 of American Crime Story premieres on FX on Sept. 7, 2021.