HOLLYWOOD, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Five years ago the most fascinating woman in America was not a movie star, rock singer or model, but an unknown young female suddenly thrust into the national limelight. She was an anomaly made instantly famous, forever losing her anonymity, by fooling around with the president of the United States.
A respectable Beverly Hills Jewish girl, she became a faceless White House intern (read gofer) for the most powerful man on the planet. A slightly chubby, singularly unremarkable girl, she revealed herself to be ambitious and sexually adventurous if not assertive.
Her flirtation led to sex games with William Jefferson Clinton, who had a reputation for being something of a satyr, a man impatient with his nuptial vows. It was not so much a boy-meets-girl scenario as lecher-meets-adventuress, a not-uncommon situation in 20th-century America.
The twain, in fact, did meet, much to the consternation of the philanderer's wife, the country's amazement and the everlasting celebrity of the ambitious young woman whose charms proved briefly addictive to the leader of the free world.
Their contretemps will be clarified at long last for America and the rest of the world by the infamous heroine herself on Sunday (10-11:45 p.m. EST) via the Home Box Office network.
The "America Undercover Sundays" show will be repeated twice: Monday and Wednesday.
An unflustered, slender and composed Lewinsky handles herself with dignity and aplomb as she responds to questions asked by an audience of students at New York City's Cooper Union University over the course of three days taped in the spring of 2001.
Her agreement to do this documentary for HBO followed the Jan. 22, 2001, deadline when Lewinsky's immunity agreement with independent counsel Kenneth Starr expired, leaving her free to discuss previously restricted details of the investigation.
The students were primarily undergraduates and graduate law students, along with American history and psychology students.
The audience members were free to ask any questions they chose, and Lewinsky answered them as she saw fit, sometimes not altogether candidly.
Dressed in a dark suit and open-neck white blouse, Lewinsky's long straight black hair fell well below her shoulders.
"I saw this as an opportunity to fill in historical gaps, and to try to correct misconceptions and half-truths that were promulgated by the media," Lewinsky explains.
The show includes excerpts from Clinton's taped 1998 deposition before Starr's office of the independent counsel and with public records. Lewinsky also answers questions about subjects she could not have addressed in previous interviews, including those with the FBI and Starr prosecutors in January of 1998. She deals with the issues of parent-child privilege and privacy.
More to the point, Lewinsky has become a star in her own right, a bright, attractive, well-dressed, poised businesswoman of 28 who designs and sells women's handbags. She has come a long way since her first encounter with the president when she was 22 and a new intern. On Nov. 15, 1995, Lewinsky and Clinton had their first intimate encounter.
That changed Lewinsky's world forever. So, for that matter, did their affair help impeach Clinton.
From their first romantic meeting in 1995 until Clinton last met with Lewinsky in December 1997, the president gave her 18 gifts and she gave him some 30 presents.
Records show Clinton made 50 telephone calls to her Washington home. The lovers met for the last time, according to legal testimony, on Dec. 28, 1997, at which meeting he gave her seven farewell gifts.
It's not made clear how emotionally entangled the principals were or if there existed plans to continue their relationship once the president left the White House.
Nor does Lewinsky dwell on whether their relationship was based on romantic love rather than purely sexual adventures or if she considered the possibilities of a serious long-lasting entanglement. Nor does the chic, self-assured Lewinsky get involved in speculation that she and Clinton ever discussed the ramifications of divorce and marriage.
It is understood that Lewinsky was paid handsomely by HBO for her time-consuming involvement with the "Monica, Black & White" project, which should lift the cable network's viewership dramatically.
Clearly, the student questioners were more inclined to be sympathetic toward Lewinsky than hostile, allowing her to come off more likable than otherwise.
Lewinsky gives the impression that she was an innocent young thing caught up in the excitement and power of a president rather than with the man himself whom she later referred to as "Schmucko" to friend Linda Tripp, who blew the whistle on the affair.
Nor was Lewinsky all that innocent. One of her high school teachers announced that they had a five-year affair when Lewinsky was a student.
Whatever the future holds for Lewinsky, she will be linked with a president who was impeached after what amounts to an incautious dalliance.