Francois G. Durand/Getty
Maria Coder
June 25, 2015 01:00 PM

It’s often said that living well is the best revenge – just ask Monica Lewinsky.

Looking fabulous, the public speaker and Vanity Fair contributor delivered a knockout speech on cyberbullying and online shaming at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France on Wednesday.

Lewinsky, 41, who has been called a vixen, dimwit, floozy, and slut, (and those are the nicer adjectives) for her affair with then-President Bill Clinton, says it’s time for empathy – particularly online.

Despite the high profile nature of her case, she was able to make her story relatable. Like me, at 22, a few of you may also have taken wrong turns and fallen in love with the wrong person, maybe even your boss Unlike me, though, your boss probably wasn t the President of the United States of America,” she said, according to New York Post’s Page Six.

Speaking candidly about her own experience on behalf of Ogilvy & Mather, one of the largest marketing communications companies in the world, she talked about feelings of shame and humiliation from nearly two decades ago. She then labeled herself as “patient zero,” the first private person to be publicly lose her reputation on an international scale.

I was branded as a tart, slut, whore, bimbo, floozy and of course that woman, I was seen by many but truly known by few It was hard to remember that woman had a soul and was once unbroken.

She adds: In 1998 I lost my reputation and my dignity, I lost almost everything, and I almost lost my life.

Monica Lewinsky at her speech in Cannes
Francois G. Durand/Getty

Lewinsky then turned her attention to the mechanics of the problem – saying she understands companies and brands need to make money but that there’s a better way.

“How is the money made?” Clicks. The more shame, the more clicks. The more clicks, the more advertising dollars. And the more advertising dollars… the more of what sells: shame,” reports Ad Age.

Monica wore black and white
Marc Piasecki/Getty

‘A marketplace has emerged where shame is a commodity and public humiliation an industry,’ she said.

She says creating a more compassionate society requires brands that represent their goals and values. “People make brands. If people are compassionate, brands will be compassionate in return.”

Lewinsky’s emotional speech won her a standing ovation.

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