So far this month, in an effort to engage more with the press and connect with wider audiences, Hillary Clinton has sat for as many as 14 interviews with a range of outlets: television (MSNBC, ABC News), local (Cedar Rapids Gazette, WMUR), and a mix of entertainment and non-traditional (Jimmy Fallon, Refinery29).
The latest comes on Tuesday with the launch of Lenny Letter, a newsletter co-founded by HBO star Lena Dunham. For the debut, Dunham interviewed Clinton about her presidential campaign, "millennials," feminism, marriage, and miscellaneous topics such as the widely shared video and photos of the moment Lenny Kravitz's pants seam split open on stage during a recent concert.
The interview presents a light venue for Clinton as she and her campaign aides continue to field questions about the email account she used as secretary of state.
At the end of her interview, in a portion shared in advance of the Lenny Letter debut, Dunham asked Clinton to comment on the Donna Karan dress she wore to a White House governors' dinner soon after she became first lady in 1993.
The black dress, which Karan sent Clinton unsolicited, left bare both shoulders. The design became known as the "cold shoulder dress," spurring much outside commentary at the time, including a New York Times piece that noted, "A bare shoulder radiates demure sexuality, like Grace Kelly's in To Catch a Thief."
Dunham, seated across from Clinton, presented her with a photo from the 1993 dinner. Clinton clasped her hands. "That is one of my favorite dresses," she said. "Can I tell you?"
"Please tell us," said Dunham.
"I wore it for one of our first big events at the White House in 1993. It was a design of my friend, Donna Karan," Clinton said. "You know, like everything I do, it turned out to be controversial. I’m hardly a fashion icon… I absolutely admit that."
"To us you are," said Dunham.
"But I do like to fool around with fashion and have some fun with it, and so I wore this and, you know, a lot of the political pundits [were saying], 'What does that mean?' You know, 'What is the meaning of this,' and everything?"
Clinton shrugged: "I thought it would be fun. You’ve got to still have fun in all of these different roles that you’re in or I’m in or anybody is in their life. So, this was one of my favorites. It’s in the Clinton Library if anybody ever wants to see it."
When Dunham described the dress as "extremely chic," Clinton said, "Oh, maybe I should..." She paused. "Well, I'd have to really work out a lot, and, yeah..."
Dunham picked up on the suggestion:
Dunham: "I think you should bust it back out for a potential inauguration."
Clinton: "Do you think I should? Do you think I should try to get back into it?"
Dunham: "I do, I do."
Clinton: "I mean, like... retro?"
Dunham: "Yeah, I think it’s back. It’s circled back."
Clinton: "Well, you know, Donna says that no matter your age, your size, your shoulders always look good."
Clinton: "So? So... don’t you think we ought to be working on this?"
[Dunham and Clinton bump fists.]
Clinton: "I think we should do more, like, shoulder stuff."
Dunham: "Let’s do more shoulder stuff."
Clinton: "I’m really motivated my friend. This is exciting."
Other portions of the Lenny Letter interview — previewed in various news outlets last week — include comments from Clinton on the following questions:
"Do you consider yourself a feminist?" (via Politico)
"Yes, absolutely. I’m always a little bit puzzled when any woman of whatever age, but particularly a young woman, says something like, 'Well, I believe in equal rights but I’m not a feminist.' Well, a feminist is by definition someone who believes in equal rights."
“Did you see the footage where [Kravitz's] pants split?" (via Funny or Die)
“No, I missed that... Do you think I could get that… on YouTube? Yeah, I’ll look for that.”
"How do you convince [young women] that their voice, their vote, can actually make a difference?" (via MSNBC)
“You kind of can cut through that and say, 'Look, I not only have a right, I have an obligation to make a choice.' That’s part of the service I pay for living in our country. So I’m going to vote for X or Y. Not because I think that person is perfect, but it’s going to be better than the alternative. If you can’t get excited, be pragmatic and do it anyway."