Hillary Clinton Talks Student Debt and the ‘Cold Shoulder’ With Lena Dunham

4 minute read

During her college years at Wellesley College presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton protested against a litany of injustices, among them the school’s curfew policy that limited visiting hours between the sexes. The former Secretary of State revealed that and more in an interview with Lena Dunham published Tuesday.

The lighthearted interview appears appears in the first issue of Lenny, a feminist newsletter published jointly by Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, co-creators of the HBO series Girls and vocal Clinton supporters. Here are some highlights from the Q&A.

Clinton on her time at Wellesley

“We had lots and lots of vigorous debates back in those days. Civil rights, women’s rights, the Vietnam War, the assassinations of Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy — the campus was often in turmoil because of things that were happening in the larger world.”

[Clinton looking at a picture of herself leading a protest] “Curfews and visiting hours by men. That was what this was about. And you can see the crowd that it drew! These were people who really knew what they wanted….Turning the personal into the political is sometimes the only way to stay true to the personal.”

On a post-college road trip with friends

We drove all the way up to Alaska, went up the then-unpaved Alcan Highway, and we took odd jobs…My first job was to gut the salmon….I noticed that some of them didn’t look really healthy to me. So I raised it with the guy who was running the plant….Anyway, I go home that night, I go back the next day, and the whole operation has disappeared.”

“It was called ‘sliming.’ That’s what I started off doing. And I’ve often said it was a great experience for being in politics. You get the connection.”

On her marriage to Bill Clinton

“I was terrified about losing my identity and getting lost in the wake of Bill’s force-of-nature personality. I actually turned him down twice when he asked me to marry him.”

On debt held by America’s students

“We have $1.2 trillion in student debt, and this is an enormous problem. I want to give everybody a chance to refinance their debt. Bring the interest rates down, because oftentimes in crowds, I will say, “Who has student debt?” And so many hands go up.”

On whether she considers herself a feminist

“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!”

On race and law enforcement

“One of the areas where we have problems is the relationship between communities of color and the police forces who are to protect them. In those police forces now, we have many more police officers who are from different races, different backgrounds, so it’s not only a question of white versus black. It is a question of how force is used, how our law enforcement are trained, what kind of mind-set they have as they go about their daily jobs.”

On a photo of her as First Lady wearing a favorite dress

“This is what’s called a cold-shoulder dress. And 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. And like everything I do, it turned out to be controversial. I’m hardly a fashion icon.”

“Donna always says that no matter your age, your size, your shoulders always look good.”

Read next: Why Lena Dunham Thinks Even Conservatives Need to Read Her Newsletter

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