For 23-year-old Amanda Gorman, fame itself is a concept she has spent her whole life preparing for but nothing would have prepared her for the rapid plunge into fame that came with her inaugural ceremony poem, The Hill we Climb. In the May issue of Vogue, Amanda explores navigating fame as an outspoken Black woman and the values that continue to push her through work.
Amanda Gorman was born in Los Angeles, California to a 6th-grade teacher, Joan Wicks. Her mother, who now has a Ph.D. in education, encouraged her, like her two other children to hone their inner gifts––even limiting their access to television time. Amanda found an interest in reading and writing at an early age and focused on building it. Even before she knew she would be a spoken word poet or knew how to pronounce the ‘r’ in the word poetry, she had heard the word itself call to her.
Styled by Gabriella Karefa-Johnson (namesake to her twin), Amanda was surrounded by hues of yellow – one of her favorite colors for her first Vogue cover. It showed up in a vibrant African-patterned dress, the dusty backgrounds and the plain beautiful yellow dress. Photographer Annie Leibovitz is an expert at capture but it didn’t need an expert eye to see how much of a big statement that Amanda’s Prada Coat (at the inauguration) made. It seems everyone has fallen in love with this young literary genius and it’s not only because of her poetry.
Here are 3 things Vogue showed us about Amanda Gorman that we absolutely adore…
#1. Her impeccable work ethic
“I am the daughter of Black writers who are descended from Freedom Fighters who broke their chains and changed the world. They call me.”
Amanda recites this mantra before she goes on stage everywhere and it’s only an indication of her strong values, including black feminism, writing, and activism. Every other thing is a plus and not quite a necessity. This is which she is careful what sort of endorsements she accepts. She is not a model and so turns down fashion brands. She recently refused an endorsement worth $17Million because she couldn’t understand what the million dollars on the table were for. It’s simple for her, she is hardworking but chooses to not overcomplicate her life.
#2. How she handles the pressure of fame
Amanda was raised with a high moral standard. Her mother, understanding that she was raising a black daughter ensured that there wasn’t a photo or video out of place, any foot that goes forward for the world to see has to be her most excellent. Historically, poets have been popstars but her ambition differs, fame itself is a thing Amanda seeks to control.
“I don’t want it to be something that becomes a cage,” she said, “where to be a successful Black girl, you have to be Amanda Gorman and go to Harvard. I want someone to eventually disrupt the model I have established.”
#3. Her belief that she’s going to be president one day
“It took so much labor, not only on behalf of me but also of my family and my village, to get here.”
Her ambition has been semi-endorsed by a former Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton whom she describes fondly as ‘such a grandma’. And she uses such fond titles for her democrat friends and elders, even television host and businesswoman, Oprah Winfrey who has also endorsed (of some sort) her ambition.
Well, we can’t wait! President Amanda Gorman has a nice ring to it.
Read the full article here.
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