Amanda Gorman has become the first-ever poet to grace the cover of the high fashion magazine, Vogue, for its May issue. Rising to fame after her historic poem, ‘The Hill We Climb’, at President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January, Gorman has remained true to herself and only takes up roles or features that are aligned to her principles.
Gorman, for her Vogue cover, was styled in an eye-catching Louis Vuitton Blanket inspired by African textiles and designed by the illustrious Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton’s first Black artistic director.
In a shot by Annie Leibovitz, who has redeemed herself after the Simone Biles fiasco, the blanket was cinched at Gorman’s waist with a glamourous gold belt, revealing one shoulder and hand.
In an Instagram post, the Youth Poet Laureate wrote, “The first poet ever on the cover of @voguemagazine. I am eternally grateful & do not expect to be the last—for what is poetry if not beauty?” “What a joy to do this cover while wearing a piece designed by groundbreaking Black designer @virgilabloh that honors my heritage.”
As a spoken word poet, Gorman has faced her own challenges such as dealing with a speech impediment, and it okay to acknowledge one’s fears. An entry in her journal after her inauguration day poem read “I’ve learned that it’s okay to be afraid. And what’s more, it’s okay to seek greatness. That does not make me a black hole seeking attention. It makes me a supernova.”
This ‘supernova’ puts in the needed work and research to produce her works, however, aside from doing her part, her support system has been instrumental in who she is now. “It took so much labor, not only on behalf of me but also of my family and my village, to get here,” Gorman told Vogue.
“This is called the Rise of Amanda Gorman, but it is true for all of you, both named and unseen, who lift me,” she reiterated on Instagram.
Many are of the view that her Super Bowl appearance and IMG modeling deal came because of the inauguration day recital, but they were already in the works, and that does not shroud the fact that Gorman is the first poet to accomplish both feats.
For this reason, she is very protective of her image, and rightly so. According to Vogue, she is also very cautious of situations that will objectify and use her as a token rather than who she is and what she represents. She states that she recently turned down $17 million in offers because she would not compromise herself for the “expectations of some companies.”
“I didn’t really look at the details,” she said of one massive offer from a brand, “because if you see something and it says a million dollars, you’re going to rationalize why that makes sense. I have to be conscious of taking commissions that speak to me,” she said.
For now, the 23-year-old is focused on finishing her two books – a picture book titled Change Sings A Children’s Anthem and a highly anticipated collection, The Hill We Climb and Other Poems – which are set to be released in September and have already made Amazon’s bestseller list.
The prolific poet admits there is some sort of pressure to outdo herself in her cover story. “There’s pressure. How do you meet the last thing you’ve done?”