Amanda Gorman says she’s turned down $17m in deals since inauguration

Chelsea Ritschel
·3-min read
Amanda Gorman is featured on Vogue’s May cover (Getty Images)
Amanda Gorman is featured on Vogue’s May cover (Getty Images)

Amanda Gorman has been featured on the cover ofVogue after gaining national recognition as the inaugural poet.

On Wednesday, the fashion magazine announced on social media that the 23-year-old poet had been chosen for Vogue’s May issue, making her the first-ever poet to be featured on the cover.

@TheAmandaGorman is our May cover star! Poet, activist, optimist, style icon - Gorman has become so much more than a literary star. Meet the phenomenon in the making,” the outlet announced on Twitter.

The issue features two covers, both of which were shot by photographer Annie Leibovitz and styled by Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, with one featuring Gorman dressed in a bright green, orange and red Louis Vuitton Kente gown by Virgil Abloh.

On the second cover, the National Youth Poet Laureate appears in a Dior Haute Couture beige lace dress, with the look accessorised with one of Gorman’s statement headbands, also designed by Dior.

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In the accompanying interview, the writer discussed her dream of one day becoming president, revealing that she has the “unofficial endorsements of Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama,” who she referred to as “such a grandma,” and “the cool auntie,” respectively.

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Gorman also reflected on the fame she has experienced since performing at Joe Biden’s inauguration, telling the outlet that she has turned down what she estimates to be $17m in offers to work with brands.

According to Gorman, she does so by not really looking “at the details,” noting that “if you see something and it says a million dollars, you’re going to rationalise why that makes sense,” but that she wants to be conscious of taking “commissions that speak to me”.

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Despite turning down offers, Gorman has continued to receive countless requests from brands to collaborate on projects, with Vogue reporting that the 23-year-old’s team eventually had to request that brands stop sending flowers.

Vogue also spoke with Gorman and her mother, Joan Wicks, about the inauguration ceremony, which took place shortly after the Capitol insurrection, and how Wicks and her daughter had practised safety measures ahead of the day.

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“I did have Amanda practice, how, in a second’s notice, I could become a body shield,” Wicks told the outlet, before describing “crouching over her child in the hotel room the night before”.

On Instagram, Karefa-Johnson reflected on the importance of Gorman’s covers in a lengthy statement, where she wrote: “Words can scarcely describe how I feel about this cover. Oh, how widely my Sierra Leonean grandfather, my grandmother, and all of my ancestors must be smiling.

“How chuffed they would be to see a symbol of our heritage celebrated in this way - how astounded they would be by a young Black woman so graciously and confidently commanding the world stage as Amanda has - so beautiful and so powerful and so emblematic of a better future.”

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Gorman also shared a photo of the cover on her own Instagram, where she spoke of the importance of becoming the first-ever poet to be featured on Vogue’s cover.

“I am eternally grateful & do not expect to be the last - for what is poetry if not beauty?” she wrote.

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The poet also thanked the team who made the cover possible, continuing: “What a joy to do this cover while wearing a piece designed by groundbreaking Black designer @virgilabloh that honours my heritage. It was a dream to be photographed by the indomitable @annieleibovitz & styled by @gabriellak_j who literally would carry me on her back & forth between set.”

“This is called the Rise of Amanda Gorman, but it is truly for all of you, both named and unseen, who lift me up,” she added.