Well done to Vogue. Amanda Gorman is a wonderful choice for a cover — someone who thoughtfully used fashion during her magic moment at the inauguration, who is lyrical and wise and inspirational, who has made words the coolest of tools. Her books come out in September; I’m almost surprised they didn’t wait for that peg, but I suspect there was something of a race to get her, so why wait? She’s also, interestingly, shot by Annie Leibovitz, whose lighting in her cover of Simone Biles was so widely reviled that it led to widespread criticism that Vogue hadn’t hired a Black photographer. I’m intrigued and a little surprised they hired Annie again, for a similarly stark shoot (just a girl and her backdrop). It feels redemptive of her in a way that probably isn’t necessary for a megafamous established photographer, and feels like another missed opportunity to elevate a phenom in the vein of Amanda herself.
The profile, written by Doreen St. Félix, does a lovely job letting Gorman be its star (which is as it should be, but not always the case). It talks a lot about her impressive achievements before and since that day in January, and about her as a person, and the sunny magnetism and radiant smarts she emits. There’s plenty to quite, but I liked these bits:
[S]he read from the entry she wrote that night, redacting a few lines as she went: “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.”
Gorman described once getting feedback after turning in a poem. She’d included a line about Dreamers, and “some people” at the institution, one she didn’t want to name, suggested she remove it. Instead, she arranged certain words so that the letters made an internal sound—“DACA.”