Amanda Gorman will always be associated with the color yellow, because it’s what she was wearing when she rocked the Inauguration. Most of us discovered her that day, and in a bit of intentional synergy, it’s also what she had on when Dr. Jill Biden first saw her do a reading (Dr. Jill is who requested Amanda for the event). So, the color will always take us back to that day, and to what she laid out as her hopes for us, which have been hard to hold onto lately and are useful to remember. I have to think some of that played into this cover photo choice. I have some thoughts about the cover that I’ll put in the slideshow, but it’s cool to note that how they styled her hair here dovetails with what she said about her inauguration day look:

“I tried to play with having my hair go upwards, which, I think, is really a hallmark of Black hair. Everything about me, even my hair, my body, and my spirit is about defying gravity.” She was also honoring a tradition. “Thinking about the Civil Rights Movement, they marched in their Sunday best,” she says. “People were getting arrested and beaten with their hair done, with their clothes pressed, with makeup on. My ancestors were very intentional about using their appearance to counter the same forces that would say their appearance, or rather their skin color, should render them mute in democracy. So I really tried to honor that. I’m continuing a tradition of showing up to battle in the social justice theater of war as my best self.”

We are only supposed to use one quote and I had a really hard time deciding which one it should be. The whole interview is great, from her lyrical discussion of the use of makeup, to countering the oppressive notion that a woman writing a personal book is a mere act of vanity, to the ambassadorship with Estee Lauder that she fought to turn into a literacy initiative, to whether she feels safe as a powerful Black voice in today’s world. She’s tremendous. Please treat yourself.

[Photos: Djeneba Aduayom; story by Jessica Cruel]