It’s been a big week for 23-year-old US poet and advocate Amanda Gorman. A book of her poem, “The Hill We Climb”, which she read at President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January, was released, rocketing straight to the top spot on The New York Times bestseller list. And she did a sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey for an Apple TV special.
But some would argue an even bigger coup is appearing on the May cover of US Vogue, photographed by Annie Leibovitz, who has also shot Princess Diana and Kate Moss.
Overnight, Los Angeles-based Gorman shared the “unveiling” of her cover in an Instagram video with her mother, Joan Wicks, whose reaction via Zoom was priceless. “That’s my daughter! That’s my daughter on Vogue!” Wicks shrieked as Gorman pulled the glossy tome out of a nondescript white envelope.
The cover features Gorman in a one-off design by Louis Vuitton’s menswear designer, Virgil Abloh, and incorporates tributes to his Ghanian roots through the pattern and colours.
In the video, Gorman tells her mother, who was at the shoot, that she had no idea which photograph would be used for the cover, but that she was elated with the choice made by the magazine’s leadership, headed by Anna Wintour.
“I felt so amazing wearing it, knowing it was designed by a black designer,” Gorman says. “It’s everything, I love it so much … [Leibovitz] made me feel so incredibly comfortable so we could get a shot like this, which is just me and all of who I am.”
Another cute moment on the video features Wicks holding up the family dog, Lulu, who Gorman once credited with keeping her grounded amid her rising fame. “To [Lulu], I’m still the same, nothing’s changed, I still have to pick up her poop … and rub her belly,” Gorman previously told the BBC.
Inside the magazine, Gorman is pictured in a range of looks by designers including Dior and Alexander McQueen. But she singled out a dress by Studio 189 in her favourite hue of yellow, the same colour as the Prada coat she wore to the inauguration.