The Poetic Justice of Amanda Gorman’s Estée Lauder Contract

The inside story of how it happened and why it matters.

There was a moment, starting on Jan. 20, 2021, as the 23-year-old poet Amanda Gorman stood on the steps of the Capitol in her sunny yellow coat, reading her work “The Hill We Climb” at President Biden’s inauguration, when the viewing country seemed to go into a collective swoon.

The wooing and offers rained down soon after: Would she be the face of this product? The spokeswoman for that one? Would she marry her image and fame to a big brand?

A mere month or so later, she told Vogue for a May cover story, she had turned down about $17

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