Amanda and Gabrielle Gorman
Born: March 7, 1998 or 1997
Birthplace: Los Angeles, CA
Zodiac Sign: Pisces
Amanda and Gabrielle Gorman were born in Los Angeles, California, in 1998 or 1997. They were raised by their single mother, Joan Wicks, a 6th-grade English teacher in Watts, with her two siblings. Gabrielle is an activist and filmmaker. Amanda has said she grew up in an environment with limited television access. She has described her young self as a "weird child" who enjoyed reading and writing and was encouraged by her mother.
Amanda has an auditory processing disorder and is hypersensitive to sound. She also had a speech impediment during childhood. Amanda participated in speech therapy during her childhood and Elida Kocharian of The Harvard Crimson wrote in 2018, "[Amanda] Gorman doesn't view her speech impediment as a crutch—rather, she sees it as a gift and a strength." In 2021, Gorman told CBS This Morning co-host Anthony Mason that she used songs as a form of speech therapy, and explained, "My favorite thing to practice was the song 'Aaron Burr, Sir,' from Hamilton because it is jam-packed with R's. And I said, 'if I can keep up with Leslie in this track, then I am on my way to being able to say this R in a poem."
The twins attended New Roads, a private school in Santa Monica, for grades K–12. As a senior, Amanda received a Milken Family Foundation college scholarship. She studied sociology at Harvard College, graduating cum laude in 2020 as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Amanda read her poem "The Hill We Climb" at the inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20, 2021, and is the youngest poet to read at a presidential inauguration in United States history. Jill Biden recommended her for the inauguration. After January 6, 2021, Amanda amended her poem's wording to address the storming of the United States Capitol.
Soon after Amanda's performance at the inauguration, her two upcoming books, the poetry collection The Hill We Climb and a project for youth, Change Sings: A Children's Anthem, were at the top of Amazon's bestseller list. Both are scheduled to be released in September 2021. A book version of the poem "The Hill We Climb" is scheduled to be released on March 16, 2021, with a foreword by Oprah Winfrey, and each of Gorman's three upcoming books will have first printings of one million copies.
Amanda was commissioned to compose an original poem to be recited at Super Bowl LV's pregame ceremony on February 7, 2021, as an introduction to the three honorary captains who would preside over the coin toss. The Washington Post reported that the honorary captains were essential workers "James Martin, a U.S. Marine veteran; Trimaine Davis, an educator; and Suzie Dorner, an ICU nurse manager," and that Gorman delivered the poem in their honor in a recorded video.