Amanda Gorman recently shared about her experience attending the 2021 Presidential Inauguration, and joked that she overheard Michelle Obama telling her husband Barack to "stop hugging people." Gorman, a 22-year-old poet, was invited to the historical event to recite a poem, choosing "The Hill We Climb," which brought many to tears. While speaking to Ellen DeGeneres in a virtual interview this week, Gorman revealed some of what she encountered at the big event, and quipped that the former First Lady was "yelling" at Barack to "Stop hugging people! Stop getting close to people!"
However, Michelle apparently forgot to practice what she preached when she encountered Gorman. "When I was done, she kind of pushed him out of the way and gave me just the biggest, warmest Michelle Obama hug," Gorman said. She also shared that the inauguration was her first time meeting the former U.S. president, but that she has met Michelle a few other times. "When I hug her, I'm so short my forehead is like in her bellybutton, and it's the best feeling," Gorman gushed. Notably, Gorman made history by being the youngest inaugural poet in the history of the United States.
In a separate interview with Vogue, Gorman opened up about her remarkable accomplishment and related it to what she sees as its importance to the new Biden/Harris administration. "Before me, the youngest poet to have done it was Richard Blanco, who was 44 at the time. It’s important for the next generation to see," she told the outlet. "If you look statistically, the people feeling most depressed at this time [are in] my age group. It’s the Gen-Zers. To have space in such a public and important event where that youth and that generation can have a voice — I'm just so honored that I get to stand in that role."
Gorman also spoke about the poem she read and shared a little about its significance to the moment, "There are all these different kinds of layers of stress that are on the American people right now. It was a hill I had to climb in itself. I wrote it with the idea that this isn't the moment to say, 'Ding-dong the witch is dead,' and dance on the grave of Trump. It’s a real opportunity to unite the people of the United States and focus our gaze on the future, and the ways in which we can collaborate and move forward together."