Amanda Gorman and Meena Harris; all photos by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Estée Lauder
On Wednesday, Nov. 2, over steak frites and Branzino at Sunset Tower Hotel, Estée Lauder celebrated its second campaign with poet, author, activist and its “Global Changemaker” Amanda Gorman. Following a debut makeup campaign last March for Estée Lauder's Double Wear Foundation, Gorman has teamed with the brand on the Advanced Night Repair ("Repair is epowering. Repair is freedom. Repair is change," she writes)—as well as in driving awareness for its partnership with Vital Voices via a recently launched philanthropic platform, the Estée Lauder Emerging Leaders Fund.
Gorman, Estée Lauder Companies Executive Group President Stéphane de La Faverie, and Vital Voices Global Partnership President and CEO Alyse Nelson
“The mission of the fund is to change the face of leadership,” said Stéphane de La Faverie, Executive Group President of The Estée Lauder Companies. “In our history with the Estée Lauder brand, we have an amazing founder—Estée Lauder, a great woman founder, 76 years ago. When you think about it back then, she was kind of unique in her way, visionary, never took 'no' for an answer. And one of the missions of the fund is also not only to pay respect and to honor Estée, but because we want to invest and to see more women like her around the world. And today, we have our Global Changemaker," he said of Gorman. "And she’s changing, every single day, the face of leadership."
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Gorman, who loved that Estée Lauder was receptive to her ideas, opened up about her own journey and struggles in a conversation with Vital Voices CEO Alyse Nelson. “Growing up, and I should be more explicit, for the first 22 years of my life, I actually had a speech impediment in which many sounds of the English alphabet were difficult for me to say,” Gorman said. “But the most arduous letter for me was the letter ‘r’. So we’re talking words like 'girl,' 'world,' 'earth,' 'poetry,' 'university,' 'reading.' All of those were words that I wasn’t stably able to say until maybe I was a junior in college. And as you can imagine, being a spoken-word poet, that made my job a little more difficult but it also challenged me. … And that’s kind of the origin of how I use my hands when I perform. It’s not necessarily just for artistry, but it was my way of trying to engage with my audience." Gorman wasn't defeated by her challenge, and instead, was empowered by it: "After that, I think it made me all the stronger—not just as a writer, but as a leader," she said. "And I see it not as a vulnerability but as a victory, and not as a deficiency, but as the difference that made me great at being who I am.”
Gorman and Nelson in conversation
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