The meaning behind Amanda Gorman's inauguration look - including her caged bird ring

Amanda Gorman's inauguration look lit up social media.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman speaks during the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. During today's inauguration ceremony Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Amanda Gorman's inauguration look lit up social media as did her powerful words. 

Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez may have been the headline acts, but when Amanda Gorman took to the stage at the Washington Mall, she delivered the standout performance. 

In just six minutes the 23-year-old poet gave us a lesson in optimism and togetherness - as well has in how to celebrate black beauty and culture with on point highlighter and this gorgeous headband-and-twists combo. 

The words to Amanda's "The Hill We Climb" poem for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris' presidential inauguration moved a nation. But it was her fresh look that has inspired a whole generation of young black women.  

Twitter erupted with praise for Amanda's performance but also her glowing barely-there makeup. With the sunlight catching her skin, you could just make out the golden-hued highlighter on her cheekbones and in the inner corners of her eyes, offset with a simple cat eye flick. The finishing touch was a cool, oversized red Prada headband that sat on top of her twists, which were pulled into a topknot.

One Twitter user @loveg0dherself tweeted, "Ok, Amanda Gorman! Braids fresh, makeup glowing, poetry beautifully written. I can't help but stan." 

Amanda's jewelry has also caused a stir as it carried powerful significance. Oprah gifted the young Poet Laureate a pair of gold hoops from Nikos Koulis's Energy Collection, one the best sustainable jewellery brands, as well as a birdcage ring by Of Rare Origin to honor previous inauguration poet Maya Angelou, author of "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." 

This gesture continues Oprah's tradition of supporting poets ahead of their meaningful address. When Angelou was chosen to read a poem at Bill Clinton's 1993 inauguration, Oprah sent her a blue Chanel coat to wear for the occasion.

While this is Gorman's most high-profile appearance to date, she likely has many more to come as her star continues to rise. 

Fiona Embleton

Fiona Embleton is a multi-award-winning beauty editor who has tested over 10,000 products in her 10 years +  of writing and shooting beauty stories. For the past four years, she was the Senior Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, having previously worked in the role of Beauty Editor at both Stylist and Cosmopolitan. She has recently gone freelance and alongside My Imperfect Life, she has written for titles including ELLE UK, ELLE Canada, Buro 247, Harper's Bazaar Arabia, Vogue Scandinavia, and ES Magazine. Beauty journalism allowed her to marry up her first-class degree in English Literature and Language (she’s a stickler for grammar and a self-confessed ingredients geek) with a passion for make-up and skincare, photography, and catwalk trends. She loves jumping on the latest internet-breaking beauty news, dissecting the best red carpet looks, and having the crème de la crème of dermatologists, make-up artists, and hairstylists on speed dial so she can tap them for the best advice. She’s a discerning beauty shopper and knows it can be confusing trying to navigate what’s hype and what really works. So if she really likes something, you can trust that she has reached that opinion by vetting it against everything else she’s ever tried. Her career highs? Interviewing Cate Blanchett and winning a Jasmine Award for the deeply personal feature Cancer Stole My Mother’s Scent.