Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman Reveals What Michelle Obama Kept ‘Yelling' at Barack to Not Do at the Inauguration

The inaugural poet spoke to Ellen DeGeneres about her experience sitting next to former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama

In this Jan. 20, 2021, file photo, Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman speaks at the inauguration of President Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Eavesdropping can lead to really great stories; just ask Amanda Gorman.

On Tuesday, the inaugural poet, who inspired the world with her spoken word performance of "The Hill We Climb" at President Joe Biden's inauguration, told Ellen DeGeneres on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" about her experience sitting next to former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.

"I remember Michelle Obama, like, being close," the 22-year-old said. "And she kind of kept yelling at Barack, like, 'Stop hugging people. Stop getting close to people.'"

"And then when I was done, she kind of like pushed him out the way and gave me the just the biggest, warmest Michelle Obama hug."

Gorman, who gained "millions and millions of followers in under 48 hours," went on to reveal how she met the Obamas before her life-changing performance.

"I have met Michelle a few times before," she told DeGeneres. "Not Barack. And whenever I meet Michelle I hope that she forgets meeting me, because I just want a do-over. I just want a clean slate. Like, I just want to do it right this time. But she always remembers and she's always great."

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So, what is a hug from the former first lady like? Well, Gorman hilariously recalled, "When I hug her, I'm so short. My forehead is, like, in her belly button."

DeGeneres laughed.

"She's awesome. You can always – she's so down to Earth, as you know. You can be yourself around her," DeGeneres said. "And there's no do-over I'm sure."

During the interview, Gorman also reflected on how the performance impacted her life, especially her social media presence.

"I understand in some fashion that I was making history as the youngest inaugural poet," she said. "I didn't know really what that history would look like or the impact it would have."

"I just remember finishing, going back to my holding room and just swiping up on my Instagram, [asking], 'I wonder what people are saying.' And just my apps, my phone not functioning. Like, all the apps I typically used had crashed. I couldn't look at my photos, anything like that. And I hadn't expected that."

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