Amanda Gorman wowed audiences across the nation with her poetry reading at the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, but growing up, she privately dealt with a speech impediment. In an upcoming an interview with Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts for the 20/20 special, Amanda Gorman: Brave Enough With Robin Roberts, the 23-year-old opened up about her impediment and the surprising thing she did to overcome it.
“I had a speech impediment from kind of the moment I could remember, and my mom was always really incredible in saying if anyone asks you why you speak this way, just tell them you were born this way,” she told Robin. She noted that she had trouble pronouncing words with “r” sounds and “had to work really hard for years and years and years and years” to overcome the impediment.
Interestingly enough, it was the Broadway musical Hamilton that actually helped her with the process. “It just compacts that sound over and over again,” she continued. “I would listen to the track of ‘Aaron Burr, Sir,’ and try to do it over and over and over again, and I told myself, ‘If you can do this song, you can speak this sound wherever.'”
Amanda previously opened up about speech impediment with CBS This Morning in March, adding that poetry became a great outlet for her. “It gave me the practice and the strength to the point that I could do something like an inaugural poem,” she said at the time. “I don’t consider having a speech impediment necessarily as a disability but actually as a strength. It gave me my greatest superpower, which is my voice.”
You can watch Amanda’s full interview when Amanda Gorman: Brave Enough with Robin Roberts — A Special Edition of 20/20 airs Sept. 15 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.
Image Source: Getty / Rob Carr