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Cole was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the middle of three sisters. Her parents are Doris Freeland Cole, a retired kindergarten teacher who has devoted her life to her children, and the Honorable Harry A. Cole, the first Black judge on the Maryland Court of Appeals. Cole's sisters are Susan Hill, a vice president at Disney in Los Angeles, and Stephanie Hill, a vice president at Lockheed Martin in Maryland.
Harriette Cole went to public schools in Baltimore City including Dickey Hill Elementary School, Greenspring Junior High School and Western High School. She graduated from the all-girls' Western High School.
Cole worked for then freshmen member of Congress Barbara Boxer after she graduated from college. During that year she continued to freelance as a runway model. She became an assistant editor at Essence Magazine in the lifestyle section, then known as Contemporary Living.
For the next several years, Cole was promoted annually until she became the editor of that section. During her tenure in Contemporary Living Cole traveled all over the world documenting cultures of people of African descent. Her travels took her to the Ivory Coast in West Africa, Zimbabwe in Southern Africa, Bahia, Brazil, Paris, France, throughout the Caribbean and also across the United States.
In 1995 she left Essence and launched her own media company which is now titled Harriette Cole Media.
Through her 15-year-old business, Cole has participated in a broad range of projects. She has written a number of books including How to Be: A Guide to Conscious Living, Choosing Truth, Vows and Coming Together. She has helped to launch a number of magazines such as American Legacy Woman, Savoy, and Uptown. Cole led the visual transformation of Ebony magazine, and most recently served as editor in chief of the magazine. During her 3½ years at Ebony, Cole produced covers featuring Barack and Michelle Obama before he announced his run for the presidency, Michelle Obama in the thick of the campaign (Cole also wrote that cover story), Barack Obama days after he was elected, Michael Jackson for his final photo shoot and interview, and Prince.
Cole has provided presentation and empowerment workshops for businesses and institutions, including Speaking of Women's Health, Kraft, the Saralee Corporation, Cornell University, the National Urban League, National Action Network, Jack & Jill of America, Delta Sigma Theta and more.
Cole hosted a reality series on the ABC Family Channel, called Perfect Match New York. She hosted a daily radio show on XM Satellite radio, called Pulse. For the past ten years she has written the nationally syndicated advice column (six days a week), "Sense & Sensitivity," which is syndicated by United Media/United Features Syndicate. (See colesense.tumblr.com.)
She has been a frequent guest on the Today Show, offering advice on how to be your best. She has been featured on Access Hollywood, The Insider, MSNBC, LXTV, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Rachael Ray, NPR, BET and TVOne.
Harriette Cole has been married to fashion and beauty photographer George Chinsee since 1993. They have a young daughter, Carrie Emmanuelle Cole Chinsee, who was born in 2003. They reside in New York City.
- Harriette Cole unitedfeatures.com. Retrieved March 2011