Nicole Avant

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Nicole Avant
Avant, Nicole.JPG
13th United States Ambassador to the Bahamas
In office
October 22, 2009 – November 21, 2011
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byNed Siegel
Succeeded byJohn W. Dinkelman
Chargé d'Affaires
Personal details
Born (1968-03-06) March 6, 1968 (age 51)[1]
Los Angeles County, California[1]
Spouse(s)Ted Sarandos
FatherClarence Avant
EducationCalifornia State University, Northridge (B.A.)
Political activist

Nicole A. Avant (born March 6, 1968) is a former United States Ambassador to the Bahamas from 2009–2011.


Early career[edit]

Nicole Avant is the daughter of Clarence Avant, the "The Black Godfather" and chairman of Motown Records.[2] During her childhood, Jimmy Carter, Tom Bradley, Gray Davis, and Jerry Brown were frequent visitors to the family's estate in Hollywood.[3]

Nicole Avant graduated in 1984 from the California State University, Northridge with a B.A. in communications. She started her career working for the promotion division of A&M Records in Los Angeles. In 1988, she was named vice president of Interior Music Publishing, her father's music company.[4][3]

In 2006, Nicole Avant helped launch the Culture Cabinet, and organized fundraising events for Harold Ford Jr. in Tennessee before becoming the Southern California finance co-chairwoman for the Barack Obama 2008 presidential campaign (along with Charles Rivkin), while her dad was fundraising for Hillary Clinton.[4][3]

US Ambassador to the Bahamas[edit]

Avant was appointed United States Ambassador to the Bahamas by President Barack Obama on June 16, 2009, and was sworn in on October 22, 2009 and served until November 21, 2011.[5][6][7] At 41, she was the first black woman and the youngest US Ambassador to the Bahamas ever.[4] During her term, Ambassador Avant was nominated for the State Department's Sue M. Cobb Award for exemplary diplomatic service [8] and she is remembered as one of the more popular Ambassadors to have served the U.S. in the Island nation.[9]

Nicole Avant has worked with local advocacy groups for people with disabilities. She hosted Eunice and Francesca Shriver to raise awareness for Special Olympics-Bahamas.[10] She also brought Magic Johnson to the Bahamas Chamber of commerce to advise on trade with the US.[4]

A State Department inspector general's report on the U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas praised the Ambassador and the embassy noting that "The large and diverse law enforcement community in Mission Bahamas works well together, under the Ambassador’s leadership, to counter threats to U.S. national security."[11] the report also noted that the Ambassador and the new deputy chief of mission, whom she had hired, were "emerging strongly from a period of dysfunctional leadership and management."[12] The inspector general found Nicole Avant was frequently away from the embassy often traveling to and from her home in Los Angeles. When she was in the Bahamas, she often worked from her office at the residence rather than working at the embassy. Nicole Avant "was absent from [her] post for 276 days during a 670-day period from November 19, 2009, to September 19, 2011—an average of 12 days per month. The 276 days include...102 personal leave days. [She] also traveled to the United States for 77 work days on what she identified as business, with 23 days on what appear to have been official travel orders." The report found she "had not had frequent policy-level interaction with the [State] Department or other Washington agencies... She relied unduly on her [deputy chief of mission] to attend to day-to-day contacts with the [State] Department." The report offered praise for the service levels from the consular section, noted an "invigorated" public affairs section and reported that "she (Avant) and her staff have improved the embassy’s reputation among Bahamians. This, in turn, has fostered a close bilateral environment that is conducive to excellent law enforcement cooperation."[13] [14][15][16][17][18]

In response, Avant said that she had inherited a dysfunctional embassy, and the new executive team she appointed had improved things.[19]

Nicole Avant resigned in November 2011 and informally worked on Barack Obama's 2012 re-election efforts, including fundraising.[4]

Post-politics activities[edit]

In 2019, she produced the Netflix-distributed movie The Black Godfather.[2]


  • 2012 : 20th Annual Trumpet Awards's International Award[20]

Personal life[edit]

Nicole Avant is married to Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer for Netflix[21][22].

In 2010, the couple purchased a Hollywood residence for $5.4 million from Max Azria, and sold it in 2017 for $8.825 million. In 2010, the couple also purchased a beachfront house in Malibu from David Spade for $10.2 million.[23]


  1. ^ a b "California Birth Index, 1905-1995 [database on-line]". Provo, Utah: Operations Inc. 2005. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b Louisa Strauss (May 2019). "At Home with Nicole Avant, the Ambassador-Turned-Filmmaker Who Honors Her Father in a Netflix Documentary". Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Tina Daunt (20 April 2007). "A daughter follows her own heart". Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e Evan Wade (8 June 2015). "Nicole Avant (1968-)". Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Nicole A. Avant - People - Department History - Office of the Historian". United States Department of State.
  6. ^ Thompson, Lindsay (23 October 2009). "The Bahamas welcomes 13th US Ambassador". The Bahamas Weekly. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  7. ^ "US Ambassador Avant finishes term in Bahamas". The Bahamas Investor. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2012-06-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Inspection of Embassy Nassau, The Bahamas (PDF) (Report). Office of the Inspector General of the Department of State. January 2012. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  15. ^ Rogin, Josh (February 23, 2012). "Another Obama fundraiser turns out to be a bad ambassador". Foreign Policy.
  16. ^ Farnam, T.W. (March 6, 2012). "The Influence Industry: Obama gives administration jobs to some big fundraisers". The Washington Post.
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ McKelvey, Tara (28 June 2013). "Should political fundraisers become ambassadors?". BBC News. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-29. Retrieved 2012-05-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "Obama's $500,000 Power Couple". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Ted Sarandos upends Hollywood with Netflix revolution". Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  23. ^ Mark David (12 July 2017). "Ted Sarandos and Nicole Avant Shed Former Home in Flats of Beverly Hills (EXCLUSIVE)". Retrieved 29 May 2019.