By Chrystal Parker
Photo by Alex Hoerner
WHEN LIFE IS A SONG
As the daughter of music titan Clarence Avant and goddaughter of legendary music producer Quincy Jones, Nicole Avant is accustomed to being around boldface names. She was maid of honor when Tracey Edmonds married Eddie Murphy, and the Avant family has long been a center of influence for prominent figures ranging from Bill Cosby to Bill Clinton. For a time, having grown up in celebrity-centric Beverly Hills, Nicole followed in her father’s footsteps, first at A&M Records, and later as vice-president of the family businesses, publishing companies Interior Music and Avant Garde. And then Obama called.
THE PAPER TRAIL
To become one of Obama’s top fundraisers, Avant, 42, merely rallied friends to carry on her family’s tradition of supporting candidates it believes in. When President Obama asked her to serve as U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas, however, Avant says she needed a little encouragement from her then fiancé, now husband, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “He said, ‘When the president of the United States asks you to do something, you say yes,’” she recalls. “And he was right—to serve is obviously such a great honor.”
NOT A WALK ON THE BEACH
Six days after Avant became a new wife and stepmother last September, she was sworn in as ambassador; the following month she moved to the archipelago nation that boasts 700 different islands and a thriving tourism-driven economy. She now spends 90 percent of her time in the Bahamas focusing on various policy issues, including education and small-business initiatives.
BETTER IN ALL THE BAHAMAS
Avant is quick to let folks know that if they assume the Bahamas is just about Nassau, they should think, and explore, again: “Take a day or two to see the other islands—Exuma, Abaco, Eleuthera, and Cat Island are nothing short of magnificent,” she says. “Each has its own personality, its own beauty.” Represent, Ambassador Avant.