Nicole A. Avant (born March 6, 1968)[1] is an American producer and political activist. She served as the United States Ambassador to the Bahamas from 2009 to 2011.

Nicole Avant
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 56)
Los Angeles County, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseTed Sarandos (2009–present)
RelativesClarence Avant (father)
EducationCalifornia State University, Northridge (BA)



Early career


Nicole Avant is the daughter of Clarence and Jacqueline Avant. Her father, known as "The Black Godfather", was chairman of Motown Records. Nicole was born on her mother's 28th birthday.[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 1986 from Beverly Hills High School and in 1990 from California State University, Northridge with a B.A. in communications.[citation needed] 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.[3]

In 2006, 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 father was fundraising for Hillary Clinton.[4][3]

US Ambassador to the Bahamas


Avant was appointed United States Ambassador to the Bahamas by President Barack Obama on June 16, 2009. She 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, Avant was nominated for the State Department's Sue M. Cobb Award for exemplary diplomatic service.[8][9]

During her tenure in the Bahamas, Avant 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 United States.[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."[11]

The inspector general reported 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. 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 inspector general 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."[11][12][13][14][15]

In response, Avant said that she had inherited a dysfunctional embassy, and the new executive team she appointed had improved things.[16]

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

Post-politics activities


In 2019, Avant produced the documentary The Black Godfather, centering on her father Clarence.[2][17] Her husband, Ted Sarandos, is the co-chief executive officer of Netflix, who distributed the film.

In January 2021, Avant was an early investor in Thirteen Lune, an e-commerce site focused on makeup, skincare, haircare and wellness products owned by people of color and ally brands.[18]

On April 28, 2023, The Jacqueline Avant Children and Family Center was opened in memory of her philanthropist mother who was fatally shot during a home invasion in 2021.  The center will serve the needs of at-risk children.[19] On October 17, 2023, Avant released her memoir, “Think You’ll Be Happy: Moving Through Grief With Grit, Grace, and Gratitude.” [20]


  • 2012 : 20th Annual Trumpet Awards's International Award[21]

Personal life


Avant is married to Ted Sarandos, the co-CEO of Netflix.[22][23][24] 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.[25]


  1. ^ "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". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d 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. 16 November 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  8. ^ Wade, Evan (June 8, 2015). "Nicole Avant (1968- ) •".
  9. ^ "Ambassador Nicole Avant - a job well done".
  10. ^ "Commemorating "EKS Day" with Special Olympics Athletes in the Bahamas | U.S. Department of State Blog". Archived from the original on 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  11. ^ a b c "Inspection of Embassy Nassau, The Bahamas, January 2012" (PDF). United States Department of State( January 2012.
  12. ^ Rogin, Josh (February 23, 2012). "Another Obama fundraiser turns out to be a bad ambassador". Foreign Policy.
  13. ^ Farnam, T.W. (March 6, 2012). "The Influence Industry: Obama gives administration jobs to some big fundraisers". The Washington Post.
  14. ^ "Report: Former US Ambassador had 'dysfunctional leadership' | Bahamas Local News".
  15. ^ Johnson, Ted (February 24, 2012). "State Department Inspector Scutinizes Music Exec's Tenure as Ambassador".
  16. ^ McKelvey, Tara (28 June 2013). "Should political fundraisers become ambassadors?". BBC News. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  17. ^ L. Carter, Kelley (14 August 2023). "Clarence Avant was the guy who made sure Black stars got paid". Andscape. ESPN. Retrieved 18 August 2023.
  18. ^ Chikhoune, Ryma (2021-01-15). "Thirteen Lune Raises $1 Million, Invested by Sean Combs, Gwyneth Paltrow, Naomi Watts". WWD. Retrieved 2022-01-06.
  19. ^ Malkin, Marc (2023-05-01). "Nicole Avant Remembers Late Mother Jacqueline, Opens Children and Family Center in Her Name". Variety. Retrieved 2023-10-10.
  20. ^ Malkin, Marc (2023-07-12). "Nicole Avant to Release Memoir 'Think You'll Be Happy' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2023-10-19.
  21. ^ "2012 Trumpet Awards Honorees". Archived from the original on 2012-05-29. Retrieved 2012-05-24.
  22. ^ "Obama's $500,000 Power Couple". The Hollywood Reporter. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  23. ^ "Ted Sarandos upends Hollywood with Netflix revolution". Los Angeles Times. 25 August 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  24. ^ Times, Jimy Tallal / Special to The Malibu. "Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos and Wife Nicole Avant List La Costa Beach House For $14.9 Million". Malibu Times. Retrieved 2021-08-23.
  25. ^ Mark David (12 July 2017). "Ted Sarandos and Nicole Avant Shed Former Home in Flats of Beverly Hills (EXCLUSIVE)". Retrieved 29 May 2019.