Harriette Cole was born on March 14, 1961, in Baltimore, Maryland. Her mother Doris Freeland Cole was an educator, and her father was the Honorable Harry A. Cole, Maryland’s first African American Republican assistant attorney general, elected state senator and judge appointed to Maryland’s Court of Appeals.
Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, Cole attended Dickey Hill Elementary School, Greenspring Junior High School, and Western High School where she played the violin, sang in the choir, and became interested in modeling. She graduated in 1979 and then was accepted into the honors liberal arts program at Howard University, where she graduated in 1983.
While at Howard University, Cole worked in retail and as a model. She participated in a Congressional Black Caucus fashion show which began her successful runway modeling career. Cole’s clerical skills landed her a position as a secretary on Capital Hill after graduation. In late 1983, Cole left Washington, D.C., to accept a position at Essence magazine. During her eleven year tenure there, she held the positions of fashion director and lifestyle editor.
In 1993, Cole wrote her first book, Jumping the Broom: The African American Wedding Planner, which is in its second edition. Cole has appeared on many national television and radio programs and in many major magazines and newspapers. Cole is also the author of “Sense and Sensitivity”, a nationwide advice column.
As president and creative director of Harriette Cole Productions (formerly Profundities, Inc.), the etiquette, style, and life coaching company she formed in 1995, Cole coaches individuals and organizations. She has worked with Kraft Foods, Sara Lee Corporation, and Cornell University, and with such notable musicians as Alicia Keys and Mary J. Blige. Cole was the editorial director of Uptown magazine, and is the creative director of Ebony magazine.
Cole is married to fashion photographer George Chinsee, and they have one daughter.