biography

An editor who also writes, and a journalist who reports up close and personal, Ms. Edwards brings to all of her work the insightful eye of a cultural observer and the sensibility of a black female who was irrevocably shaped by the three enormous cultural revolutions of the last American century: the civil rights movement, women’s movement, and sexual revolution. This has resulted in published work that ranges from covering race, gender, and sexual relationships and political issues, to writing personality profiles, celebrity interviews, and doing international reporting. 

In 1984 the United Nations sponsored Ms. Edwards’s trip to Burkina Faso in West Africa to report on the effects of the Saharan drought for Essence magazine. A few years later, in 1997, Ms. Edwards was part of the Essence magazine team sent as the writer to report on South Africa five years after its independence. She interviewed Winnie Mandela during the trip.

 


Many of Ms. Edwards’s interviews have been with some of the most popular figures in American culture—who happen to be black: Oprah Winfrey, Cornel West, Steve Harvey, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Spike Lee, Angela Davis, Iyanla Vanzant, Laurence Fishburne, Tina Turner, Tyler Perry, Lena Horne, Muhammad Ali. Edwards has written about all of these “crossover celebrities,” spending time with them, interviewing them, distilling who they are or who they became through the prism of being black and successful in stressful, racial America. She has written numerous magazine cover stories—16 for Essence, one for Vibe, one for More, one for the New York Daily News Sunday Magazine, and one for O, The Oprah Magazine. 


Ms. Edwards wrote about her long-as-life friendship with a dear white friend for the New York Times Sunday Magazine “Hers” column in 1992, and in 1980 wrote the lead story on co-op boards for the New York Times Sunday Real Estate Section.


In 1986, the year before she was to turn 40, Ms. Edwards left her high-profile, high-status position as editor of Essence magazine to become an entrepreneur in real estate. Opening her own brokerage office in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, under the DBA Plaza Properties, Ms. Edwards had become smitten by New York real estate in 1983, and would be a real estate investor as well as a broker for the next 35 years. 


In 2007 Ms. Edwards closed Plaza Properties to move to Paris, but retuned a few months later because the euro exchange rate against the dollar at that time was too high to make living there economically feasible. In 2008, Edwards joined the high-end Manhattan brokerage firm Brown Harris Stevens, with offices in Brooklyn, the Hamptons and Palm Springs. Ms. Edwards works in its Park Slope Brooklyn office. In 2011 she was named a company vice president.


Whether working in the professions of real estate or publishing, Ms. Edwards has always been a magazine writer, with published work in national magazines spanning the 40-plus years of two generations. Her first published piece appeared in Redbook magazine in 1971, when she was 24 and in the magazine’s “18-34” age demographics of “Young Marrieds”; her most recent work appeared in AARP, The Magazine in 2017. She is now in that magazine’s age demographics of “Over-50-Year-Olds.” 


During a professional lifetime Ms. Edwards has written freelance articles published in print and online publications as numerous and diverse as The Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Yoga Living, Heart & Soul, Working Woman, O, The Oprah Magazine, The New York Daily News Sunday Magazine, Parade, Health, Savvy, Essence, BET Weekend, Seventeen, Ladies Home Journal, More, Vibe., The Huffington Post, and The Root.com. 


 Ms. Edwards also authored several books during this same time span, first writing a series of ”beginner reader” children’s books for Franklin Watts publisher; and a young adult biography on Muhammad Ali for Little Brown and Company in the early 1970’s. Edwards co-authored with black psychologist Craig Polite the groundbreaking book, Children of the Dream: The Psychology of Black Success, published by Doubleday and Company in 1992; and she collaborated on the book, The Man From Essence: Creating a Magazine for Black Women, with Edward Lewis, co-founder and former publisher and CEO of Essence, published by Atria Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) in 2014. In 2017 the book was chosen to be part of the syllabus for a course on business management at the Harvard School of Business. 


Audrey Edwards’s newest work, American Runaway: Black and Free in Paris in the Trump Years, is her collection of essays, commentary, and “race stories” about becoming an American expatriate in 2017 following the election of Donald Trump as president. The idea for the book grew out of the essay Ms. Edwards wrote for The Huffington Post on why she left America when Donald Trump became president. The essay was cited by the editors as a “best of the day,” which meant it ran uninterrupted by advertising. It also received over 14,000 “Like” reactions from Huff Post readers, giving an indication of the popularity potential of expanding the essay into a full book that takes yet another look on the Donald Trump phenomenon, but from a wholly different perspective—that of an old-line, black female Baby Boomer assessing an old-line white Baby Boomer “bro” who is now president.

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