Carolyn Hax is a writer and a columnist for ‘The Washington Post,’ a major American daily newspaper. She writes an advice column titled ‘Carolyn Hax,’ which was previously titled ‘Tell Me About It.’ Born and raised in Connecticut, Carolyn graduated in American history and literature from ‘Harvard University.’ Soon after her graduation, she started working with newspaper companies. By the early 1990s, she joined ‘The Washington Post.’ In 1997, she started her regular column in ‘The Washington Post’ and slowly became popular with the readers, amassing a major readership. The column also gets syndicated by ‘The Washington Post’ in 200 other newspapers across the country. In 2001, Carolyn wrote her first book, ‘Tell Me About It: Lying, Sulking, and Getting Fat and 56 Other Things Not to Do While Looking for Love.’ She has also written essays for several other news publications. The advice columns also featured cartoons by her ex-husband, Nick Galifianakis, and they continued to collaborate on the columns even after getting divorced. She currently lives with her husband Ken Ackerman in Massachusetts.
Childhood & Early Life
Carolyn Hax was born on December 5, 1966, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She was the youngest of the four sisters in the family. Her father worked as a research director at ‘Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation’ and is retired now.
During her childhood, she suffered a lot. She mentioned this in her columns and some interviews. When she was in third grade, her family struggled financially and she had to live in a “crack-infested neighborhood.” She was also not particularly good in academics while in school and had no set goals for her future.
She was a shy child and struggled with making friends for a very long time. She graduated from the ‘Hopkins School’ in 1984 and earned her BA degree from ‘Harvard University.’ Her subjects were American history and literature, which had nothing to do with what she wanted to do in her life. She wanted to work in the print media as a writer.
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In the late 1980s, Carolyn Hax started her career, working with several newspapers as an intern. During the early years of her career, she worked as an associate editor and news editor at the ‘Army Times.’
In the early 1990s, she joined ‘The Washington Post’ as a copy and news editor. Back then, advice columns in newspapers were not taken as seriously as other news articles or essays.
In 1997, she finally gathered the courage to walk up to the editor and ask him to start a new advice column. She did not have any specialized degree in writing or journalism. Thus, it was difficult for her to convince the editor that she could carry a column on her own.
She was allowed to start her column eventually. She decided that she would give advices as a friend and not as a professional. The column started as a weekly corner and was initially printed twice a week and then thrice a week.
Initially, it was named ‘Tell Me About It’ and featured cartoons by Nick Galifianakis. It made even the most serious concerns of the readers seem light in tone. Carolyn’s casual and friendly advises made the column highly popular with the readers.
In the beginning, it was targeted toward readers below 30. Most of the discussions were centered on their love lives, relationships, families, and other issues that youngsters usually struggle with. However, over time, the column started catering to almost all sections of society.
The column originated in ‘The Washington Post,’ and upon gaining popularity, it was printed in around 200 newspapers in the country. It eventually became a daily column, and Carolyn became some sort of a national celebrity.
Inspired by the success of the column, Carolyn set out to write her first book in the early 2000s. In 2001, she released her debut book, ‘Tell Me About It: Lying, Sulking, and Getting Fat and 56 Other Things Not to Do While Looking for Love.’
Apart from writing columns and books, she also contributed to newspapers by writing essays. One of her most popular essays, ‘Peace and Carrots,’ was included in the anthology ‘Mommy Wars: Stay-at-Home and Career Moms Face Off on Their Choices, Their Lives, Their Families.’
She also hosts a weekly web-chat show titled ‘Carolyn Hax Live.’ A number of hand-picked transcripts from the show also find their way into the newspaper. The show has been running since 2003 and is almost as successful as her newspaper column.
Carolyn Hax met Nick Galifianakis, a cartoonist for ‘The Washington Post,’ before she started her weekly column in 1997. They eventually fell in love and started dating. They got married when Carolyn was 27 years old. However, in 2002, their relationship soured and ended in a divorce.
In November 2002, she married her childhood friend Ken Ackerman. Her readers had a strong response to her second marriage, as she was pregnant with twins when she married Ken. However, Carolyn later interacted with her fans via her blog and clarified her situation.
She currently lives in Massachusetts with her husband, three kids, and a pet dog. Nick and Carolyn have been on good terms after the divorce and have carried on with their collaborations for ‘The Washington Post.’
There are times when readers are not satisfied with the answers that Carolyn provides them. She also receives hate mails and threats from time to time. However, she remains unaffected by this.