Sue Ellen Cooper is the Exalted Queen Mother and founder of the Red Hat Society, an international “disorgainization” of women who embrace the worth of deepening friendships and rediscovering the value of play. The ranks of the Red Hat Society have swelled to nearly a million and growing every day. The members of the club stretch from coast to coast and even to the UK, Australia, and Mexico. Sue Ellen has also worked as a freelance designer for print and greeting card companies. She holds a BA degree in English from California State University, Fullerton. In the 1990s, she patented “That Earring Thing” a plastice earring holder targeted at the teen market. Later she started a mural business and worked on various paintings.
When Sue Ellen gave a friend a red hat and a copy of the Jenny Joseph poem “Warning,” she had no way of knowing that she had started a revolution; but before long, she had created the Red Hat Society. Women of all ages, but especially age 50 and over, love to go out dressed in hats and dresses that don’t quite match but look great nonetheless.
Sue Ellen was declared Exalted Queen Mother, although she insists anyone who wants to be Queen can appoint herself one, too. Her first official edict was, “The rules are there are no rules.” Actually, there is one rule: One must be over 50 to wear a red hat and purple clothing. Women under the magic age are welcome to join in the fun by wearing a pink hat and lavender attire. Name your chapter whatever you please, appoint yourself to whatever job you like—just don’t take yourself too seriously. As a result, there are thousands of Duchesses and Ladies, and as many innumerably preposterous names as there are women in the Red Hat Society. Underneath the frivolity, they share a bond of affection and a genuine enthusiasm for wherever life takes them.