Salt Institute for Documentary Studies

Located in Portland, Maine, the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies offers a 15-week immersion program for advanced undergraduate and graduate students in documentary writing, photography, or radio.
This blog is an update of current Salt students insights and musings.


Moda Bella

After spending time with the town's resident tailoress (Amber was born in NY but got to Maine as FAST as she could!!), we followed her suggestion and hit the local dress shop on Main Street. "You'll be won't believe you're in Maine." We weren't sure if that was the theme we were aiming for (assignment: document a story in the life and typical day of a Mainer in Gardiner) but we figured a little chat wouldn't hurt.

We stepped into Moda Bella and were instantly greeted by various ladies of different ages (all stunningly attractive). We explained that Amber had sent us and before we knew it, we were chatting with a former Miss Maine USA, a former Miss Maine International, and the dress entrepreneur to all the pageant ladies of Vacationland. And in GARDINER? Diane Tucker explained that her store had become a "destination boutique."

Many asked her to move to Portland or Bangor but she felt attached to Gardiner;

"I am good to Gardiner and Gardiner is good to me."

RaeAnn was at Moda Bella to pick out her dress for Miss Maine International 2008, a title she aims to capture since she was first runner-up last year. SOCLOSE. She talked to me for a bit and explained her coaches were on their way.....and I looked confused: "Coaches to prepare me for the pageant."

They have coaches?

Naturally they have coaches.... Let's just say that our posse learned quite a bit about the ins and outs of pageant life in Maine in that tiny shop. We watched a delegate pick her gown, we heard wistful stories of national competitions past, we understood the business ethic of a former nurse-turned-retail-queen, and heard it straight from the mouths of the team of married coaches, Heather (a former Miss Maine and Mrs Maine) and Marty;

"Some girls play soccer, some play pageants. And let me tell ya... is it NOT all about the shopping...."

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