The Art of Storytelling with Erin Ovalle

Thirteen years ago, a reporter accepted a job in Maine—the only job she could find. Now she dedicates her life to sharing positive stories about Maine and the people who live there.

Erin Ovalle is originally from Boston, MA. Upon college graduation, when “many took the summer off to enjoy themselves,” she explains that she was instead “in the middle of the cornfields in Illinois” where she travelled to as a news anchor. Interestingly enough, vineyard vines played a huge role in how she got into the media industry in the first place.

“When I was in college, I was on Nantucket and saw a Plum TV [a lifestyle production company] x vineyard vines boat. I vividly remember feeling in awe of vineyard vines’ marketing and brand recognition. I dreamt about creating a brand someday that could be recognizable and relatable, too. I’ll never forget that boat.”

Talk about a full circle moment: finding her dream career path thanks to one of our boats, and now being profiled on our website. But first let’s unpack how that moment of inspiration led her to where she is today.

After college graduation, Erin was working as a news anchor in Florida until she got a call from her family that changed her life. “I got a call that my dad who was living in Boston was diagnosed with terminal cancer. So, in an effort to get closer to home, I really say that Maine found me. It was the only job that was available as a night side reporter and I applied. And the next thing I knew, I drove my U-Haul up to Portland, Maine.”

Little did she know her move to Maine would be the start of her entrepreneurial journey. “One morning, I was reporting a very unfortunate story and just said that I had had enough.” Erin had an oh-so-classic light bulb moment, and turned to her co-anchor who was wearing a shirt that said ‘Mom Life.’ “I looked over and said, ‘What if we had a show called Maine Life? And it told positive stories about the people in Maine?’” Erin explains. “And then literally from there, I Googled how to start your own TV show.” And so her production company Maine Life Media was born.

As any entrepreneur will also experience, Erin quickly learned that starting your own company is no easy feat.

“It was really hard. Starting out was exciting yet very difficult,” she shares. “I knocked on doors, called some friends who I knew would potentially support me, made a lot of phone calls and made a lot of asks that got turned down. But I think a true entrepreneur really picks herself back up and keeps on going.”

Six years later, all of the stress and hard work has proven to be well worth it. The first show Erin created was MaineLife. She continues to executive produce and host the show, which explores “some of the best local stories you might not otherwise hear about.” Her other shows include Dock & Dine, where Erin travels by boat to coastal communities and Maine’s lake regions; as well as Places and Spaces, which explores real estate, design and architecture in Maine. She fully embraces the human aspect of her work, and the fact that each day brings something new.

“I say I'm a storyteller and a people person. I genuinely love hearing peoples’ stories. And I feel fortunate that I have a platform on which I am able to tell them.”

Erin is also expanding her shows into New Hampshire, soon into the Carolinas and hopefully up and down the eastern seaboard. Yet, Erin has no plans to leave Maine. “Maine is so cool”, she declares. “It is still undiscovered and it's raw and rich with so much natural beauty.” Though she did not move to Maine knowing the hidden gem that it was; today, she boasts about all that it has to offer. “It is a rough and tumble place and we get wonderful tourists–millions of people a year who flock to our state to experience a little flavor and taste of what we have–but it is truly a blessing to live here. The air is fresh and every time you think you saw the most beautiful thing–whether you're on your boat or on land–you turn the corner and boom, there's something more magical to see.” We think that about sums it up.

Naturally, profiling Maine through her TV shows makes Erin the perfect person to turn to for any and all Maine recommendations. Her favorite place in the fall is a tie between Greenville and Carrabassett Valley, with Western Maine being her top spot for admiring fall foliage. “They've got the mountains and just so many beautiful undiscovered places to watch the leaves change.” Despite being an extremely well-travelled person, her favorite place to watch the sunset remains right here in Maine. “The top of Cadillac mountain in Acadia National Park is the best sunset in all of the world, in my opinion.” Lastly, once the weather starts warming up, Erin looks forward to Maine Maple Sunday: an event where syrup producers from across the state open their sugarhouses to the public.

“It’s a favorite tradition here in Maine, just because it gets everybody excited for the warmer weather. And we're really proud of all of the local ingredients and products that we make here in the state.”

While work is what brought Erin to Maine, family is what’s keeping her here. In fact, she shares that her Every day should feel this good moment is “when I’m out on my boat, Maine Life, with my husband, Jason, my sweet baby Brooks and my fur baby, Baxter.” At the mention of her boat, she can’t help but feel nostalgic about the time she saw our branded V V boat so many years ago, when she was on the brink of her career. “Fast-foward 18 years later to buying and naming my first boat, Maine Life–my creation and brand–I feel such joy and nostalgia to that moment on Nantucket when I saw the V V boat ride by and became so inspired.”

Between her family and expanding her local content to even more cities, the sky's the limit. Maine is happy to have found Erin.