Moody Cabin Girl

By Abby Bell 

Gina on a trip to Adam Cara the Hansel-and-Gretel fairytale-style cabin in Copper Harbor. Photo Credit: Moody Cabin Girl

Gina Valente has always loved vacationing in Northern Michigan. Based in Ferndale, north of Detroit, she recalls weekend camping trips to Port Sanilac as a teenager and a summer spent as a tour guide at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore during college. Valente’s love of the outdoors and the rise of social media created a cabin-centric occupation that has become her full-time career.

During a 2015 trip to Iceland, Valente was inspired by the traditional Scandinavian-style cabins dotting the countryside. She brought this new interest in cabins home to Ferndale and began photographing unique Michigan cabins on her personal Instagram account. In 2018, after three years of highlighting cabins, Valente turned her love of modern Nordic architecture into a Moody Cabin Girl brand. As a result, Moody Cabin Girl’s reputation for beautiful cabin posts and unique Michigan adventures has grown on Instagram with over 35,000 followers.

A Moody Cabin Girl trip included four sisters — Jaime, Olivia, Holly and Gina — as well as Olivia’s daughter, Josie.
Photo credit: Moody Cabin Girl

Moody Cabin Girl isn’t Valente’s first social media success. With her sister, Holly Valente, she launched Girls Gone Hungry on Instagram in 2012 – highlighting restaurants and unique eats in metro Detroit. The success of their brands Moody Cabin Girl and Girls Gone Hungry led the Valente sisters to create a social media agency in 2020 called Marilyn & Olive Media. The sisters use their social media savvy to manage accounts for clients, many in the restaurant industry. With two successful brands and a growing social media company, the sisters were ready to expand their workforce. Gina and Holly hired their youngest sister, Olivia Cerre in 2020. Married to City of Sault Ste. Marie firefighter Mike Cerre, Olivia moved to the Eastern Upper Peninsula over 10 years ago.

With three of the four Valente sisters working together, they have found the best collaboration occurs with each sister running their own niche in the company. Olivia handles administrative work, Holly coordinates client relationships and Gina assists with content creation and photography, jumping in wherever needed. They perform team meetings over FaceTime, which serves a dual purpose as family bonding time.

"Working with my sisters is the best thing ever," Gina states.

The sisters often go on cabin trips for Moody Cabin Girl together. On most trips, Gina rents cabins that fit her desired modern Scandinavian brand style, but she also collaborates with cabin owners to exchange cabin stays for content creation. Gina spends the first night of the stay taking photos and videos of the property. The next day, the sisters create lifestyle content with the cabin’s amenities, sometimes consisting of campfires, game nights or lakefront activities — they will also showcase local area activities including hikes, tourist attractions and restaurants.

True North Cabin in the Keweenaw Peninsula features a blend of Scandinavian style architecture and modern décor. Photo credit: Moody Cabin Girl

"Michigan has such a great cabin culture," Gina describes. "From the mom-and-pop ice cream shops, art galleries and kind local people – it’s a culture unique to our small towns. I hope everyone gets to experience it someday.”

The sisters have documented cabin trips on Drummond Island, Copper Harbor, Thessalon Ontario and many other destinations across lower Michigan.
Gina explains social media success comes from providing value, knowing your niche and following trends. She encourages cabin owners to consider promoting their stays on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. She states the apps are free advertising and will help owners grow the interest surrounding their cabin rentals.

True North Cabin in the Keweenaw Peninsula features a blend of Scandinavian style architecture and modern décor. Photo credit: Moody Cabin Girl

"Start creating content with the tools you already have, Gina states. "If you stay consistent and provide value, your audience will grow."

For more information, follow Moody Cabin Girl, Girls Gone Hungry and Marilyn & Olive Media on Instagram or