Madison Belles gracefully represent city
MADISON – The Madison Belles have a new generation.
“Madison Belles are a recruited group of young ladies who have expressed a desire to learn the arts of hospitality, social etiquette and gracious manners,” Suzanne Wellborn said. Wellborn organizes the younger belles, while Rachel Masterson directs older members.
Originally, Dawn Johnson founded the program when her daughter Juliana and friends dressed in antebellum attire during Ghost Walks in downtown Madison. Madison Belles formally debuted in matching dresses at the 2009 Madison Street Festival.
Prospective candidates and their parents complete an interview to confirm they understand the girls will have formal social training, opportunities for formal attire and parade appearances.
Younger Madison Belles, nicknamed ‘Sister Belles,’ are Elizabeth Wellborn, 8, of Providence Classical School; Elizabeth’s parents are Chris and Suzanne Wellborn. Scarlett Norton, daughter of Jim and Paige Norton, is a seven-year-old student at St John the Baptist Catholic School.
Hannah Beavers and Grace Hand, both 7, attend Madison Elementary School. Hannah’s parents are Randy and Angela Beavers. Grace’s parents are Matt and Erica.
Cassidy Murch, 3, is Mike and Colleen Murch’s daughter. Emma Bailey, 13, and Evelyn Bailey, 5, attend Southeastern School in Remlap; their parents are Dr. Rodney Bailey and Courtney Bailey.
Older belles are Morgan Powell, 16, Bob Jones High School and parents Teddy and Rikki Powell; Raegan Masterson, 16, Madison Academy and parents Dr. Mark and Rachel Masterson; and Abbie McKee, 17, Bob Jones and parents Tom and Christie McKee.
“We teach them ladylike skills and (about) meeting new people. They must learn to host social functions and be an asset to the party host,” Suzanne Wellborn said. The belles learn Madison history and occasionally assist Mayor Troy Trulock at functions.
“They’re required to learn table manners and take a modeling class. Another main focus is the heart attitude and serving others. A real Southern Belle knows how to make each person she meets feel special and comfortable in her presence and to make her guests feel welcome,” Wellborn said.
Lisa Frazier is seamstress. Dawn Johnson is advisor. Diane Ward chauffeurs the belles.
Wellborn hopes to invite all girls living in the historic district to become belles. “I’ve had a delightful time planning and socializing with other mothers in the neighborhood.”