Justine Iaboni (aka ‘Stellina’) is a lifestyle and fashion blogger whose career path has just turned the way that it was supposed to long time ago – towards the music. Growing up in a family of musicians, Justine always wanted to be a singer. But due to unfavourable circumstances – lack of parental support and guidance combined with bullying and discrimination – she gave up on her dream. ‘I felt like I wasnt good enough in their eyes. And you know, when you are 12 years old, you are starting to see your identity in the world and how other people treat you, and you are starting to compare yourself with others. And I just thought that I wasn’t worthy of having success, that I was less worthy than everybody else’.
But then, she found a way to express herself, and it was – through blogging. After graduating in film from UofT, Justine went to Italy with her friend, and that’s when blogging started to get serious, ‘I bought a ticket to fashion week, and I just showed up there – it was so weird as i didnt know anybody there. Bloggers weren’t even a thing by then, in 2010. There were just a few of us. It was such a crazy time’. While it helped her gain confidence and cope with anxiety, blogging wasn’t a financially profitable thing to do, so she got a part-time job at a pharmacy. And then from July 2013 to July 2014 everything changed: Justine quitted her job, started doing yoga, got out of unhealthy relationship. She also strarted doing soul searching and looking for a way to deal with all her fears. ‘And it became so clear to me. All those things that didn’t let me continue singing, all those fables and stories were just not true. Then I met Luke, my producer, so we started working together’.
She released her album of 5 songs just a few days ago. ‘It’s super vulnerable and experimental. It’s just me making music for the first time. In that context it was a very personal project, not commercial. I just wanted to do something. And I was excited to do that. Now I’m exploring what my sound is going to be like’.
With a background in classical music, Justine now wants to learn more about electronic music. When it comes to inspiration, she says she likes Kendrick Lamar for his lyrics and Lady Gaga for her authenticity and vulnerability. ‘I think she is super cool. As a female artist, I really look up to her. Growing up I really liked Madonna, she was amazing. And I was into Mariah Carey a lot, i would sing all her songs. She is my voice twin. I always gravitated towards her vocals’. But singing and creating music is not her only talents – Justine is also a dancer and loves acting. ‘When i go on stage i feel like i’m at home. I love performing and connecting with the audience’.
‘I’m open to any type of creativity, I want to challenge myself. As long as i’m following my passion, I don’t have that thought that I gave up on my dream. I’m so happy now every day cause I’m living my dream’.