reality tv

Justine has tried out for every single music reality show. She's been rejected every time.

“I want to be the role model for the Australian women who aren’t a size eight, or the women with brown skin, the women who speak another language at home, the women who aren’t ‘magazine beautiful’, but are beautiful because they are authentically themselves.”

Justine Eltakchi is a Sydney-based songwriter, singer and producer. She’s written for the likes of Australian Idol contestant Paulini, country singer Caitlyn Shadbolt and pop singer Brittany Maggs and for the past five years, she’s worked as a full-time performer, singing up to seven times a week.

Over the past six years, Justine has auditioned for every single Australian reality show. From Australian Idol to X Factor and even The Voice, the performer has auditioned multiple times, often making it to the second or third round of the initial audition process.

But every single time, she’s been rejected.

Side note – These women are absolutely owning summer. Post continues after video.

It’s a common theme which Justine puts down to something that has plagued her ever since she’s been in the music industry – she doesn’t fit the mould.

From being told to lose weight to countless record labels passing her over, being rejected by Australia’s circuit of music reality TV shows is just another dot-point in a long list of injustices Justine has faced throughout her career.

“Although I grew up seeing a beautiful, mixed-race, curvy woman in the mirror, the Australian market has never seen me as someone an audience could resonate with,” the singer-songwriter told Mamamia.

“There have been endless knocks to my self-worth and much of my career has been spent wishing I looked different,” she added.

“But I don’t think young people actually want a boxed in stereotype, and the fact that reality shows are failing and being cut is ultimately proof of this.”

During her time in the music industry, Justine has been pressured to lose weight by a number of people in the industry, including her former manager.

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“I’ve dealt with years of this sh*t. Managers and industry people telling me that I need to look like this, lose weight,” she said.

“When I was younger and impressionable, I spent so much of my time just agonising over wanting to be skinny and wanting to look like everyone else out there.”

In the past six years, Justine estimates she has auditioned at least 10 times for Australia’s slew of reality shows.

While the first show she auditioned for was X Factor, Justine explained that the audition process for all of the music competitions is largely the same.

Generally, contestants will audition for producers of the show in both the first and second rounds of the audition process. Then, if they make it through those two rounds, the contestants meet with a story producer.

Justine has made it through to the story producer round a few times.

 

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“I think they just kind of look at me and think ‘you don’t fit the mould, what are we going to do with you’,” she said.

“I remember crying one year because I went to this audition with my friend who is a model. Her voice wasn’t very strong. I walked into the audition and I sung my song and [the producers] nitpicked the smallest things in my voice,” she continued.

“When [my friend] came out of her audition, she said ‘I think I changed key three times during the song but I got through.’ That’s always the way. Girls that fit the commercial mould of what it means to be beautiful and what they can sell, they’ll go for those girls over the ones that don’t fit the mould.

“It doesn’t matter how strong your voice is. If you don’t fit the stereotype, they don’t want to look at you.”

Although Justine hasn’t yet made it through to the televised rounds of these reality shows, she knows plenty of people that have.

“I have so many friends who have been on the shows or gotten kicked off and the effect on their mental health for at least a year afterwards is so intense,” she told Mamamia.

 

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“I can tell you – these reality shows, they just cut you off. One day, you’re their best friend and they’ll do anything for you and the next day, they don’t want to know who you are. They offer no mental health support after the show. None of that. The impact is really bad,” she added.

“I’ve got friends who were in the top 12 of The Voice and they’ve all been complete messes after the show. It just screws with their head because it makes them think – am I actually good enough or were they just using me? It’s such a mind f*ck.

“I think part of it is a blessing in disguise for me, not making it through to those televised auditions for all the seasons I auditioned for, because I’ve already felt the effects of not getting through the second or third round – and yet I’m a professional musician.”

As she prepares to release her upcoming single, ‘London’, Justine has one unapologetic message for the music industry.

“I am successful, and I live with a disability. I was born legally-blind and it is merely a small obstacle I decided I would overcome every day of my future.  This part of me is what drives me, it is what gives me stories to tell, and an empathy with the world.,” she told Mamamia.

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“To be unapologetically proud of who you are is what I want every woman to be. I am a tall, curvy, exotic, Australian who lives with a disability and still finds my place.

“This is me finally saying I am good enough, whether or not our industry here wants to be a part of my journey or not. I don’t want to be just behinds the scenes writing for others, I want to stand and know I am worthy enough to be here just as much as anyone else despite what I look like.”

Justine’s new single London is set for release on July 1st on all streaming platforms.

You can follow her on Instagram or Facebook to find out more about her music.

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