“My name is Celeste Iannotta and I’m the creative director of Miluny Mud. I have a little boy with special needs and I live on the border of Albury-Wodonga. 

I make beautiful face masks out of the natural clay in our own environment. I have a strong connection to the land and my father is Indigenous. I always wanted to become a beauty therapist – when I was a young girl, I used to love playing with mud and sand and I would use ingredients from the kitchen cupboard to make scrubs and masks. 

I grew up in a very poor family. I would do the shopping at the age of seven because my mother never wanted to leave the home. My father was an alcoholic and also a pub fighter. We didn’t have money, we didn’t have discipline. I thought I’d never own a home, I’d never achieve anything – I didn’t know what it was like to be good and have good influencers around me. 

I remember a time at school, when I was 13, my English teacher said to me, ‘Celeste you’ve got to try at school to be able to move on and get a career’ and I remember just looking at him and saying ‘Why? All I want to do is become a prostitute.’ That’s all I could see for my life. I continued down that spiralling track. I didn’t know how to get myself out of that spot, I really wanted to, but I just didn’t know how. 

When I was 17, my dad took my mum to the outback. They left me and my little brothers on the street. I had a little place by then and I took my brothers in, I didn’t know what to do. I slept with my clothes on because I was scared my dad would come and he would kill us – he fought in Vietnam and he would snap. 

I came across a lovely couple and they mentored me as a mum and dad. I’m so glad that there was somebody in the world who really did take me in and love me and believe in me, I was able to have a better outlook in life. I came from a long way back, but eventually I got there. I even got engaged to be married. Just before my wedding day, he passed away. That experience helped me to grow up and mature – looking back, it’s almost like talking about a different person.

A few years ago, I had a burnout and I was stuck. When you go through something like that, you reassess life and picture what it could look like. I thought ‘What can I offer?’ All I had was skincare. I was sparking some dreams, not really thinking they would move forward, but here I am today, developing a business. I could pinch myself!

Global Sisters has been a godsend, it makes me realise how much we do need each other and how much little things do count. My biggest challenge was not believing in myself. I didn’t believe that it was even possible to have a business and do what I love. 

Sister School was so inspirational. It’s just the most incredible journey and my belief in myself is at a high level now. My business is real and achievable. They really want you to be successful – they just cheer you on and encourage you. At times you can feel alone in your business, but you’re not alone. I have made lifelong friends, I’m excited to see other women succeed in their business and they are excited for me.

I now realise that what my father went through was a product of what he went through with his father. Now I’m able to forgive and let go and even embrace who I am. My biggest aim is to be better than that and to break the cycle for my own son, so that he can go through life and achieve all his goals.

Meeting Global Sisters and starting a business has lifted my whole household – my husband can see it, my 12-year-old son can see it. My son was just saying today that I’m a lot calmer now, a lot happier and he’s just been so inspired by me living my dreams and changing my life around. 

I’m teaching women how to nurture themselves and how to take time out and breathe. After what I’ve been through, these are little keys I’ve learnt that I want to pass on to others. 

I was a girl with a lot of needs, who came through a lot of obstacles. Little things along the way have strengthened me, made me who I am and have been like gold in the end. It’s almost like I have this little treasure box and I can open it up and help and relate with others around me. Everything that I’ve learnt in life, everything that I’ve gone through – I know women go through a lot in life, I know that I’m not alone – this is my story. It’s come together as one and is encompassed in the business. It’s who I am.”