29 // Model, grocery store owner, and former professional soccer player *
Lives in: Logan Square
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On a typical day, Stellatos is up at 5:30 a.m., running between photo shoots, casting calls, runway shows, and the responsibilities that come with owning his own gourmet grocery stores.
You planned it this way, right? “No way. I never said, ‘I’m going to be a model.’ I was in college at Loyola. One day, I was walking down the street when this stranger stops me and says he’s a modeling agent and wants me to model. I was like, ‘You’re creepy, get out of here.’”
So you did some soul-searching and changed your mind? “Not at all. My dream was to play professional soccer. Fast-forward a bit. I was overseas playing in Greece when I hurt my knee. I was back in the States, rehabbing my knee, when the same guy called again. Nine times out of ten, I would have said, ‘Forget it.’ But the timing felt right. Next thing I knew, I had a contract and was working full-time.”
On growing up: “My father owns a bar and liquor store in Logan Square, and as a little kid, I’d go to work with him. One day when I was 16, my father couldn’t go to work. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but he woke me up in the middle of the night and said, ‘You have to open up. Here are the keys. Just do what you think is right.’ I did it for a couple of days. When I think about it now, that was a huge moment in my life. I grew up pretty quickly and learned a lot about work and responsibility.”
On playing goalie—and growth spurts: “I started in the net because I was the kid who didn’t want to run. Back then, I was really short. I was five foot two after my sophomore year of high school. I weighed 130 pounds. That’s not the guy you want playing goalie. But that summer, we went to Greece to spend time with family. So I’m out in Greece, and I notice my clothes are getting shorter and shorter. No one had a washing machine. My aunt would wash our clothes by hand. I actually started to get upset because I thought my aunt was ruining my clothes. I thought that she didn’t like me. But when the summer ended and we came home, I saw all of my friends and realized, ‘Oh, my God. I grew.’ I measured myself, and I was six foot one and 170 pounds.”
On dating: “My family is from the small island of Kefalonia. Whenever I go on a first date, the girl asks me if my mom is OK that I’m not dating a Greek woman. But my parents are starting to realize that there is a different way of life, and it’s not like the old Greek village anymore. Of course, with Greek women, it is easier: They understand you, your religion, your customs, your culture. My mother said it’s cool if I don’t marry a Greek woman. My father is, like, ‘Whatever.’ To me, love is love. It doesn’t matter.” —N.I.
* interested in women * interested in men
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