Insiders Reveal Truth About Julia Haart and “My Unorthodox Life”
On the buzz Netflix reality series “My unorthodox lifeSexy and glamorous Julia Haart has a whole story to tell. It’s a fairy tale about how she fled her Orthodox Jewish community of Monsey, NY, to make your way in the fashion world: Launching her own line of footwear, becoming Creative Director of luxury fashion brand La Perla and, now, CEO of Elite World Group – a talent agency that includes Elite Model Management and represents Kendall Jenner, Iman and Helena Christensen .
But insiders say she paints an ugly and unfair picture of life in her former community – as uneducated and so restrictive that she left her suicidal.
“Julia clings to that word ‘fundamentalism’ – and sensationalism sells,” said a former friend of Haart de Monsey. “She says she was held captive, but that’s not true.”
The show follows Haart, 50, her four children and her second husband, Elite owner Silvio Scaglia, and includes many scenes of his insult to his life spent in an “extreme” community – one characterization than another. old friend, Roselyn Feinsod, arguing.
(Haart declined to comment.)
Meanwhile, style insiders say Haart’s role in the fashion world is also distorted in the series.
“The show is so deceptive. It’s a house of mirrors, ”an Elite source said. “When she arrived, everything revolved around her self-promotion… But it was all publicity for her.
Julia Haart freely admits that she has changed both her name and her character – more than once.
Born Julia Leibov, she moved as a child from Russia to Texas and ultimately to Monsey, NY – a center for Orthodox Jews. It was there that Feinsod first met her, at the yeshiva.
“Julia and her family were welcomed by the community,” recalls Feinsod, 50. “We have been friends since elementary school.
She disagreed with Haart’s claims on the show that women were oppressed in the community.
“Far from being fundamentalists, we were all brought up in a very open Orthodox type of life: we watched TV and movies, we traveled, and we were all educated.
Feinsod, now director of global accounting firm Ernst & Young, recalled how much Haart wanted to integrate into the community even more: “Julia wanted a more Jewish name and she changed it to Talia when she was in high school. We even organized a baptismal ceremony for her.
Haart told the Jewish Telegraph Agency in July: “What I would like to see is that [Orthodox] women have the opportunity to have a real education, can go to university, not get married at 19 [an arranged match]. “
Haart herself attended Beth Jacob Girls’ Seminary in Jerusalem, described as a “Harvard of Jerusalem” and one of the best seminars in the world after high school. She did not have a secular education.
She married Wharton graduate Yosef Hendler – in an arranged union – at the age of 19, moving with him to Atlanta, Georgia, before returning to Monsey.
The couple raised their four children – daughters Batsheva, now 28, and Miriam, 21, and sons Shlomo, 25, and Aron, 15. Far from being uneducated, Miriam is now a student at Stanford University, while Shlomo studied law at Columbia.
“We’ve had so many fun trips with the kids. I went for a bike ride. We spent July 4th and Thanksgiving together, ”Feinsod said. “Far from that repressed fundamentalist person, Julia was a fun person.”
Haart said she was unhappy at Monsey – but did not publicly discuss the financial issues that plagued her.
Between 1997 and 2017, according to public records, Talia Hendler (as Haart was then known) and her then-husband accumulated $ 425,510 in debt, accumulating 13 tax liens and judgments.
Haart was more open to the physical and emotional strain of her misfortune. An old friend said Haart told her she wanted to starve because she didn’t think anyone loved her. Haart revealed that she weighed just 73 pounds the day she left her Orthodox life.
But even how and when she left the community is murky. On her show, Haart dramatically recounts how she left Monsey the day after Batsheva, then 19, was married, fleeing with her daughter Miriam to create her own line of shoes.
“They were doing to her what they did to me – trying to push her down and turn her into this flat person that they could disappear,” Haart told the New York Times by Myriam.
The “day after” timeline has become a touchstone in Haart’s mythology. “Here’s the crazy thing – the way Julia describes it, she left after Batsheva’s wedding and disappeared,” said a friend of Monsey’s Haart, who insists at least seven months have passed before. Haart’s official departure and that she always came back for visits. . “There was no immediate dramatic thing that happened.”
Former friends Monsey de Haart were put off by his new tale. “We were shocked to read interview after interview… with Julia ‘taking a stand against fundamentalism’ and describing a fictitious transition from a life without radio, TV, newspapers, magazines or bars,” Feinsod wrote in an essay on LinkedIn.
“Between Julia’s eating problems and the financial pressure, I think something’s got broken and she kind of blames religion for everything,” Haart’s anonymous friend told the Post.
Although she had no training in fashion and had previously worked as a teacher in a religious school, in 2013 Haart launched her own line of shoes under her newly adopted name of Julia Haart.
“She started her line of shoes with this orthodox financier who was [also] Ivanka Trump’s funder, ”the pal said.
Haart and Yosef divorced in 2019, but remained friends and he appeared on the show.
Her shoe line took off and she collaborated with luxury fashion house La Perla in 2016, quickly appointed the brand’s creative director. It was the ultimate outsider movement and the one that shocked the industry.
A former La Perla employee told The Post that Haart was ‘overwhelmed’ when she first started and said many people are chatting about her relationship with then-owner Silvio Scaglia. A Haart insider said the two met after starting his job.
Scaglia, who has since changed her name to Silvio Scaglia Haart, divorced his first wife Monica Aschei in 2018, marrying Haart in 2019 – the same year he appointed her CEO of Elite, which he owns. (He sold La Perla in 2018.) The couple now live in a $ 55 million apartment in Tribeca.
In 2019, Haart was involved in a lawsuit between Women Management, which is owned by Elite World Group, and rival modeling agency Elite USA. The costume claimed that Elite USA had poached stars, including Behati Prinsloo of Women.
Elite USA, however, said the models were desperate to run away from the women, who they said were rocked by “gross mismanagement” – alleging that Scaglia had blamed his “dangerously incompetent” girlfriend, Haart, according to the file. The Haart insider said the situation in question occurred prior to Haart’s arrival at Elite World Group. The case is still ongoing.
Meanwhile, according to a former Elite employee, “Haart was obsessed with having a show and wanted to be the Jewish Kardashian.” The former employee added that it didn’t look good when the company was also “asking [people] during the pandemic. “
The Haart insider said more of his company’s history will be revealed in his memories. “Cheeky”, To be published by Penguin in March 2022.
Haart’s former friend in Monsey said she was “in awe” of the designer when she was younger, but now confused.
“I last saw Julia at Yosef’s engagement party, hadn’t seen her in years,” recalls the former friend. “She called me in the car on the way home and said, ‘You don’t need to be in the community anymore, you don’t need to be in a box anymore.’ I said, ‘What are you talking about? I went to college, I worked!
“I believe she believes in her own hype,” the former friend said. “She has to do everything perfectly, there is something in her. She was to be the best Jew until she left the community.
Additional reporting by Kirsten Fleming