This month, Netflix released their new reality series ‘My Unorthodox Life’, following the life and story of Julia Haart and her family. Julia’s story is incredible. As someone who only left the world of fundamentalist religion, at age 40-not even a decade ago- her accomplishments are admirable. Her life as a fundamentalist housewife consisted of rules on what to wear, how to wear it, how to serve a husband and an ingrained understanding that women are the inferior sex. After fundamentalism, these experiences have manifested into traits that make for an extremely well-dressed, headstrong businesswoman. It’s nothing short of remarkable.
Upon first leaving her fundamentalist community, Julia launched her self-titled shoe brand which she later sold. Her plan was to make a high heel that was both comfortable and fashionable. To achieve this she partnered with ski boot engineers and used a gel designed for NASA space stations. Her uber-comfortable heels caught the attention of La Perla who appointed her as creative director and so began her trip into the world of lingerie.
She took the same principles to La Perla, that beauty should not be without comfort, and created comfortable lingerie and nightwear. Julia firmly believes that a huge reason womenswear is so uncomfortable is due to the belief that women dress for the attention of men, and not for themselves. Her extreme relationship with the presence of men and women in the world likely lit the fire that drove her to end the normal practice of inflicting pain upon women for the sake of style.
These days her style ranges from super chic mini skirt suits to office worthy rompers and enviable minidresses, not forgetting a pair of gloriously high heels. Her eldest daughter Batsheva, a TikTok star, has made jokes about the life her younger sister gets to enjoy by still living at home with constant access to her mothers’ wardrobe. Think Clueless but modern-day and RICH rich. The glimpses of it we get to see in the series look absolutely to die for. We get a look into Julia’s mentality when it comes to ‘skimpy’ outfits. This woman loves showing some skin, likely in rebellion of the life she used to live and the twenties she missed out on, but in no way does her style come across as a woman going through a crisis. If anything, it shows that even outside of fundamentalism, society probably could do with unpacking the ideas surrounding the ‘appropriateness’ of a woman showing some skin.
The show explores the various stages each of her children are at in their relationship with their faith. Batsheva, who spent the first 20 years of her life under the mentality that wearing pants and showing skin is bad, discusses the concept of wearing jeans on a regular basis with her husband. Julia is clearly at a different place in this journey to her children and it’s not surprising. She didn’t just wake up one day, leave religion and become an incredible businesswoman. For years before leaving her previous life she sold life insurance in secret, providing her with the means to eventually leave and build the life she has today. Nonetheless, the rate at which she has moved up ranks in a notoriously competitive industry suggests that the life she lives now simply is just what she is on this earth to do.
Now, she is CEO and co-owner of Elite World Group. She influences Elite Model Agency and now e1972- EWGs new fashion brand. In the show we see Julia take a young model aside during a fitting to ensure she is okay after the fitting triggers memories of a time she was forced to shoot nude for a male that pressured her. Julia says she is actively removing these old perverted men from their positions of power in the industry and I believe her. Her game plan from here on out is to make the fashion industry better for women, from the inside. A true breath of fresh air and I can’t wait to see what she does next.