My Unorthodox Life Review 2021 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online
My Unorthodox Life is a reality series about Julia Haart, who left an insulated orthodox Jewish community in Monsey, NY in 2013 and has not only skyrocketed to the CEO position of Elite World Group, one of the top modeling agencies, but has broken through the sheltered life she was forced to live in Monsey. She’s sexually free, and has vowed to treat the models at her agency as peers rather than bodies. Her family has mostly progressed with her, but to varying degrees. Read on for more.
Like most women in her ultra-orthodox community, Julia married her first husband, whom she barely knew, when she was 19 and was expected to be a homemaker and a baby maker. Women in most ultra-orthodox sects are supposed to exist to serve their husbands, and dress very modestly to not “tempt” adult men who somehow can’t control themselves. Julia couldn’t abide by that, so she secretly sold insurance to save up some money, and finally left her husband in 2013.
Three of her kids left the community with her: Batsheva, who was 19 and newly married to her husband Ben; Miriam, who was happy to leave because she wasn’t religious and wanted to explore her sexuality; and Shlomo, who has yet to kiss someone at 25 because back in Monsey, dating was for marriage (her now-teenage son Aron lives with is father). Julia is now married to Silvio Scaglia Haart (he took the last name she gave herself after they got married); together they bought Elite in 2019.
In the first episode, Julia is putting together her first show for Elite’s first fashion label, with the help of COO Robert Brotherton, and her key model has to bail due to illness. Meanwhile, Bat has a continual argument with Ben about wearing pants (a no-no in ultra-orthodox communities), and Miriam tells her if Ben can’t follow her exploration of the non-orthodox world at her pace, then he’s not good for her. Miriam goes on a blind date with a woman who also led a restrictive life, and Shlomo talks to Julia about his first kiss with a woman.
As someone who is Jewish but not religious, stories of people who came out of ultra-orthodox sects in places like Williamsburg, Brooklyn or Monsey, NY fascinate me. I know a lot about the “rules” that those sects have and how women are ground down under the heel of tradition in those communities, but some things still surprise me. What surprised me is that some of the reasons given for the repression Julia talks about in the first episode is batshit crazy. But what also surprised me is that her meteoric rise to the top of the fashion heap isn’t explained very well.
Yes, Haart had a wild, sudden success with her shoe line, where she designed high heels that were comfortable, going with the theme that women shouldn’t sacrifice for fashion. Scaglia was the CEO of La Perla, the company that bought her shoe line in 2016. When they fell in love, that charged her rocket to the top even more, because the holding company they created bought Elite 2 years ago.
You have to realize how sheltered things are in the communities like the one Haart left. So the fact that she left the community in 2013 and became the CEO of Elite by 2019 is remarkable. I would have wanted to hear more of that story, but it feels like the producers left some details out, leaving viewers to wonder how she got to the top so fast. Even someone with the creativity, design skills, and determination of Haart wouldn’t go from nowhere to CEO in six years without meeting the right person at the right time, so a little more of that would have helped our confusion.
All that being said, Julia is charming as hell, and full of piss and vinegar, a good trait for a reality show star. Her family’s various struggles with “coming out” into general society are interesting to watch, especially Batsheva, who clings to some old-fashioned beliefs — she thinks Miriam’s bisexuality is just a phase — while expressing her new self in other ways.
Some of that, though, feels more “reality-real” than “real-real.” Bat’s fight with Ben about wearing jeans seems to be ginned up for the cameras, for a couple of reasons: 1) Bat’s wardrobe, even in the scene where she’s wearing jeans, wouldn’t have passed the modesty test in her old community, and b) In the scene at the fashion show where she’s trying to get everyone to stop chiming in on the fight, she’s wearing pants. The show’s producers need to tighten that up in future episodes to pass the sniff test from savvy reality audiences.
Sex and Skin: Julia talks openly about sex with her kids which, well, good for her, but, ewwww. Also, after a romantic dinner conversation between Julia and Silvio at a restaurant, the two of them make out like their plane is going down.