Julia Haart is a woman who wears many hats.
The reality star, who was born in Russia, rose to fame in the fashion world. However, before mingling with some of the most beautiful models in the world, she was a member of the Haredi community in New York, where she lived like someone from the 1800s, per her own words.
Haart was married off when she was barely an adult and went on to welcome four children with her first husband. She eventually left the insular, Orthodox community in 2013 at the age of 42.
Read on to learn more about her glamorous life and eventual fall from grace which was documented on her Netflix reality series, “My Unorthodox Life.”
Her orthodox origins
Haart was part of New York’s Haredi community throughout most of her life, where she went by the name Talia Leibov.
While living in the repressive, ultra-Orthodox Jewish enclave just north of New York City, she worked as a Judaic Studies teacher and sold life insurance on the side.
When she was 19, she wed her first husband, Yosef Hendler, and the pair welcomed four children: Batsheva, Shlomo, Miriam and Aron.
Her youngest son, Aron, is still part of the Orthodox community.
Haart later described Hendler as a “sad man” and revealed their union was an arranged marriage.
When asked what motivated her to leave the community, she said her daughter Miriam, who is bisexual, gave her the final push.
“She just wouldn’t conform,” Haart told the New York Times in 2021. “They were doing to her what they had done to me — trying to push her down and mold her into that flat person that they could disappear. I couldn’t let that happen. I literally packed my [expletive] and walked out the door with her.”
Upon leaving the community, Haart said she felt like a “Martian stepping on Earth.”
“[Before I turned 35,] I’d had no radio, no television, no newspapers, no magazines. I’d never been to a bar. I’d never been on a date. I’d never slept in a room on my own,” she explained to the outlet.
“When I left, I wore the lowest-cut tops I could find, the shortest shorts. Because that, to me, was freedom.”
She followed her passion for fashion and became a shoe designer, before being tapped by lingerie brand La Perla to be its creative director.
Her family dynamic
After leaving the community, her parents and siblings cut off all communication with her. She has also remained fairly quiet about the identity of her family.
Haart spoke out about her bizarre family dynamic during a 2023 interview on the “Not Skinny but Not Fat” podcast.
“You wanna hear a real mindf–k? I nursed my brother,” Haart told Amanda Hirsch, revealing she breastfed her sibling, who is 23 years her junior, at the request of her mom.
“My mother’s like, ‘Oh, you’re already nursing your daughter, take this one too’ — and so I ended up nursing my brother and my daughter. Now that’s a mindf–k.”
She had recently given birth to her eldest daughter, Batsheva, and her mom had welcomed her youngest brother a few months later. Haart compared herself to a wet nurse.
Although the practice of nursing other people’s children largely died in the 20th century, she said the Orthodox community was so backward that one would need to travel to another time to “understand the world I used to live in.”
After leaving her community, she went on to marry Swiss billionaire Silvio Scaglia, who was the CEO of the company that owned La Perla, in 2019.
He made Haart the CEO of his modeling agency, Elite World Group, the same year they tied the knot.
“The guy I was forced to marry is a much nicer one person than the man I chose,” Haart said on the podcast, referencing her messy split from the businessman.
Julia Haart’s contentious divorce
Not only did Haart file from divorce from her husband of two years, but she made explosive claims about him threatening to kill her.
In a petition for a restraining order, the Netflix star asked a court to prohibit Scaglia from coming near or contacting her, accusing him of hostility toward her youngest son’s Judaism.
“I will kill you in the public eye,” he allegedly told her.
Haart claimed in the petition, which was seen by Page Six in 2022, that she was “scared for my safety and the safety of my children, some of whom reside with me.”
She added, “Over the past several weeks, Respondent has become increasingly volatile, abusive and unhinged.”
Elsewhere, she alleged that he “routinely berated me, calling me ‘a venomous snake,’ a ‘monster’ and a ‘liar,’ in the presence of third parties and at times, my children. One of Respondent’s favorite epithets is to tell me to ‘go f–k yourself.’”
However, Haart lost her bid to prove that Scaglia had abused her.
The legal battle over Elite World Group
On the same day that Haart filed for divorce, she was sacked from her position as CEO of the modeling agency Elite World Group.
Netflix cameras for her “My Unorthodox Life” show were rolling when Haart was hit with the news.
She then sued her estranged husband in a bid to claim that she owned 50 percent of EWG’s holding company.
However, she also lost her fight in the Delaware Supreme Court and also lost an appeal in April 2023.