What happens when a 43 years old woman, mother to 4 children leaves her community in which she was raised and sets out on her own to conquer the modern world? This is what the Netflix TV series ‘My Unorthodox Life’ is all about.
In ‘My Unorthodox Life’ season 1, we saw that Haart and her children decide to leave the Haredi Jewish community in Monsey, New York, because of the discomfort with the community’s strict religious observances and principles to pursue their passions for fashion and design. The show depicts Haart completing an autobiographical work recalling her journey and struggle to escape from an extremist religious sect and extraordinary rise from a housewife to shoe designer, CEO and co-owner of Elite World Group, one of the world’s largest modelling and talent management agencies. Haart’s also has an ensuing memoir with titled, Brazen: My Unorthodox Journey from Long Sleeves to Lingerie.
The show includes Haart, her four children, Batsheva, Shlomo, Miriam, and Aron; her second husband Silvio Scaglia Haart, who is an Italian entrepreneur as well as her best friend Robert Brotherton who is also the chief operating officer to Elite Model World.
Haart was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1971. When she was 3, her parents left Russia and moved to Austin, Texas where she attended private school, and was the school’s only Jewish student. They moved to Monsey, New York when Haart was in fourth grade where the large Haredi community influenced her parents and they grew more religious. She married her first husband, a yeshiva student, five years senior to her at the age of 19 and bore 4 children. As it is evident, she didn’t have any career and never got a chance to be on her first date.
While living as a Haredi Jew in Atlanta Haart became very uncomfortable with her community because of community’s strict religious observances and principles. She was bothered in particular by the treatment of her younger daughter, Miriam. She said in an interview with the New York Times that her daughter “just wouldn’t conform. 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.” According to her interview with Los Angeles Times, she confirmed that she suffered mental health issues as well and considered committing suicide before finally leaving the community.
She started to think of leaving the community for the outside world and started exploring the possibilities by reading books and watching TV shows and movies at the age of 35. She left the community and set out on her own finally at the age of 43. She launched her own shoe collection, became creative director of La Perla and is now CEO and co-owner of Elite World Group in New York City just in the matter of eight years. She met her future husband Silvio Scaglia while working at La Perla who was the owner of the brand at that point of time and they married in 2019.
All about My Unorthodox Life season 2
Remember the speech delivered by Julia Haart at the end of the first season when she sits down at the head of her family dinner and makes a toast. She says “I think that we are a very rare and usual group of people. The relationships we’ve formed have withstood the test of religion, location, disagreement, and look at where we are. We’re sitting here connected and united, even though we are so very different,” while looking at the table of her children, her ex-husband, his new girlfriend, and her colleague cum best friend. The speech itself summarizes almost everything depicted in season 1. How Haart is compelled to decide to leave her ultra-Orthodox Jewish community at the age of 43 as she enters new world full of challenges and possibilities. How she faces everything and eventually becomes CEO of Elite World Group. How this new role has affected her life, career, her family, and her outlook on the world.
Ready for more Haart family time?
My Unorthodox Life will return for a second season as it was confirmed in the fall of 2021 which is most likely to bring back the fun of glamour and luxury of the first nine episodes i.e. trips to Paris Fashion Week, designer clothes, yacht parties and all. Also, it will bring more discussions around religion, feminism, and personal freedom and I am sure that the fans will enjoy it all.
Haart shared the exciting news on The Ellen Show in Sep’21 that My Unorthodox Life has been renewed for second season officially. Same has been announced by Netflix via press release confirming that the season 2 will be a full treat of fashion, female empowerment, faith and more. Though the official release date hasn’t been confirmed as of now, but we can safely speculate that the second season will be hitting Netflix in coming summer following the trend set by season 1 as it was released around same time in 21.
My Unorthodox Life season 2 star cast
Fans can expect most of their favorite cast members to return in season 2. It can be safely assumed after Netflix’s press release that the whole Haart family including Haart’s eldest daughter, Batsheva (social media influencer); Haart’s eldest son, Shlomo, Haart’s youngest daughter Miriam, and Haart’s youngest son Aron will be part of season 2. We might also see Silvio, Haart’s husband, and Robert Brotherton, the COO at Elite World Group and Haart’s right-hand man returning in season 2.
But it is not clear as of now if the fans will be able to see Ben Weinstein, Batsheva’s husband, in the upcoming season. Relationship between Ben Weinstein and Batsheva played an important part in season 1, however, Weinstein and Batsheva announced in Nov’21 that they have separated.
A note posted by couple on Instagram said ““We have so much love and respect for each other but have realized that it is time to take some space to ensure that each of us live the most joyous, fulfilling lives possible. There are no secrets nor salacious events to blame. We are just two best friends who met at a very young age and have grown over the past 9 years each in our own way.”
Later Weinstein also posted one of his photos on Instagram with the caption, “‘Officially not-famous.’” We aren’t sure if this aspect of their relationship will be featured in the TV series.
More about the show
The show received some criticism for its depiction of Orthodox Jewish life after season 1 being aired. Some Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox women expressed disagreement and criticized Haart’s message of women in these communities being oppressed and expected or should I say forced to exist as wives and mothers only while they have very potential and right to do anything they want like men.
According to an article published by New York times Haart “agreed to address the debate over her show in an in-person interview if it could be filmed as part of her show.” But this agreement was declined by Times and Haart and the newspaper were not able “to agree on an alternative.”
She told the times “My sole purpose in sharing my personal story is to raise awareness about an unquestionably repressive society where women are denied the same opportunities as men, which is why my upcoming book and season 2 of my show will continue to document my personal experience that I hope will allow other women to insist on the precious right to freedom.”
Haart has discussed the issue a few times during interviews after the release of the first season and it is possible that the topic could be part of season 2. She told ELLE.com upon being asked how she navigates such conversations during the rise of anti-Semitism “My issue is that no man, no country, no philosophy, and no religion should tell women who they are supposed to be and what they’re supposed to be doing, otherwise they’re sinners and bad. This isn’t about God. This certainly isn’t about Judaism. This is solely and utterly about fundamentalism.”
Want more Haart time before season 2 release – pre-order Haart’s memoir
If you find it tough to wait for ‘My Unorthodox Life’ season 2 and want to have some more Haart in your life there’s a good news: Her memoir, ‘Brazen: My Unorthodox Journey from Long Sleeves to Lingerie’ is available for pre-order. The memoir will illustrate Haart’s extraordinary career along with her former life before leaving Haredi Jew community when she used to collect fashion magazines, sketches of cloth designs and sold life insurance while being prepared to leave her community.
Writing the memoir’s first draft consisting over 1,000 pages, was a “cathartic” experience, she explained to Oprah Daily.
“My life is a miracle. I didn’t imagine anything when I left. I only knew that if I didn’t leave, I wouldn’t survive. I had been able to contain my misery for a very long time. But the year before I left, it was so bad that it was literally oozing out of my pores, and I couldn’t bear it anymore,” Haart said while talking about her decision to leave the community.
Check her memoir out for more and stay tuned for latest updates on your favourite TV shows.