Trolls say I'm 'too old' for sexy shapewear, I've had panic attacks over the hate but I won't change, says Julia Haart | The Sun

REALITY star, fashion designer, and author Julia Haart has just one mission: to help women find their freedom, from the boardroom to the bedroom.

Since breaking away from her strict Orthodox Jewish upbringing, the star of Netflix’s hit show My Unorthodox Life has found a new purpose — and that includes wearing provocative clothing.

Haart, who let The U.S. Sun into her bi-level Tribeca penthouse for an exclusive interview, said trolls do target her, but she won't let them hold her back.

“There's this little group who always have something to say," she explained.

"If I wear just shapewear, I’m too old to be wearing something so sexy.

"If I wear something they don’t like it’s too colorful, it’s too young, it’s too this, it’s too that, I’m too fat, I'm too thin, I’m anorexic.

“For those who send negative messages, I know that it isn’t about me.

"Someone who is sending hate to a complete stranger says a lot more about who they are than who I am.

"And I realize it’s because they are really unhappy.

“So instead of having anger, or hating them, I'd rather bless them and whatever it is in their life that’s causing them so much pain that their only pleasure is to hurt others, I hope it goes away.

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"I hope your life gets better, so that you never feel the need to put yourself up by putting someone down.”

Julia said she knew reality TV fame would lead to insults because it's so easy for strangers to hurl them anonymously.

The mother of four said: “A large part of the [Orthodox] culture is literally bringing people down. And so I was very afraid.

“Believe it or not, I’m actually a private person, which sounds impossible because I allow the world to see everything, but that’s for a purpose.

“And the reason was to utilize my story to help other women create their own.

"So every time I have a panic attack or every time I’m like, 'oh my goodness, why am I doing this?' I remind myself of the reason.

“I told myself that the only way to change things is to be really loud. And to make a lot of noise. And that’s what I’m going to keep doing.

“I just want to give strength to other women. And to have them remember their purpose."

It’s hard to believe that just a decade ago Haart, who at 52 is rarely seen wearing anything other than a super low-cut shirt or mini skirt, was covering up almost every part of her own body.

Growing up in an ultra-religious Jewish community, Haart said she didn't find herself until she busted out — literally.

The self-proclaimed body-positive spitfire is more than making up for lost time.

She said: "I reveal as much as I humanely can without completely shocking people. My entire life, I was covered from head to toe.

"Until I was 42 years old, the only parts of my body that were uncovered were my face and my hands.

"And that comes from this concept that men are incapable of controlling themselves and therefore, it’s on a woman to ensure that a man never sins.

"I had no autonomy over my body.

"How I lived, who I had relationships with, how those relationships transpired, what I was allowed to do in a bedroom.

"Every low-cut top, every time I wear a mini skirt or something see-through it says to me: 'I’m Julia Haart.' I don’t have to hide, I’m not afraid and it’s my body. So it’s like my freedom flag.

"Everything about my body wasn’t mine to decide.

"So every low-cut top, every time I wear a mini skirt or something see-through it says to me: 'I’m Julia Haart.' I don’t have to hide, I’m not afraid and it’s my body. So it’s like my freedom flag."

Today, Julia is proudly flaunting that flag with all of her standout and stylish stripes.

She might have separated herself from that more prudish part of her past but Julia, who doesn’t believe in any sort of organized religion, remains proud of her Jewish faith.

She said: “I don’t think God cares what I eat, or whether my elbows are covered or not. I don’t think that God thinks it’s my responsibility to prevent men from sin.

"I think God wants to hear my truth and so I talk to God all the time. I honestly feel more connected to God now than I did when I lived in my community.”

Now, she is reshaping her career — and her life — with her shapewear line, +Body by Julia Haart.

The line was inspired by Bridget Jones' infamous "granny panties," which made her look better in her dress but caused a horrified reaction from Hugh Grant's character Daniel Cleaver.

Julia said: “She’s holding up these really ugly, beige, nasty-looking panties.

“She decides she’s going to wear them, she goes to the party, it works, he likes her, and then she gets tipsy, forgets she’s wearing them, and brings him home.

“When I saw that I thought to myself: 'Wait a minute, what do women do who wear shapewear? How do they get undressed in front of someone else?'”

And Julia decided to launch her own market research on the matter.

She said: "When I asked women what they would do with their shapewear, they gave me the craziest answers.

"In the middle of foreplay, we run to the bathroom, we take off the shapewear, we hide it in a drawer, we come back – this is crazy.

“I had this powerful banker woman at my home for dinner, and you could notice her shapewear when she sat down and her skirt rode up.

"She was so embarrassed and she started apologizing and explaining how she’s on her period and she’s bloated and I just had to stop her.

"In the middle of foreplay, we run to the bathroom, we take off the shapewear, we hide it in a drawer, we come back – this is crazy.

"I thought to myself, that’s so unfair to her. She shouldn’t have to feel shame in wearing shapewear. She should flaunt it — and enjoy it.

"For me, this is all about women loving themselves and feeling confident."

She also explained how her daughter and 20-something-year-old friends wear shapewear even with perfect bodies — so that they can focus on what’s under the undergarments.

She said: “When they wear shapewear, they know everything is going to stay in place.

"They don’t have to worry about anything, and it lets them focus on their lives.

"I thought that was really beautiful. If that’s what it takes to forget about your external and focus on what you have in here and in here (pointing to her head and her heart) that’s amazing."

She emphasized that her sexy styles are for everyone from a size 0 — much like Julia herself — to someone who is an XXXL.

Her line, which includes everything from a mid-thigh power suit to an in-control thong ranges in price from $98 to $198 and can be found on the +Body by Julia Haart website.

Julia wanted to find out why shapewear wasn't given the same style credentials as other undergarments.

She realized it was not for lack of understanding of what looks good, but rather because of the manufacturing process.

She said: “Traditional shapewear is made out of a compression material. So once you dye it, you see lines and distortion of pattern when it's stretched.”

This determined dynamo had to find a way to color clothing without traditional dyes.

Julia and I had our own tug-of-war with one of her turquoise bodysuits — and the material definitely didn't show any signs of distortion.

She said of her mission: "It’s about freeing women from some discomfort or constraint or a lack of financial independence.

"Whatever it is, whether it’s shoes or business or shapewear, it’s always about making women’s lives better."

The petite powerhouse also said that her shapewear collection is for all sizes.

“I hate this concept of a 'proper size,' everybody’s size is valuable and beautiful,” she said.

Julia previously own a namesake shoe collection, was creative director at luxury lingerie line La Perla, and was CEO at Elite Model Management.

A self-taught seamstress, she started drawing shoes and handbags at the age of five but had to wait until she was married to get her first sewing machine.

“I can’t remember a time when self-expression and art inside my body didn’t translate through design,” she explained.

Julia, who was just the recipient of an Icon Award for her trailblazing designs at London Fashion Week, might have come a long way from her religious roots, but according to her, this is just the beginning.

She said: “I’m going to constantly create and invent and try and change women's lives and I’m never going to stop.

"I will never allow anyone to stop me. And yes, this is my 'I’m back and I’m going forward' moment.

“No matter what, I realized that I’m not back where I started. I have friends and I have people who know me now, I’m not alone."

Quite the opposite. The fashion executive has received an outpouring of support from women all over the world.

Though I haven’t met Mr. Right, I’ve certainly met Mr. Right Now a couple of times.

This includes messages from women who have left abusive relationships, started companies, cut ties with fundamental cults, and overall told her how they have changed their lives because of Julia's show or book.

The biggest project she has going on right now? Herself.

“Oh honey, I’m just getting started,” she laughed.

In addition to her new shapewear brand, she is also partnering with Ameon, a high-end skincare line, and has some other secret projects in the works.

Working on herself is a process that involves how she treats both her outside — and inside.

The designer, who wants others to feel comfortable in their own skin, has certainly become much more confident in hers lately.

She said: “I don’t want to hide anything now.

"I talk about freedom in every direction, whether it’s sexual freedom or the freedom to dress as I want or birth control or what I eat or who I love or how I love who I sleep with.”

Julia, who split from her second husband Silvio Scaglia last year, has also been delving back into dating – and she’s finding it to be a refreshing experience.

Using apps for the first time in her life, Julia is having fun – and loving it.

“I have had an incredible time. Though I haven’t met Mr. Right, I’ve certainly met Mr. Right Now a couple of times, so I’ve had beautiful relationships and incredible experiences.

“I’ve realized that just because something isn’t long-lasting, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have meaning. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process. It’s very empowering. I realized, I never said no to men."

Now, Julia sometimes does what she never did before in her life or relationships — she swipes left.

“I sometimes say no, and it makes me feel strong. It’s my choice. It’s pretty cool.

“I don’t ever want to stop growing and changing. I really hope that 2024 Julia is better than Julia 2023.

"There's not a moment in my life when I don't strive to do better. I'm going to always be a work in progress.

“I do feel that there’s been so much programming and brainwashing done to me that I’m inferior to men and my purpose is to serve men.


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"This experience is forcing me to realize that I still have embers of that inside of me and the only way to change that is action by action.

"Every time I say no, it just makes me stronger."

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