Elite World Group CEO Julia Haart Talks Style & the Power of Being Your Own Brand
Be passionate about what you do.
All summer long we’re checking in with friends to see how they’re working from home and leaning into the warmer months. This week we had the pleasure of chatting with Julia Haart, the co-owner and CEO of Elite World Group. Read below to see how she continues to evolve the business of the modeling industry, expanding into ready-to-wear apparel, oh, and her WFH fits (Gucci shoes, anyone?).
How do you start your days?
“A lot of caffeine! Two iPads and my drawing utensils.”
Talk to us a little bit about your work environment right now. Are you back in the office, or working remotely from home?
“We just moved into our brand-new office at Hudson Yards. It is so exciting to be in our new office space and to see members of my team for the first time in over three months. It’s exciting, but we are taking every precaution necessary to make sure all of our employees stay safe, healthy, and well. We will have a rotating schedule of employees, make sure everyone adheres to social distancing, a cleaning staff available to wipe down the office space multiple times a day, and are making sure to stay in constant contact with members of our team in case any of them are starting to feel ill.
“Our new office is over three times the size of all of our old offices combined, and it is the first time that all the Elite World Group agencies—The Society Management, Women Model Management, Supreme Management, and Women 360 Management—are working under one roof for the first time in the company’s history. We have come a long way to unite and help one another. We have editing bays, photo, video, and podcast studios, our newly launched digital division, and the headquarters of e1972.
“I love the people working for our company, and our business is truly a people business. I really missed the daily interaction with my staff, and even though we saw each other on Zoom calls nonstop, it wasn’t the same as face-to-face.”
How do you stay focused and motivated throughout the day? Any tricks you can share?
“I’m very passionate about what I do. Once I set a goal for myself, that’s all I think about and focus on. The trick is to always question every action, whether or not it falls into ‘Will this get me towards my goal I set for myself or not?’ If it’s something that is not going towards that goal, I put it aside.
“I’m a silver-lining kind of person, so to me, this new digital age presents unique opportunities for my talent to build themselves in the digital space and create themselves into brands. I built an entire digital team last year because I realized that if we aggregate our talent, we reach over one billion viewers, and that if we can help our talent to curate their own presence online, through social media and beyond, we can shift the power dynamic and make them arbiters of their own careers and become a talent media company. I realized that the difference between their channels (which can reach in the millions, individually) and a TV network is that the TV network has producers, directors, photographers, and videographers, so I added those resources in-house to help our talent show their personality, passions, and interests digitally. This will help extend their longevity and build them into media powerhouses. To me, even prior to the ‘new normal,’ we were entering a new digital age, so I wanted my talent to have all the means at their disposal to navigate and utilize to help them become financially independent, far past their traditional runway days. COVID-19 has moved up the time line, and now the entire world is recognizing that advertising and media [have] changed forever. I’m very motivated to help my talent use this change to their betterment. I really believe in what I do, and helping women become financially independent is my goal in life.”
It’s a tricky time in our world, and economically speaking, it’s unclear what the future holds. How do you foresee this time impacting your industry?
“I think the world has gone to a new digital era that will create vast opportunities for people and companies who are prepared to change and grow. As Winston Churchill said, ‘To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to change often.’ The world may be a different one, but we should embrace change and hope for a new beginning.”
From a creative standpoint, who or what has been your biggest influence?
“From a creative standpoint, it depends on my mood and the moment. I’m obsessed with art in all its forms. Sometimes it can be an architect like Zaha Hadid, sometimes it can be JJ, sometimes it can be a piece of furniture from the Bauhaus period, or maybe an olive tree in Greece, or a black rose on the sidewalk. I’m inspired by whatever is around me at that particular time.”
Tell us a little bit about your style right now. What’s your go-to uniform?
“I’m so excited I get to dress up in suits and heels again—I feel much more alive. To me, your clothing is such an expression of who you are, and it’s the armor that we put on to face the world. Wearing things that are beautifully made and are elegant gives me confidence.”
Are there any style essentials you rely on for your summer wardrobe?
“A really comfortable pair of slim Saint Laurent jeans and a pair of custom-size Gucci shoes, because I’m a size 34.”
Let’s switch gears for a minute: Are there any beauty products essential to your day-to-day?
How do you unwind at the end of the day?
“Sitting on the couch with my husband, Silvio Scaglia Haart, over a glass of good Tuscan wine and sharing stories of our day together.”
Photos: Courtesy of Julia Haart
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