Q & A with Hadley Hartz, a True ‘Southern Belle’

One of my favorite reality shows that I’ve seen was the show Southern Belles: Louisville that aired on SOAPNet in the summer of 2009.  I loved it because it was filmed in Louisville (my second home and where my mother-in-law & sister-in-law live) and because it seemed so much more real than shows like the Real Housewives series and similar shows.  If you watch the show, you can tell that the girls are all very real and are great people.
After starting my 2nd master’s degree this year, In one of my classes we were asked to do a Q & A interview.  I thought about who I could interview, and one of the first people who came to mind was Hadley Hartz from the show.  I knew she had started her own fashion blog recently, and I thought she would be the perfect person to interview.  I wasn’t sure if she would be able to do an interview with her busy schedule, but I was so surprised and thrilled when I got an email back immediately saying she’d love to!  So we set up a time to talk and here is the awesome interview I did with Hadley, and I can say that she is awesome, too! And here is the interview!  Enjoy!

A few years ago Hadley Hartz was just a regular girl in Louisville, Ky.   She was working as a personal assistant for a local film producer when she was given the opportunity of a lifetime.  She was asked to be one of the stars of the show “Southern Belles:  Louisville” along with Kellie Frey, Shea Johnson, Emily Gimmell, and Julie Smith.  When the show ended in June 2009, Hartz had been able to discover what she wanted in life through her opportunities on the show.  Now a professor at Jefferson Community and Technical College, the 29-year-old has expanded her resume to include fashion and beauty blogger.  The blog is called Hadley’s Reality, and through it Hartz has seen even more doors open for her.

Q.  How did you end up as one of the cast members of the SOAPNet reality show, “Southern Belles: Louisville”?

A.  While the show was holding casting calls here in Louisville, my boss and I went out with one of the show’s producers, and he made the comment that I should have my own TV show.  A few months later, he called and said that ABC/Disney wanted me for the show, and I thought he was joking.  I was so surprised!  I did the interview with them and was added to the show.

Q.  What was your experience as part of the cast of a reality show?

A.  It was actually a lot different than I expected it to be.  It was not as intrusive as I thought.  They just asked what they could film each day, and they pretty much stuck with that.  Filming did take a little longer than I thought it would at 8 months, but it was a great experience.

Q.  Do you still keep in touch with the girls from the show?

A.  Definitely.  In fact, I just had lunch with Kellie the other day.  I see Emily a lot, too.  Julie moved to LA, so I don’t get to see her anymore, but Shea, Kellie, Emily and I are still here in Louisville.

Q.  How has your life changed since the show?

A.  Being on the show actually opened up a lot of doors for me.  It was interesting to see yourself on TV through a different set of eyes.  I finally saw that I wanted to pursue teaching, and it helped me realize what I really wanted in life, especially in a man.  Now, I’ve got a really great guy, and I love him.

Q.  How did the show help you decide to start your blog Hadley’s Reality?

A.  Being on the show helped me become better known here in Louisville and in other areas, too.  I was constantly getting questions about what I wore on the show, my makeup on the show, and things like that.  Eventually, I thought that instead of just constantly answering questions individually, I would make a website so that everyone could see what they needed.

Q.  You always have really great fashion finds on your blog.  How do you determine which ones you want to post on there?

A.  Believe it or not, it’s actually pretty random.  I love finding the great discounts at the vintage and thrift stores, so I’m always excited to share a great deal with everyone.  I think there is an art to vintage shopping and I love sharing that with everyone.

Q.  Do you enjoy shopping at the vintage and thrift stores more than department stores and boutiques?

A.  Absolutely.  The other stores are great, but for the price tag, I think about how many clothes I could have at a vintage store.  I remember buying a dress for the show that was around $500, which is probably the most expensive outfit I own.  I always look at it and think about how many other things I could have gotten.

Q.  What are your favorite fashion items to shop for?

A.  Purses would be number one.  You can get a great leather purse for around $4 at a vintage store, and if you bought the same one in a department store you’d pay $50 or more.   The items I’d pick next would probably be belts, long skirts, and high-waisted pants.

Q.  What would you say your favorite outfit is?

A.  My maxi dresses are my favorite because they are a whole outfit by themselves.  You can dress them up or down, and they go so easily from summer to fall with the right accessories.

Q.  You also blog about makeup and beauty products.  What are your favorites in those?

A.  I love having a tan, and I always go for the faux tan instead of tanning beds.  I used to go to a local tanning salon and get the spray tan, but then I discovered a product by L’Oreal that is a gel tanning product that is great.  For makeup, I am in love with Bobbi Brown products.

Q.  What is your day-to-day makeup routine, and how do you switch it up for nights out?

A.  There is actually a huge difference from what I wear to work and when I go out.  At work, I normally don’t wear much makeup, and my hair is usually up.  I want to make sure I look clean and sophisticated since I teach at a college. But at night, I go all out.  I usually wear my hair down and curled, and I always make sure to put on great makeup.

Q. What are your top fashion and beauty tips?

A.  Definitely number one is dress for your body type.  We all can’t wear the latest fashions, and we shouldn’t try.   If it looks good on you, then wear it.  If not, don’t.  Also, always wear heels to look taller and thinner.  And when you are taking pictures, always do a “skinny arm” pose.  Put your hand on your waist or hip where your arm is away from your body.  You’ll look thinner all over.

Q.  You obviously love fashion and beauty.  Do you think that you will ever pursue a career in beauty and fashion instead of teaching?

A.  I love teaching, but teaching doesn’t necessarily let you make big bucks.  I’ve always wanted to open up my own vintage store like the ones I shop at on Bardstown road here in Louisville, but I’ve always been nervous about it.  But recently, someone approached me about starting my own purse line, so I’ll be working on that soon.

Q.  That sounds like a great opportunity.  Have you gotten started on the purse line?

A.  I actually already decided on a name for it—Haute Little Mess.  I am planning on selling them locally in Louisville first, then branching out online, and finally my own store.  I’m really exited about it.

Q.  Do you have any final tips for other fashion and beauty bloggers?

A.  I see so many blogs where people write what it seems like they think other people want to hear, but I find that if I’m truthful about everything I write, people enjoy reading the post more.  Be true to yourself, and you’ll definitely be successful.

Thanks so much again to Hadley for letting me do the interview!  Good luck with Hadley’s Reality & Haute Little Mess!