SHALHEVET AT 20: Natalie Hara ’06: In fashion design, and beyond the high school cliques


By Sigal Spitzer, Opinion Editor

Q: What did you do straight after high school, and what do you do now?

A: Three weeks after graduating I started to go FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising). Now I own my own clothing line, Natalia Romano.

Q: What is your fondest/funniest memory from your time at Shalhevet?

A: When I was at Shalhevet we had a bunch of couches in the middle of the hallway that we just chilled at. It was a fun school in general when I was there.

Q: Who was your favorite teacher and why?

A: I loved Roen. She let me channel my artistic creations. I got to sketch and paint all day in her class. I was in AP art.

Q: If you could go back and give your high school self some advice, what would it be?

A: To care less about everything. All the kids, the cliques… it was really cliquey when I was there. Basically when you get to college you don’t keep in touch with that many people. When you do it’s with the people you would never expect to keep in touch with. Forget who is cliquey or popular. Focus on the people, because that is who you are going to stick to. Amazing people came out of Shalhevet that I am friends with that I never expected to be friends with. They are in different fields than I am. Try to keep friendships because in college you don’t have Jewish friends, but having someone who understands the same traditions is important.I don’t have any Jewish friends now, but I should have made more friends at Shalhevet because that is who you want to be with eventually. Friends who share the same traditions as you.Forget about being in high school and take note about who are your peers. It will change. Whoever is popular or funny will change. And you end up with real amazing people.

Q: If you could start one club/team/co-curricular at Shalhevet for current students, what would you start and why?

A: I would take a poll and see what the students are interested in. This is important even though it seems funny, but social media. It is a part of my day. It looks like I am just sitting on Facebook or Instagram, but I am just sitting on them and don’t know how to use them.  Electronics and social media can help so many fields —  business, designers, artists — or promote a store. Being on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest and learning how to use them are important. I look for people when I hire to see if they are good at marketing. People in high school would be into this class, because they’re sitting on Facebook anyways, so why not learn how to make money while doing it.  Also a sewing class would be fun. I learned how to sew when I was 7 years old because my dad had a laundry line. His sewers taught me how. Now I stick to design though — art was something I always knew I wanted to do. The teachers were supportive of me doing that. When I would doodle in the middle of class, they got it and understood me.

Q: Sum up your Shalhevet experience in three words or less. 

A: Really good stepping stone.

Q: Describe the role of Judaism in your life now in one sentence.

A: Judaism definitely plays a role in my life. I didn’t go to Israel and it didn’t play a role in my life in college. Jewish learning stopped for me after high school… I was next to Chinese and random girls from the Bronx and you don’t open horizons. I became a hippie. A couple years later, now, its weird. I want to have Jewish friends and people around me that understand what I’m saying. If I’m out with friends and I say that I don’t eat meat out, questions come. It’s hard to explain every time when people ask me if I am a vegetarian. Having a Jewish friend circle is important. Not that you shouldn’t have any friends that aren’t Jewish, just that I feel more comfortable with people that understand me. It’s hard to explain tradition.I was in a mindset that wanted to go straight to what I was doing. Most people don’t know what they want to do when they are in high school but I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wish I had enjoyed the moment [in high school] a lot more. When it’s done it done, and after graduation you think you’ll sill see these people but you don’t. I wish I got to know people in the classes above and below me. We think we only need to be friends with people in our grades, but now I’m 25 and it doesn’t matter any more.  When I have friends from Shalhevet now, it’s like why wasn’t I ?