Beth Ostrosky Stern first achieved prominence as an actress and model in the late 1990s. That success helped Beth transition into careers as a television host and a best-selling author. Beth’s first book, Oh My Dog: How To Choose, Train, Groom, Nurture, Feed, And Care For Your New Best Friend — which reached #5 on a New York Times Best Sellers chart — widely-showcased her passion for animals. Now, beyond hosting annual events like the Kitten Bowl and the Hero Dog Awards on TV, Beth is known as one of the top animal rights activists out there.
On Dec. 12, Beth will be hosting Beth Stern & Friends’ Bash For The Bulldogs! at The London NYC Hotel. Attendees are set to include rapper and actor Ice-T, reality TV star and entrepreneur Coco Austin, Talk Stoop host Cat Greenleaf, movie producer Jason B. Hurwitz, and best-selling author Jill Rappaport. The event will include live jazz music, buffet dinner, cocktails and wine donated by Chatham Imports. Sponsors include Bulldog Gin and Tito’s Handmade Vodka, while items have been donated by novelist Patricia Cornwell, Staci Gruber, The RTA Store and The Honest Kitchen for a live auction. Tickets can be purchased at www.longislandbulldogrescue.org; proceeds will benefit the New York-based Long Island Bulldog Rescue.
Long Island Bulldog Rescue founder Laurette Richin arranged for Downtown to speak with Beth. No word if Beth’s beloved Howard will be attending this year’s event at this time. However, Beth can be followed on Twitter and Instagram via @BethStern.
You first became known for your work as a model, but now you are mostly known for your work as a host and a spokesperson. Was there a particular assignment or event that first let you showcase your personality?
Beth Stern: I have been involved in animal rescue my entire life. I was modeling in New York when I was asked if I would walk in a fashion show for a North Shore Animal League event and I didn’t leave the runway until every animal was adopted. I’ve been doing commercials my entire life and over the years have hosted several TV shows. It’s extra special when I can combine my passion for animals with speaking engagements or TV shows that promote animal adoption and rescue.
And what inspired you to become so involved with animals in the first place?
BS: I’ve been an animal lover since I was born. It’s in my blood. My entire family always rescued our pets and we also saved injured wildlife. Growing up my family had dogs, cats, guinea pigs, hermit crabs and chickens. We treated our pets as family members.
Is it ever challenging to be associated with animal-related causes? Or do you find it to be less taboo these days?
BS: I am very proud of the work I do to help bring awareness to animal causes. My husband and I foster cats and kittens, and I’ve heard I’m making the whole “crazy cat lady” stigma different! Go ahead and call me crazy if I’m helping to save lives and find homes for homeless animals in need!
How would you describe the upcoming Bash For The Bulldogs to someone who hasn’t attended it before?
BS: This is my favorite event of the year. It’s a magical room full of animal lovers, especially bulldog lovers! Bulldogs are everywhere! Guests bring their own bulldogs and there are always adoptable ones walking around or fast asleep in the middle of the noisy, crowded venue. It always makes me laugh. I always end up on the floor making out with all of the bulldogs!
Bash For The Bulldogs gala aside, what is coming up for you? Will you be hosting this year’s Kitten Bowl?
BS: Yes, I have been hosting Hallmark Channel’s Kitten Bowl for the past four years. We have an extra fun one planned for this Super Bowl Sunday! And the best part is that all of the dogs, cats, puppies and kittens all find forever homes after the taping. Yes, puppies and dogs will be making an appearance this year! I also am thrilled to co-host Hallmark Channel’s annual Hero Dog Awards as well.
Is there an accomplishment or credit of yours that you are most proud of?
BS: Fostering over 300 cats and kittens over the past three years. We’ve also fostered a sweet bulldog for L.I. Bulldog Rescue and found her forever home as well. Nothing makes me happier than helping an animal in need.
A lot of people became Beth fans a result of Howard. On a daily basis, do you encounter a lot of people saying “Bababooey” to you?
BS: No. People do stop me in the street and ask how my cats are doing, though! Howard and I have been together for over 16 years now.
When not busy with your work, how do you like to spend your free time?
BS: Howard and I are constantly busy with our six resident cats — three are special needs — as well as the foster cats and kittens we have at any given time.
Do you have a favorite restaurant in New York?
BS: Polo Bar and Scalinatella.
Finally, Beth, any last words for the kids?
BS: It’s the perfect time of year to open your hearts and homes to a pet in need. Adopt!