Meet the Fuzzy Nation Judges

The entries are in for this year’s Fuzzy Nation Super Model contest, and our judges are narrowing it down to 100! The finalists will be announced some time on Sept. 18, and voting begins Sept. 19 at 12AM PST. We introduced you to our panel of celebrity judges a couple of months ago. Let’s learn some more about them:

Katherine Heigl

Katherine Heigl

Katherine Heigl became a box-office sensation starring first in Judd Apatow’s smash hit comedy, Knocked Up, followed by a starring turn with Ed Burns and James Marsden in the romantic comedy, 27 Dresses, and then opposite Gerard Butler in the romantic comedy The Ugly Truth, which she also executive produced. These earned Heigl “Female Star of the Year” honors at the 2010 ShoWest awards.

Heigl next stars with Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams in the comedy feature The Wedding, opening nationwide in October.

In May of 2009, Katherine Heigl and her mother Nancy launched the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation in honor of her older brother, who died much too young in an automobile accident and whose strong, compassionate nature and great love of animals was the cornerstone of their endeavors. The Heigls are using their resources to work directly to address the pet population crises in Los Angeles and across the country.

Toward that goal, the Foundation launched the “Compassion Revolution” in September of 2010, pledging over one million dollars to a variety of low cost and free spay/neuter programs in Los Angeles and surrounding counties, as a key component to reducing the number of animals in shelters. The Foundation also presently funds pet education programs, actively supports spay/neuter programs, pet adoption programs, and fund and supports small dog transport from local shelters to both no kill shelters and rescues facilities throughout the country. To date the Foundation has funded more than 5500 spay/neuter surgeries, the transport of over 1300 animals out of high euthanasia shelters to areas where they are rapidly adopted and an overwhelming variety of adoption and training programs intently focused on improving the plight of our pets.

Betsy Saul

Betsy Saul

With a vision to change the way the public views shelter pets, Betsy Saul harnessed the infant technology of the Internet in 1996 and molded it into one of the most successful Web businesses to date. The first site of its kind, Petfinder, which Betsy describes as a social profit company, is on a mission to see that no pet is euthanized for lack of a home and to increase the value of the family pet. In this corner of the Web, currency is “lives saved” and profitability is measured in increasing the effectiveness of the shelter and rescue worker. Almost 15 years of consistent and steady growth (in adoptions, traffic and revenue), even in the face of turbulent “dot bomb” and recession years, translates to over five million unique visitors each month and over two million adoptions annually. Betsy was recently named by Woman’s Day magazine as one of fifty “Women Who Are Changing The World.”

In 2005 Betsy co-founded PetVideo.com, which has become the adoption and training video initiative of Petfinder and Animal Planet.com. In 2006, media giant Discovery Communications acquired Petfinder.com in what Ad Age magazine called one of the “best (and sweetest) acquisitions of the year.” Betsy continues to serve Petfinder, focusing on strategy, partnerships and public relations.

In animal welfare, Betsy’s attention is focused on broad-scale progress. She splits her time between Petfinder, the Petfinder.com Foundation, as chairman of the board, and the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs, where she serves on the board of directors. Betsy also serves on the Board of Overseers for Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine for Tufts University and is the co-founder of HEAL Mobile Veterinary Services. Her top priorities are identifying strategies to increase the quality of life for animals and their people, finding alternatives to “warehousing” companion animals who are waiting for a home, and searching for alternatives to traditional spay/neuter programs.

Betsy has been working with and volunteering for animals since she was a teen. Prior to creating Petfinder, she worked as an urban forester for the State of New Jersey, as an agriculture extension agent at Rutgers University, as a park ranger at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska, and as a field scientist for the Army Corps of Engineers in South Carolina. She received her M.S. in forest ecology, specializing in groundwater hydrology at Clemson University. Her work has always emphasized collaboration and partnerships.

Betsy prides herself for having friends in high and low places, so her family includes a diversity of animals ranging from the very large, like Missy, the black Angus cow, to the diminutive Sydney, the box turtle.

John Paul DeJoria

John Paul DeJoria

John Paul DeJoria’s rags-to-riches biography exemplifies the American dream – he is a first-generation American turned entrepreneur, philanthropist, government servant, and pillar of the business community. John Paul DeJoria has struggled against the odds not only to achieve success, but to share this success with others. He knows firsthand what it’s like to be the ‘underdog,’ and strives to help as many as possible overcome their challenges and achieve their full potential.

The prestigious Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans – an organization that honors selected individuals who have overcome humble beginnings and adversity to achieve success – recently recognized John Paul for his exemplary journey. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas inducted John Paul as a lifetime member in a ceremony that took place in the Supreme Court of the United States. Members of the Association – including such notables as Secretary of State Colin Powell, Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, Oprah Winfrey, Norman Vincent Peale, and J.C. Penney – mentor young people and sponsor over $5 million in Horatio Alger need-based scholarships awarded annually to high school seniors who have proven their ability to overcome adversity and humble beginnings.

John Paul DeJoria was born in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California – one of two children of immigrant parents (his father came from Italy and his mother’s family came from Greece). His mother raised him as a single parent before John Paul reached the age of two.

John Paul started out selling greeting cards at age 9 and delivering newspapers in order to help support his family. After high school and service with honors in the U.S. Navy, John Paul did whatever it took to make ends meet – he sold encyclopedias, photocopying machines, dictating equipment, and insurance; he also worked as a janitor, pumped gasoline, drove a tow truck, and repaired bicycles. John Paul was even homeless at one time. Even then, he didn’t give up and collected bottles to stay afloat.

Eventually, John Paul got his break – an entry-level marketing position with Time magazine. Within a short period of time, he was promoted to Los Angeles Circulation Manager. He then moved to his first position in the hair care industry. Within eighteen months, he received a promotion to National Manager of Schools and Chain Salons. John Paul left this position and served at the National Manager and Vice President level for several hair care and cosmetic companies before becoming an independent consultant. He joined his marketing expertise with the hairdressing talents of his friend Paul Mitchell to launch their now-famous professional hair care system.

Although Paul Mitchell tragically died of pancreatic cancer in 1989, the two partners’ dream has flourished. Today, John Paul Mitchell Systems has annual salon retail sales approaching $900 million. The company currently produces over 90 products (including the brands Paul Mitchell®, Modern Elixirs™, Tea Tree™, Paul Mitchell LAB™, and Paul Mitchell Professional Hair Color). All John Paul Mitchell System hair and skin care products are manufactured within the United States. John Paul Mitchell Systems products are sold through 25 distributors within the United States and thousands of hair salons and schools. Internationally, John Paul Mitchell Systems works with distributors in 75 countries that supply thousands of hair salons.

John Paul Mitchell Systems ardently supports a wide variety of philanthropic causes.
Recent donations (totaling millions of dollars) of cash, products, and services have been made to non-profit organizations operating in the fields of health care, social services, environmental protection and awareness, animal welfare, and the arts.

Kristin Hanggi

Kristin Hanggi

Kristin is most known for directing and developing the international smash-hit Rock of Ages which was nominated for five Tony Nominations including Best Direction of a Musical for Kristin Hanggi. She has directed the productions on Broadway, the West End, Australia, Toronto, and two National Tours.

Ms. Hanggi’s other productions include acclaimed pop opera bare produced by Dodger Theatricals which was rated the #1 production in New York by Zagat audiences and ran to sold-out audiences in Los Angeles and off-Broadway, for which she received the Ovation Award Best Musical, LA Weekly Award Best Musical, Robby Award Best Director. Bare continues to be produced all over the world. Ms. Hanggi also directed initial production that launched the Pussycat Dolls, “Pussycat Dolls Live at the Roxy” with Christina Applegate, Carmen Electra and special guests Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, Brittany Murphy, Nikka Costa and Charlize Theron. Other stage productions include: And the Curtain Rises at the Signature Theater; the 2007 winner of the New York’s Fringe Festival, Catch The Fish; Brian Crano’s play Twelfth Premise (LA Times Critics Pick); the Los Angeles Premiere of Terrence McNally’s Corpus Christi (2001 Ticketholder Award, Best Production; 2001 Ticketholder Award, Best Director; 2001 Robby Award, Best Director of a Play); Crane, Mississippi (LA Times Critic’s Choice, Backstage West Critic’s Pick); the New York and Los Angeles productions of the underground cult-hit Ann E. Wrecksick and the Odyssey of the Bulimic Orphans; Greystone (Los Angeles Theater History Project at LATC); Wayside (LA Weekly Pick of the Week). Additionally, she directed Glen Mary Glen Rose: Women Do Men, a benefit for “Step-Up” and the Revlon/UCLA Breast Cancer Center at UCLA’s Royce Hall starring Susan Egan, Amy Brenneman, Teri Garr, Vicki Lawrence, and Jean Smart, among others.

As a screenwriter, she has recently adapted the hit book series, “Dear Dumb Diary” into a musical movie, which she is also directing, under Executive Producer Jerry Zucker. She is also attached to direct Shopping For Boys for Paramount with Mena Suvari and Amy Smart.

Kristin graduated with her Masters from USC after receiving her Bachelors from UCLA in Theater. She is currently developing a musical television series with GREEK creator Sean Patrick Smith, produced by Drew Barrymore’s Flower Films, and The Outsiders as a stage musical for Francis Ford Coppola and American Zoetrope.

Kim Kavin

Kim Kavin

Kim Kavin is a widely published award-winning journalist, as well as a volunteer worker dedicated to fostering puppies who have been saved from high-kill shelters but who have not yet been adopted. She lives in Long Valley, NJ, where her hobbies include cooking, wine tasting, and hiking local park trails with her dog Blue. Her most recent book, Little Boy Blue: A Puppy’s Rescue from Death Row and His Owner’s Journey for Truth, was called a “riveting read” by Dogster.com, and is in the top 5 pet books on Amazon.com. A portion of the proceeds from her book benefit the Petfinder Foundation.