Adorable Instagram pets have been popping up left and right, but there’s only one Cavalier King Charles spaniel that stole our hearts from day one. That honor belongs to Toast, a lovable rescue with a floppy tongue, “better beach waves than Gisele” and an insatiable love for dressing up. To date, the Instagram account Toast Meets World boasts over 245,000 followers, thanks to the help of Toast’s parents Josh Ostrovsky, the comedic Instagram sensation known as “The Fat Jew,” and his wife, Katie Sturino, founder and publicist at Tinder PR. We caught up with Katie to find out how Toast really became an Internet star, what it takes to maintain her celebrity status and what’s next for our favorite furry friend.
theFashionSpot: For those who don’t know, where did you find Toast?
Katie Sturino: Toast was a breeding dog at a puppy mill in North Carolina. Puppy mill moms are bred at every opportunity in order to get the maximum amount of puppies (and money) possible out of the dog. Toast was 6 or 7 when she was taken out of the mill. Half the dogs were frozen to death in the January temperatures, but Toast was sitting there with a mouth full of rotten teeth, ready to begin her life. She was brought up to New York to be adopted out and we adopted her in January of 2010, had her rotten teeth removed and the rest is history.
tFS: Why did you decide to give her an Instagram account?
KS: Have you seen her face? Seriously, though, she is a very special dog with a personality like I have never seen. She is part dumpling, part diva and everyone who meets her falls in love.
tFS: How much of your day is focused on Toast Meets World?
KS: I spend about an hour and a half a day on TMW, taking photos and replying to emails.
tFS: How did she become a fashion icon?
KS: I started the account by dressing her up in different outfits and found that she was not only good at wearing clothes, but she actually looks like a model. I guess I wasn’t alone because months after I started, Karen Walker approached us to do her 2015 eyewear campaign.
Toast for Karen Walker Eyewear; Image: Karen Walker
tFS: What was Toast’s first fashion show?
KS: Karen Walker Fall 2015 was Toast’s first fashion show and, yes, she only sits front row.
tFS: When did you know she “made it?”
KS: When she threw a hot coffee at me and told me she only drinks lattes.
tFS: Whose career is Toast’s modeled after?
KS: Cara Delevingne. Toast is beautiful, but not afraid to look silly or use humor to get a point across.
tFS: You have over 245,000 followers on Instagram. What’s your goal?
KS: One million!
tFS: Who was your first celebrity follower on Instagram?
KS: Drew Barrymore. I was like how did she find us?
tFS: Toast has some great shirts and bags available for sale on Toast Meets World. Is there a full-fledged fashion collection in her future?
KS: Yes. In fact, Toast and Choupette are planning to meet up in Paris to talk about a potential collaboration.
Toast Posing with Karlie Kloss; Image: Toast Meets World Instagram
tFS: Celebrities flock to Toast. Who’s her number one fan?
KS: Karlie Kloss. She is an animal lover and was totally into Toast’s cause.
tFS: There’s a great charitable aspect with Toast’s Instagram concerning pet adoption and puppy mills. How important is that component to you and how will you continue to draw focus on that in the future?
KS: For me, it is the most important thing about Toast’s Instagram. I have heard from so many people that they adopted a dog because of Toast or they stopped a friend from buying from a pet store. I want to continue to educate people about the realities of buying dogs online and in pet stores in a humorous way.
tFS: What have been some of your most popular Instagrams to date?
KS: Sunday morning Toast photos and videos of her #swalking are always the most popular. She #swalks when you carry her; it’s a combination of air walking and swimming.
tFS: What was it like to do a photoshoot with Eva Chen at Lucky last year?
KS: Eva Chen is quite the comedienne! She wrote an entire sketch with Toast, and I was so impressed with her. She has been one of Toast’s biggest supporters.
tFS: How has Toast’s fame impacted your life?
KS: I’ve gotten to take my passion for rescuing dogs and talking about puppy mills from something that I believe in to actually being able to make a difference and educate people about why buying dogs from pet stores and online is bad. I also get stopped on the street by Toast fans to take selfies, which is pretty amazing and weird.
tFS: What’s your tip for people out there who want to launch the next Instagram pet sensation?
KS: I would suggest that you make an account for fun and just for friends and family. It’s a lot of work to do this “professionally.”
tFS: What’s next for Toast?
KS: We just signed a book deal with HarperCollins. The book is coming out in 2016. We can’t wait to see it!