Beth Karas, a former prosecutor and legal analyst, is used to fearlessly clearing boundaries and being the “last first” person to accomplish something.
“I was the last first in my family to leave my small town, to leave western Massachusetts for the big city. I was the last first in my family to study abroad, to visit a foreign country,” she told Oxygen in a recent interview.
Oxygen is using Women’s History Month as an opportunity to celebrate and support women all over who have been the “last first,” whether it’s in their families, their careers, or elsewhere.
Karas, who hosted “Unspeakable Crime: The Killing Of Jessica Chambers” on Oxygen, certainly fits that bill. She entered the male-dominated fields of law and crime journalism after graduating from Mount Holyoke College and Fordham Law School. Karas then worked for eight years as an assistant defense attorney in New York City but eventually decided to embark on a new path.
“I was a prosecutor, and then I made a big career move and that took a lot of courage to basically give up the practice of law to go into a career of television when I was 37 years old,” she said.
Karas was inspired to teach the average person about the workings of the criminal justice system. Her bold change ended up being the right one, she says, even if it took a leap of faith.
“I have never looked back with any regrets,” Karas added.
She ended up spending 19 years as an on-air correspondent at Court TV, covering some of the biggest criminal cases in the United States, including the trials of Casey Anthony, Jodi Arias, Drew Peterson, Scott Peterson, O.J. Simpson, and Phil Spector. She continues to work as a legal analyst to this day for various outlets, including Oxygen, hosts her own podcast, and has a website of the same name: Karas on Crime.
“The greatest piece of advice I’ve received from another woman in my life is to never forget where you come from — and I never have,” she emphasized.
Karas, who said she comes from a humble background, explained that her upbringing inspired her to stay true to herself when it came to pursuing her career — and not just going for the jobs that would give her the most money. That practice has only helped her career grow.
Now, amid a lifetime spent achieving firsts while breaking through to find success in competitive fields, Karas has plenty of advice for future generations of women.
“Your reputation is everything. Guard it carefully. Keep your word. Don’t compare yourself to other women. Be honest at all times. Step outside yourself and see yourself the way others see you,” she told Oxygen.
Most importantly, Karas said, “Remember that empowered women empower women.”