While most Dancing with the Stars pros and their celebrity partners usually keep in touch once the season is over, Karina Smirnoff and Ralph Macchio have taken it to a new level. They’ve remained such close friends since Season 12, Karina has told us in the past she feels like they’re family. She’s even spent birthdays and holidays with Ralph, his wife, and their kids.

Now the two pals are working together once again. Ralph hired Karina for one of the lead roles in a new, still-untitled movie he wrote and is currently directing. Fresh off a day of shooting in Brooklyn, Karina opened up to Wetpaint Entertainment about the exciting new challenge of acting.

Wetpaint Entertainment: So, how has shooting been so far?
Karina: It’s been everything – crazy, amazing, difficult and fun.

Is this your first feature film?
I had a small part in Shall We Dance years ago, but this is the first time I’ve played a major character and had the chance to see the whole thing, the whole movie, come to life in front of my eyes.

What can you tell us about the character you’re playing?
She’s a woman who has her own set of issues, and she randomly meets a young boy who changes her life. They help each other get over their obstacles. It’s a beautiful coming-of-age story.

Did Ralph offer you the part outright or did you have to audition?
It all kind of came together from our overall experience with each other. Dancing with the Stars is, within itself, a big emotional rollercoaster. You and your partner see each other at your strongest, your weakest and everything in between. That’s where he got his inspiration to cast me.

Have you always wanted to act?
Yes, I’ve been taking classes for a long time. But it’s hard to break into it when people already have a certain image of you – and for me, everyone knows me as a dancer, not an actress. That’s why this opportunity is a dream come true for me.

Last question, how do you feel about the outcome of All-Stars?
I think the finale was really exciting. I’m so happy for Tony. If there’s anyone who’s paid his dues on the show, it’s him. He’s been on it since the beginning and this is his first win. Everyone’s thrilled for him.

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