The prettiest Dancing With the Stars judge (sorry, Len and Bruno) was born on January 5, 1968, so in honor of Carrie Ann Inaba’s birthday, we’re sharing 10 things we love about the former Fly Girl.
1. She’s the only judge brave enough to be on Twitter
It’s a pretty thankless gig to be a DWTS judge. All three of them take heat from the passionate fan bases every season, but Team MakSolo fans were especially angry with Carrie Ann during Season 13. She calmly but firmly responded to fans on Twitter @carrieanninaba, standing her ground with dignity as things spiralled out of control around her. Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli have yet to sign up for such a hazardous duty.
2. She was also brave enough to perform on Madonna's "The Girlie Tour”
One of Carrie Ann's early breaks was performing on Madonna's 1993 world tour — and she had to open every tour performance by sliding down a 50-foot-long fire pole. Oh, and she was also topless with a shaved head. Here's what she said about the topless part, "My family still teases me about this. But I loved it! I thought it was so amazing to be given an opportunity to be a little different, to be edgy and not what a TYPICAL, stereotypical Asian woman is represented as usually. I took it as a challenge. The original idea was for the show to be filled with androgyny. I loved the idea and wanted to find the beauty in that type of performance. It was risqué but it was so exciting to see how people reacted to it every night."
3 She was a Japanese pop star
Carrie Ann not only dances — she sings! She also speaks Japanese and reportedly lived in Tokyo from 1986 to 1988, where she is said to have released the pop songs "Party Girl," "Be Your Girl," and "Yume no Senaka.” Watch her give a tour of Tokyo in this Tokyology video.
4. She’s not afraid to be silly
The celebs and pros always look wonderfully bizarre in the wild DWTS costumes, but Carrie Ann has definitely been to Crazy Costume Town herself. She played "Fook Yu" in Austin Powers in Goldmember. As she said in an interview about Asian Americans in entertainment, "I think there is a lot of me in Fook Yu. She is just having fun. I loved being Fook Yu, I still am. (I don't [wear] the outfit anymore but that's still me. I'm not going to pretend like it was some major acting role because it wasn't but she's always going to be a part of me..) She's someone I would love to hang out with once in while. She just loves to smile and have fun and the world is a nice happy place to her."
Watch Carrie Ann in Austin Powers here:
5. She's honest ... about not being BFFs with J.Lo
Carrie Ann and Jennifer Lopez were both Fly Girls on the 1990s TV show In Living Color. Carrie Ann talked to Wendy Williams about the experience, including how weird it was that people would look at the cast photo and confuse the two of them — when Jennifer is Latina and Carrie Ann is Asian. Wendy asked if she and J.Lo were friends. "Well, we worked together," Carrie Ann said. "Not always — you know, when you have a room full of five girls, strong personalities, you don't always get along. That's all." She laughs. Wendy says, "That means 'Read between the lines, Wendy, and stop talking.’” Carrie Ann laughs again. "Next subject!"
6. She’s also honest about how she met her fiance
It’s not easy for anyone to meet Mr. Right, even a beautiful celeb. Carrie Ann said she met her fiance, Jesse Sloan, on eHarmony. She didn’t post a photo or say who she was, but she was honest about her love for cats. Hey, it worked. Jesse proposed to her on TV this past March while she was co-hosting Live With Regis and Kelly.
7. She really, really loves cats
Carrie Ann has described herself as a “crazy cat lady.” She has five cats and sometimes tweets photos of the little cuties. "My cats are my life. If I could, I'd love to open up a sanctuary specifically for cats," Carrie Ann told the NY Daily News. "Maybe I'm a little crazy, but I was even before my cats."
8. She has a big heart
Beyond cats, we can always count on Carrie Ann to be the judge who tears up with genuine, heart-felt appreciation after any powerful DWTS routine. If you dance a Waltz dedicated to your mom or just have a special connection with your partner, Carrie Ann will notice and comment about it. The other judges may focus more on specific ballroom dance techniques, but Carrie Ann goes for the heart.
9. She stands up for others
The judges bicker every week, but we know they care about each other and it was nice to see Carrie Ann immediately jump in to defend Len when Maksim Chmerkovskiy made his comment that maybe it was time for Len to retire. She is not afraid to speak up on behalf of herself or other people, but she never does it in a nasty, mean-spirited way. She can be sensitive and even sharp, but never cruel.
10. She’s gorgeous
We should all look so good at 24, never mind 44. Every week, after we’re done checking out what Brooke Burke-Charvet has on, we look to see what gown and jewels Carrie Ann is wearing at the judges’ table. She always looks stunning. Carrie Ann was on the cover of Natural Health a couple of months ago, talking about her food and fitness routine. As she told the mag, “Dancers aren’t exactly known for their healthy eating habits." She changed her pattern of “eating thin” to a more healthy, anti-inflammatory diet. For exercise, besides dancing she does kickboxing, yoga, Pilates, works on her organic garden and chases after all those cats. Whatever she’s doing, it’s working.
Happy b-day, Carrie Ann!
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