Credit: Chris Weeks/ Getty Images Photo: Ralph Macchio & Karina Smirnoff Pose at the Nintendo 3DS Launch Event at Siren Studios on March 26, 2011

It was easy to see the special connection between Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff on Dancing With the Stars Season 12. They didn't win the Mirror Ball trophy but they did leave the show with a lifelong friendship. (And a new shoe!)

Of course, Karina did win a DWTS trophy with J.R. Martinez on the very next season. The dance pro recently opened up to Joonbug about her favorite past partner and life after DWTS.

“I really enjoyed dancing, meeting and becoming best friends with Ralph Macchio," Karina told the website. “He's like my big brother I never had and his family is my extended family for sure!”

As for her Season 11 partner, The Situation, Karina offers a different perspective on the resident bad guy in Jersey Shore.

“[Mike is] ery different [from his on-screen persona],” Karina said. “Mike is a sweet guy and tried really hard. He is definitely an entertainer and had all of us on the show laughing with him all the time.”

But enough about past partners, what would Karina like to do after DWTS?

“Continue building my brand focused on health, beauty, fitness and nutrition; as well as  growing as a dancer, artist, actor, business woman, person and  hopefully Mother one day!”

If you’re in NYC, don’t forget to catch Karina at the New Year's Eve party she's hosting for Joonbug in Times Square. (Fancy fancy!)

Source: Joonbug

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