Looking for scoop on Dancing With the Stars pro Karina Smirnoff? We've got all the latest Karina Smirnoff photos, gossip, and news right here!
Full Name: Karina Smirnoff
Dance Style: Latin
Season 16 Partner: Jacoby Jones
Born in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on January 2, 1978, Ukrainian firecracker Karina Smirnoff started dancing at age five when her parents enrolled her in ballet lessons. Along with gymnastics, aerobics, figure skating, and piano, Karina's childhood schedule soon included ballroom dancing, which she fell in love with at age nine.
In 1992, Karina emigrated to the United States and became a U.S. citizen. Laying off the samba to focus on her studies, she attended Christopher Columbus High School in New York and the Bronx High School of Science. Karina eventually graduated from Fordham University with a double major in economics and information system programming.
Karina soon traded in her goal of becoming an attorney for a career as a professional dancer — which was a good call, considering we have a hard time picturing her in workwear not involving sequins.
Karina joined Dancing With the Stars as a pro in September 2006, ultimately coming in second with her Season 3 partner Mario Lopez. It was her highest finish until Season 13, when she won her first and only Mirror Ball trophy with Iraq War veteran J.R. Martinez.
Elsewhere on TV, Karina has spoofed her DWTS gig in at least two guest-starring roles. She appeared on a 2007 episode of Hannah Montana as a fortune teller who informs a disbelieving Billy Ray Cyrus — her Season 4 partner — that he’s going to take part in a dance competition. More recently, she made a cameo on the 2012 episode of Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 in which James Van Der Beek’s fictional alter ego makes his DWTS debut.
Karina released a dance workout DVD, Shape Up With Karina, in December 2010, and she’s gone nude for both a PETA anti-fur advertising campaign and a May 2011 Playboy pictorial.
When it comes to her love life, Karina’s been known to mix work with pleasure. After dating Season 3 partner Mario Lopez from 2006 to 2008, she moved on to fellow Ukrainian and DWTS pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy in summer 2008. They announced their engagement six months later, on December 31, 2008, only to call the whole thing off nine months after that.
In October 2009, Karina began dating MLB pitcher Brad Penny, and he popped the question one year later. Like her first engagement, this one also didn’t last: Karina and Brad called it quits in December 2011.
- Five-time U.S. National Champion
- World Trophy Champion
- Asian Open Champion
Performance Roundup on DWTS
Season 3: Mario Lopez (Finished 2nd)
Season 4: Billy Ray Cyrus (Finished 5th)
Season 5: Floyd Mayweather (Finished 9th)
Season 6: Mario Lopez (Finished 5th)
Season 7: Rocco DiSpirito (Finished 9th)
Season 8: Steve Wozniak (Finished 10th)
Season 9: Aaron Carter (Finished 5th)
Season 11: Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino (Finished 9th)
Season 12: Ralph Macchio (Finished 4th)
Season 13: J.R. Martinez (Finished 1st)
Season 14: Gavin DeGraw (Finished 9th)
Season 15: Apolo Anton Ohno (Finished 5th)
Season 16: Jacoby Jones (TBD)