Ukrainian dancer Karina Smirnoff earned such ballroom titles as Asian Open Champion, five-time U.S. National Champion, and World Trophy Champion before participating as a multi-season non-celebrity contender in ABC's prime-time reality series Dancing with the Stars. Her celebrity partners in that venue included actor Mario Lopez (with whom she took second place in the third season, and subsequently dated), country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, and boxer Floyd Mayweather. She finally won the competition with former U.S. Army soldier J.R. Martinez in season 13.
Biography by Nathan Southern
- At age 12, she immigrated to the U.S. with her family.
- Studied ballet and figure skating before taking up ballroom dancing.
- At Fordham, she majored in economics and information system programming.
- Has won numerous dance competitions, including the UK Open and the U.S. Open.
- Coached Richard Gere in the 2004 film Shall We Dance? and also played a small role.
- Posed nude for Playboy in May 2011.
- Won season 13 of Dancing With the Stars with celebrity partner J.R. Martinez.