Hawaiian-born Carrie Ann Inaba's diverse ethnic background inspired her to pursue a number of divergent paths, each with impressive success. Of Chinese, Japanese, and Irish descent, Inaba attended UCLA and earned a degree in World Arts and Cultures before using her fluent Japanese to live in Tokyo between 1986 and 1988. During that time, she had a successful career as a pop star, releasing three hit singles over the course of her two years in the country. Returning to the States, Inaba focused on her dancing skills, becoming a Fly Girl on the edgy sketch comedy show In Living Color from 1990 to 1992. She also joined many famous and prestigious dancing troupes, appearing as a backup dancer for Madonna's The Girlie Show tour, and Ricky Martin's Living la Vida Loca tour. Inaba also appeared as a dancer in movies such as Austin Powers in Goldmember and Showgirls. In 2005, Inaba put her loads of experience in dance to a different use, becoming a judge on ABC's hit reality series Dancing With the Stars.
Biography by Cammila Collar
- Lived behind a wildlife preserve in Hawaii for most of her childhood.
- Is fluent in Japanese, and had a recording career in Japan, where she lived for two years in the 1980s.
- Was a "Fly Girl," a back-up dancer on In Living Color, from 1990 to '92.
- Toured with Madonna (in the Girlie Show World Tour) and twice with Ricky Martin (in Living la Vida Loca Promo Tour and Shake Your Bon Bon).
- In 2005, joined the ABC reality series Dancing With the Stars as a judge.
- Was appearing on Live With Regis and Kelly in March 2011 when her boyfriend at the time, Jesse Sloan, proposed to her; the couple split in 2012.
- In fall 2012, she founded the CAI Animal Project, dedicated to supporting the rescue, welfare and well-being of animals.