Karina Smirnoff was born on January 2, 1978, in Kharkov, Ukrainian SSR, USSR. As a child, she dealt with undiagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). To channel out her excess energy, her parents enrolled her in figure skating lessons at the age of 3, but would go on to make her fortune through dance, putting her current approximate net worth at $3 million.
Karina Smirnoff is currently a professional ballroom dancer, best known to the general public through the popular TV show “Dancing the Stars”, winning the thirteenth season with army veteran and soap opera star J.R. Martinez.
In 1996, she partnered with Roman Nabatov and in their first dance competition, the duo was placed 22nd in the U.S. Amateur Latin Championships. Karina then switched off partners with Paul Killick in the 1999 British Open Dance Championship. The pair finished among the top five in six different in events.
From 2001 to 2005, she was in dance partnership with Slavik Kryklyvyy, and they represented the U.S. This partnership was the most successful one. The pair earned numerous top titles and high ratings together.
Smirnoff appeared in 2004 film Shall We Dance as a dance instructor and was Stanley’s Tucci’s dance partner. She also helped train Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez in the same film. According to IMDP, she also appeared in Link’s Pouty Dance Partner film. Smirnoff also released a fitness DVD, Shape Up With Karina Smirnoff.
Her last partner recorded in dancing competitions was Dmitri Timokhin representing Russia in October 2005. The pair won the first place 2006 Grand-Prix Dynamo in Moscow and finished dancing together in June 2006. Karina was the project director/manager of a dancing event called Day & Night held in November 2006. She starred as Madame Escajeda in the film episode of Hannah Montana.
With a long history in dance, some of her professional partnerships have been also paralleled by a few romantic relationships including Mario Lopez and fellow professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy.