Karina Smirnoff began taking ballet lessons when she was five years old. Since then, she trained in gymnastics, figure skating and ballroom dancing, the last of which she decided to pursue. Her love of dance was sidelined when she migrated to the United States, where she studied at Fordham University with plans to become a lawyer. However, she returned to dancing after coming across a dance school.
Smirnoff began competing professionally in the late 1990s, notably with fellow Ukrainian Slavik Kryklyvyy. She last competed in 2006.
She is perhaps best known for her stints on ABC's Dancing with the Stars, which she joined since the third season. Her most successful run was in her first season, when she and her partner Mario Lopez finished second.
Smirnoff is currently engaged to MLB pitcher Brad Penny. She was previously engaged to fellow DWTS dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy, and once dated Mario Lopez.
- Shall We Dance (2004)
- Dancing with the Stars (pro dancer, 2006-present)
- Hannah Montana (guest, 2007)