Karina Smirnoff: Meet 'Dancing' Beauty Set to Become Hottest MLB Wife
As one of the resident experts on ABC's Dancing With The Stars, she's obviously extremely talented.
She's also extremely hot.
But Smirnoff will soon join another exclusive club: the "Baseball Wives" club.
Smirnoff is engaged to St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Brad Penny.
The 2003 World Series champion (who won just as many games (two) and was nearly as dominant as MVP Josh Beckett) and the dancing star got engaged on October 4.
An only child, the 32 year old was born in the Ukrainian town of Kharkiv.
Smirnoff's mother is Russian and her father is Jewish and Greek.
In order to pursue her dancing career, Smirnoff moved to the United States in 1992, at the age of 14.
An Impressive Resume
Smirnoff has won the U.S. Latin Ballroom Championship five times, the U.S. National Professional Championship five times, the US Open title three times, the Asian Open twice and the UK Open once.
She also earned a Double Major in Economics and Information System Programming from Fordham University.
Get In Shape!
Smirnoff's first instructional workout DVD, "Shape Up With Karina Smirnoff" will be released soon.
In the video, she will be seen wearing Bravada's new fitness line of clothing, for which she is now a spokeswoman.
Always a Bridesmaid...So Far
Smirnoff has competed in seven seasons of the hit reality show, Dancing With The Stars, but has yet to win the competition.
She came closes in her first season, back in the fall of 2006, when she and partner Mario Lopez were runner-ups to Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke.
Since then, she has competed with the following "stars":
- singer Billy Ray Cyrus
- boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.
- singer Mario
- chef Rocco DiSpirito
- Computer geek/entrepreneur Steve Wozniak
- singer Aaron Carter
- Reality "star," "The Situation," from MTV's Jersey Shore
With Cyrus, Mario and Carter, she reached the quarterfinals before being eliminated.
Smirnoff, who lives in Los Angeles, recently came out in opposition of California's Proposition 8 amendment, which essentially banned gay marriage in the Golden State.
She appeared in advertisements with many other celebrities who opposed "Prop 8," as part of the "NOH8" campaign.
Life Before Brad Penny
From 2008-09, Smirnoff dated and was then engaged to her fellow Dancing With The Star cast member, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, also a native Ukranian.
They broke off their engagement last September.
Karina in 1995
Smirnoff appeared on the first episode of the second season of MTV's When I Was 17, a show that interviews celebrities about how their life was at that pivotal age.
More Than a Dancer
In addition to dancing, Smirnoff has started to branch out into acting and television.
In 2007, she appeared on Hannah Montana (the show staring Miley Cyrus, the daughter of her former Dancing With The Stars partner Billy Ray Cyrus) and had a role in the 2004 feature film Shall We Dance, staring Jennifer Lopez, Richard Gere and Susan Surandon.
She has also hosted segments as a correspondent for the TV Guide Network and EXTRA.
Smirnoff is a supporter of The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and has appeared in their print advertisements that oppose fur.
21 Years of Dancing
Smirnoff says that she began dancing at the age of 11.
About the more than two decades of dancing, Smirnoff once said: "too long."
Karina and Future Husband Brad Penny
The couple was introduced to one another in October 2009 by UFC fighter Chuck Liddell!
According to US Magazine, Penny gave Smirnoff a $95,000, 4.5 caret engagement ring. (He can afford it, considering the Dodgers, Red Sox and Cardinals have given Penny better than $5 million per year every season since 2005).
Penny reportedly asked her to marry him right after Smirnoff and "The Situation" were eliminated from Dancing With The Stars back in October.
Not a bad consolation prize.
Only Number 78!?!?
In 2009, Smirnoff appeared in FHM Magazine as a part of their annual 100 sexiest women issue.
Shockingly 77 women were rated higher!
The Situation Can Dance?
During the most recent season of DWTS, Smirnoff said this hard-to-believe comment about her partner, "The Situation," from MTV's Jersey Shore.
“I’m trying things with Mike that I would never even attempt to try with anyone else. Definitely the best partner ever. I would never ask for anyone different.”
Around Athletes Even Before Penny
In an interview with LarryBrownSports.com, Smirnoff had this to say about boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr., who was her DWTS partner during Season Five:
"He does have a big heart, but he kind of plays a lot into the character he’s portrayed as in the boxing world. It’s hard for him to walk away from that character because then he feels he’s walking away from his comfort zone. He could have been very, very good—he could have been good enough to win this whole thing easily.
He does have the ability, he does have the rhythm. But for him to be vulnerable in front of millions of people was not easy, and every time he kind of came across an obstacle or difficult step in dancing, he would say ‘I’m a boxer, what do you want? I’m a boxer.’ So it wasn’t easy, but it was definitely very enlightening and educational."