Oxygen: Did you do any sports besides dance?
Karina: When I was small, I did figure skating, but I hated being cold! I also did gymnastics and ballet, but finally I settled on dancing when I was about 9. Today, I do all kinds of things in addition to dance, such as Bikram yoga, SoulCycle and martial arts. I am a fan of all kinds of movement.
O: Have you ever had issues with weight?
K: We moved to the United States from the Ukraine when I was 14 and I quickly gained 15 pounds! I could not get enough bananas and Frosted Flakes. We didn’t have bananas in the Ukraine — they were a delicacy, and once in a blue moon when I got one, I would make it last for hours. And of course, there were no Frosted Flakes! Hence, 15 extra pounds. But once I started dancing again a few years later when we could afford it, I lost the weight.
O: Is the mirrorball trophy from Dancing With the Stars as cool as it looks?
K: Mine is! The first few seasons it was just a Styrofoam ball with little mirrors glued onto it — which I hear eventually started falling off! But the one J.R. [Martinez] and I won is super heavy and rock solid. They figured out how to make them right after a couple of years!
O: What did you cook on Chopped that won you the show?
K: It was venison believe it or not! I didn’t even know what venison was — when I opened the package, I thought it was liver! I decided to cook it like a highclass steak: I cut it into medallions and seasoned them with salt and pepper. Then I heated some oil in a pan and seared the meat on both sides. Then I added butter and cooked the meat slowly in the pan with its juices so it was super tender. It was perfectly cooked, the judges said, and I was able to give $10,000 to City of Hope. O: You wrote a book — what was it about?
K: (laughs) Yes, it is called Dating Disasters From the Trenches, and it is meant to be a girl’s way of looking at dating and laughing at your own mistakes. I mean, dating shouldn’t be a chore, but it really is for a lot of people — myself included! This book is a humorous account of my own and my friends’ dating disasters, to which any girl who has ever dated can relate.
O: What was your worst onstage disaster?
K: When I was on DWTS with Billy Ray Cyrus as my partner, we were dancing the cha-cha to his song called I Want My
Mullet Back. I decided to be funny and wear a mullet wig, and at the end, I was supposed to drop into a split and he was supposed to yank it off my head like, I
got my mullet back! Genius, right? But unfortunately, it was pinned on a little too well and he yanked up on it several times so hard that he actually lifted me off the floor! I had to slap his arm away and unpin the wig in order to give it to him so he had his mullet back. I’m sure you can find that on YouTube somewhere!