Carrie Ann Inaba
Carrie Ann Inaba

Judge Biography

Carrie Ann Inaba is a dancer, choreographer, philanthropist and Emmy®-nominated talk show host who is also recognized for her 30-season run as a judge on ABC's Emmy Award-winning "Dancing with the Stars."

As a child, Inaba explored dance forms including jazz, tap, ballet and the Hawaiian dance form of hula. She also played the piano and violin and sang in the choir. At the age of 18, she was scouted to go to Japan to embark on a recording career and released three singles in Japan hitting the Billboard Top 100 with her first single produced by Kenny Loggins Project. Ultimately, it was her love of dancing that brought her back to the U.S. to study choreography at UC Irvine.

Inaba was at the forefront of bringing hip-hop to mainstream television as one of the original Fly Girls on the series "In Living Color" (1990). The Emmy Award-winning show was one of the first inclusive comedy series produced by Keenan Ivory Wayans; Inaba performed as the only Asian female dancer for three seasons. She also made it to the big screen where she co-starred as Fook Yu in New Line Cinema's "Austin Powers in Goldmember" and earlier as Felicity Dancer in "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me." She was also featured in "American Virgin" and "Monster Mash," and as a dancer in "Boys and Girls," "Flintstones II," "Showgirls" and "Lord of Illusions."

Inaba's love of dance brought her to work as one of the first on-camera choreographers as the wave of reality shows began to take TV by storm. She choreographed and staged numerous hit shows including "American Idol," "America Juniors," "Dance Fever," "TV Land Awards" and "Kids Choice Awards." She worked as a choreographer on season one of "So You Think You Can Dance," but forged further seasons to join ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" as the only female and American judge on the show for most of its 30-season run.

In 2008, Inaba and fellow "DWTS" judge Bruno Tonioli had their own competition show on ABC titled "Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann," which debuted to 17 million viewers. The show was a fun compliment to "DWTS" and showcased both in a different role. She was also host of Game Show Network's "1 VS. 100" and TV Guide's "Red Carpet Live"; pioneered TV Guide's "Fashion Wrap with Carrie Ann"; is a returning guest host for "Live with Kelly and Ryan" and "The View"; guest starred as Hannah Montana's choreographer, Tina; and was host and presenter of the American Music Awards' "Red Carpet Exclusive." Inaba most recently served as co-host and moderator on the Emmy Award-winning daytime talk show "The Talk" where she was also nominated for an Emmy Award for her work as co-host.

Inaba has been on the board of directors of CAPE, and in 2015, was inducted into the Asian Hall of Fame for her work as a trailblazing AAPI member. She served as the national spokesperson for Dreas Dream, a national program that raises funds for dance therapy for pediatric cancer patients. She also advocates for people who have autoimmune disease and helps spread valuable features, interviews and articles about wellness and joy to the community via The Carrie Ann Conversations. The online community is a place where she can share insight to help others to live a healthy and happier life.

Inaba's diverse career and versatility as a performer gives her a unique ability to help all the competitors on "DWTS" shine in their best light and she loves watching people find their love for dance as well as finding the true beauty of dance and incorporating it into their lives.