Dancing with the Stars' Karina Smirnoff Talks Behind-the-Scenes Beauty

by Ramona Emerson

Donato Sardella/WWDDonato Sardella/WWD Karina Smirnoff is stuck in traffic. "There's always traffic, no matter what time it is, no matter what day it is," the Dancing With the Stars pro says when I get her on her cell phone on the way to rehearsal. It's little wonder Smirnoff is annoyed at the holdup--she's a busy woman. She spent the summer dancing on Broadway, has a movie coming out (written and directed by former DWTS dance partner Ralph Macchio), and her fourteenth season of Dancing With the Stars premieres tonight. She gave us the scoop on what goes on behind the sequins and spray tans.

How long does it take to get ready for a show? "The makeup usually takes about an hour and a half, but we're on set for 12 hours, so it smudges and you have to be constantly adding and retouching. We start with a thin layer, because there has to be room to build."

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Is there any part of the beauty process that you don't like? "I'm not the biggest fan of sitting in front of the makeup mirror lights because they are not forgiving. Any hint of a spot is intensified until it's just scary. It's worse than airplane bathroom light!"

The show is known for spray tans. What do you do in the off-season? "During the season we [spray] tan every Sunday, for the live show. I don't do it once the season ends, because I'm watching my skin. When the new season starts, I come in and everyone's shocked because I'm borderline bluish white."

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Do you use any of the show's makeup tricks in real life?
"Contouring! It's become a part of my everyday makeup. Even if I don't do mascara or lipstick or shadow, I'll do a little foundation and a little contour on the cheekbones and the nose."

Ever had an on-stage makeup catastrophe? "One time, one of my fake lashes got into my eye as we were dancing, so I had to close my eye. But then I was like, 'Oh, my gosh, the judges are going to think I'm winking at them!' I didn't want them to get the wrong idea!"

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