Carrie Ann Inaba was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. She is of Japanese, Chinese, and Irish ancestry, and is the youngest of two children. Carrie Ann grew up dancing the hula (native Hawaiian dance) and other dance forms. She also played the piano and violin and sang in the choir. She attended Hanahaouli School and then Punahou School. Carrie Ann played volleyball for a little while but found her true love in performing.
At the age of 16, she and her closest friend Tina Horii won the Hawaii statewide competition, “Search for Talent”, dancing a piece that they had choreographed together. While still sixteen, Carrie Ann was scouted to go to Japan to become a “Teen Idol”.
However, she waited until she finished high school and then left Hawaii to pursue her career as a musical artist in Japan. During her time in Japan, Carrie Ann released three singles with Pony Canyon Records while attending Sophia University, a Jesuit university in Tokyo. In the two-year period spent living in Tokyo, Japan, she learned a great deal about the entertainment industry, performing, as well as the Japanese language. She also made great friends from all over the world, which later became a theme in her life as a documentarian.
After realizing that the Tokyo lifestyle wasn’t for her at the time, Carrie Ann returned to the United States, relocating to California. She began to study choreography at the University of California, Irvine. It wasn’t long till she got the bug to dance in Los Angeles and moved up to study with Alex Magno at the Debbie Reynolds Studios in North Hollywood, California. One day in dance class, Carrie Ann was approached by a producer who asked her to be in a music video for an artist named Terry Lin. She met the choreographer and booked the job. She was ready to start working.
One of her first jobs was as a dancer for the Emmy Award-winning television show, In Living Color (1990). Her next big gig was performing with Madonna, being featured as the “Pole Girl” on The Girlie Show tour. For this tour, Carrie Ann had to shave her head and also train with circus trainers and a stripper. She later went on to dance with Ricky Martin, David Copperfield, Chayanne, and did a lot of appearances on shows such as The Creative Arts Emmys, The SAG Awards, The NAACP Awards, The MTV Awards, The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986), and so much more. To this day, she still loves to dance. In her heart of hearts, it is the movement and the music that will always inspire her as an artist. In fact, even as an actress, she likes to incorporate dance and movement.
When Carrie Ann began her acting career, her main interest was in action roles. She studied tae kwon do with Billy Blanks, the creator Taebo, and continues her education in martial arts. She also practices hatha yoga. Carrie Ann always looks for ways to include her background in movement (choreography and martial arts) into her career.
Besides performing, Carrie Ann has many credits behind the scenes as well. Besides her choreography, she opened up her own digital video production company, EnterMediArts, Inc., which produced two of her documentaries and her short film. She hopes that EnterMediArts, Inc. will soon produce more reality/education television programming, behind-the-scenes DVD productions as well as lower-end film projects. She is the president and CEO for the company and has directed and edited most of her own projects. She loves the entertainment industry and loves the accessibility that DV (Digital Video) provides. She invested in a few edit bays and a few cameras and produces projects for fellow artists and “creatives.” As her company’s name implies, Carrie Ann likes to break down barriers and combine elements, creating hybrids just like she, herself, is a combination of cultures. Her production company, EnterMediArts, Inc., gets its name from Entertainment, Media, and the Arts — all rolled into one.
Carrie Ann has also modeled here and there and has been on the cover of European magazines and Japanese magazines. She was the national spokesmodel for an AT&T Asian Campaign and has been in many commercials throughout her career.
At the time of this writing, Carrie Ann is in the limelight once more for her participation in the hit show, Dancing with the Stars (2005) and Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann (2008).
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