Welcome back cool cat Karen!
|Fact title||Fact data|
As our longest serving female Pro, Karen’s been part of the Strictly family for a whopping nine years!
We first saw her on the dancefloor in 2012 paired with Westlife’s Nicky Byrne, who impressed us all by reaching Week 10. The following year she danced with Hairy Biker Dave Myers, who even taught our pro a few things! “He certainly had some moves I’d never seen and he inspired me,” she said.
For her third Strictly experience in 2014, Karen was paired with Essex boy Mark Wright. The couple made it all the way to the Final, landing in fourth place overall. In 2015 Karen partnered broadcaster Jeremy Vine, and despite their popularity they bowed out in Week Eight.
Her fifth Strictly partner Will Young withdrew from the 2016 competition four weeks in, but Karen came back fighting in 2017 with TV chef Simon Rimmer. Unfortunately they finished in 11th place.
Karen's luck changed yet again in 2018 when she made it all the way to the Quarter Final with actor Charles Venn. But she went one better with comedian Chris Ramsey in 2019, making it all the way to the Semi Final!
Can she repeat that success in 2020? Time will tell...
Karen was born in Valencia, Venezuela, and took up dancing after moving to New York when she was eight years old. Two years later she won a scholarship to the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. She studied African, contemporary and ballet before moving on to ballroom and Latin at 19.
As a dancer and choreographer, Karen has worked with some of the biggest stars in the world, including Jennifer Lopez. She has won numerous ballroom awards including World Mambo Champion in 2008 and Professional American Rhythm Rising Star Champion in 2009, and starred as a principal dancer in the hit show Burn the Floor.