Carrie Ann Inaba's Dancing with the Stars Getting-Ready Diary
Every week, the Dancing with the Stars judge is taking PEOPLE inside her glam sessions. See how her hair, makeup and styling teams come together to create her ballroom-ready looks
Week 11: The Finale
Carrie Ann tells PEOPLE that Season 29 was by far her favorite (and she's been a judge on every single episode of the series!). "In these uncertain times, to wake up and go to work and do something that I love, I realize more than ever what an honor, blessing and gift it is and I don’t take it for granted, not for a single moment."
Another thing she never took for granted was creating memorable style moments with her glam squad. "I love this season because I got to experiment with my looks in ways I never have and it gave me a creative outlet that I haven’t had in a while."
Week 11: Giving Thanks
"I want to say thank you to my incredible team," Carrie Ann tells PEOPLE. "Rhonda Spies styled me like I’ve never been styled before. I have so much confidence in her choices and the way we work together and this season it just felt like we were producing our own little show. I’m very grateful to the designers who gifted us and shared their designs and artistry with us this season."
She goes on to thank makeup artist Marylin Lee Spiegel for being "an incredible anchor to my team." (Spiegel won an Emmy for her work with Carrie Ann on The Talk.) "I’m always intrigued by the way she is able to bring these looks to life. It really does take an artist to create the dimension and the angles on my face and she does it with incredible precision and artistry. I have so much respect for her."
And finally, she thanked hairstylist Glenn Nutley for "upping" her "wig game."
"While I know not everyone loved my wigs, I sure did. As a judge, normally I don’t like to call any attention to myself and I also don’t like to take risks that won’t make me feel secure but I knew this season that wigs were the right choice (if you read my previous blog you will understand why). I am so happy I did because we had a lot of fun. It was fun to be blonde, a redhead, pink and to just explore [new looks]. I really enjoyed it."
For more from Carrie Ann, check out her website, Carrie Ann Conversations.
Week 11: The Dress
"Carrie Ann wowed us with a spectacular Fouad Sarkis moment," says stylist Rhonda Spies who chose this bronze ballgown with structural detailing for the final show. "We completed the look with gold Neil Lane statement pieces."
Week 11: The Hair
"I gave it some arbitrary bends with the Harry Josh Pro 3-in-1, 1.25 inch iron and brushed it out and applied Oribe Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray," he explains. Next, he pulled it back loosely into an elastic and finished with R&Co Outer Space Flexible Hairspray.
Week 11: The Makeup
"Season 29 went by in a quickstep," says makeup artist Marylin Lee Spiegel. "We kept Carrie Ann’s skin glowing the whole season by prepping with Sisley Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream and a jade roller, chilled for a tightening effect."
For the season finale, Spiegel used Smith + Cult Glitterbaby Metallic-Shift Eyeshadow in Bronze and Gold, which has a green undertone "that works perfectly with the color of her gown." Then she applied Nude Envie lipstick in the color "Naked" to finish off the look.
Week 10: Grand Entrance
Since week 10's show started with the judges walking into the ballroom, Carrie Ann decided to switch up her plans and go with a dramatic gown.
"This Alex Perry dress is one of the first dresses I tried on at my first fitting for the season," she explains. "We were going to save it for the finale but when I found out we would be walking out I switched it because it had such a cool vibe with the kimono sleeves and such a strong bold color."
And as it turns out, she saved it for a very special night. "Hands down tonight was the best semifinals in the history of DWTS," says Carrie Ann. "I have never seen a more competitive season than the one I am seeing unfold right in front of my eyes."
Week 10: The Dress
Stylist Rhonda Spies says all dress plans went out the window after they found out Carrie Ann would make a grand entrance. "We knew we had to switch it up. The red Alex Perry gown with the fabulous cape deserved a moment of its own. We added gold statement pieces from Neil Lane to finish the look," she shares.
Week 10: The Hair
"To highlight the strong shoulder line of Carrie Ann’s gown we decided to go for a textured bob," says hairstylist Glenn Nutley. "I wanted it to look a little roughed up so I prepped it with some R&Co Thickening Spray, gave it a simple blowout with the Harry Josh Pro Tools Pro Dryer, turned it upside down, blasted it with loads of Oribe Texturizing Spray and finished with Oribe Superfine Hairspray."
Week 10: The Makeup
Makeup artist Marylin Lee Spiegel wanted a classic, glamorous look, featuring a strong red lip. "I used MAC 'Lady Danger' lipstick, which has a classic orange based red. I gave her cheeks and eyes some serious shimmer with Nude Envie eyeshadows in 'Dreamy' and 'Bewitch' and highlighter in 'Goddess.' I enhanced her neckline and décolleté with Girlactik Crème de la Glow in 'Soleil.'"
Week 9: Iconic Inspo
For "Icons" night, Carrie Ann took inspiration from "generic rock 'n roll" looks with her electric blue dress. "It had a star pattern on it which said to me iconic pop star," she tells PEOPLE.
"If I had to choose an icon that inspires me, it would be Lady Gaga, Madonna, Pink and Tina Turner, and throw in a little Blondie [Debbie Harry]. Those would be my inspiring women for Icon Week."
As for the icons in the ballroom, she called this week's competition "excellent" and was "very happy" to see Kaitlyn Bristowe and Artem Chigvintsev have a breakthrough. "Tonight they received perfect score and delivered an incredible Argentine tango and I am always so happy when a couple has a breakthrough. Especially for Kaitlyn and Artem because I know they were struggling the last two weeks. This past week they worked really hard. Congrats to them and to Johnny Weir who got the other perfect score of the night."
And she wishes AJ McLean "nothing but the best" after his elimination. "He has been a really strong performer and contender from the beginning but tonight he had a bad night and sadly tonight it mattered," says Carrie Ann.
Week 9: The Dress
To pump up her icon-inspired look, stylist Rhonda Spies chose this high-shine "rocker chic" Naeem Khan sequin number, paired with sexy Agnes Bethel pumps. "We added even more sparkle to the look with diamonds from Natalie Mills, Gismondi, Natalie Mills and APM Monaco."
Week 9: The Makeup
Week 9: The Hair
"Carrie Ann looked iconic in the ballroom last night," says hairstylist Glenn Nutley who created a loose beach wave. To start, he used the Harry Josh Pro Tools 3 in 1, 1.25 inch curling iron then "blasted" it with Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray. "I broke it up using my fingers to create texture and finished the look with Oribe Superfine Hairspray and an "Icon" barrette by Justine Marjan for Mykitsch."
Week 8: The Inspo
"Tonight’s look was something I have been wanting to do all season," Carrie Ann tells PEOPLE. "A high pony with gold jewelry and accessories. During the pandemic, like many others, I had some free time and I would look through magazines. There was a look that stood out to me and I wanted to adapt it for myself this season. I took the inspiration photos to Rhonda Spies, my stylist, and she shopped for the look. I wanted a clean black dress that was all about the gold jewelry and high pony. It’s a look I haven’t done before and was really fun."
Week 8: The Dress
"Tonight we opted for a chic black Akris gown for Carrie Ann," says stylist Rhonda Spies. "We were inspired by the gold neckline of the gown and went full force with an army of bold, beautiful, gold jewelry. Pieces were from Sweet Pea Fine Jewelry, Vendorafa, Catherine Weitzman and Misho. Sexy Ruthie Davis heels completed the look."
Week 8: The Makeup
Week 8: The Hair
"This week for the ballroom Carrie Ann went for a snatched long pony tail," says hairstylist Glenn Nutley. "I pulled her hair back and wrapped the base in elastic before adding the extra length. Then, I ironed all the hair with the Harry Josh Pro Tools Ceramic Flat Styling Iron."
"To make the gold pony, I first wrapped the base with black electrical tape to create an even foundation, then I covered that with gold foil tape and finished by using gold craft wire to bend around it to create a cage-like effect."
Week 7: Spooky Scary
Even though Carrie Ann says she's "not a fan" of horror films, she fully embraced the "Villains" theme of the night with her custom-made costume.
"My look was inspired by Pennywise from IT by Stephen King, who happens to be one of my favorite authors. While I am not a fan of horror or scary movies, when it's written as well as a Stephen King novel well, I can get into it."
"Once again thanks to my incredible team, my glam family Marylin [Lee Spiegel], Glenn [Nutley] and Rhonda [Spies] who did a great job adapting the character of Pennywise and giving tribute to such an intense and scary character, while also keeping it family-friendly."
Week 7: Black Swan Back-Up
The DWTS judge tells PEOPLE she initially wanted to go with a Black Swan look, but that was snatched by Catfish's Nev Schulman and Jenna Johnson — who received the first perfect 30 score of the season for their “Swan Lake Remix."
"Week 7 was incredible and we saw our first perfect 30. Congratulations to Nev and Jenna for their perfect rendition of Black Swan."
Week 7: The Look
"Carrie Ann's Pennywise look was custom made by local L.A. designer, Maggie Barry, who expertly brought our vision to life," says stylist Rhonda Spies. "The outstanding hair and makeup really completed the entire costume."
Week 7: The Hair
Then the hair was prepped with R&Co Dallas Thickening Spray, blown out, filled with loads of Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray and put into space buns with a zig-zag part up the back, then finished with R&Co Outer Space Flexible Hairspray.
Week 7: The Makeup
"Carrie Ann gave Pennywise a glamorous twist," says makeup artist Marylin Lee Spiegel. "I used Mehron Clown White Cream makeup for her skin, Inglot black cream eyeliner for her smokey eye and eyebrows, then used NYX Vivid Brights Eyeliner in Vivid Fire to create the signature Pennywise lines that go up the face."
Week 6: Is That You, Moira Rose?
According to Carrie Ann, week six took a turn both in the ballroom and in her dressing room.
"We are halfway through the season and episode 6 took a new, direct tone," Carrie Ann tells PEOPLE. "The first half of the season I want to be there to encourage the contestants, the second half as we head to the finish line, I just want to give them very direct feedback so that they can improve. Also, because this year there is no live audience in the studio they only have our feedback so I wanted to be clear and direct with them."
As for her look, she switched up her blonde do with "a little more dramatic" choice. "I have a history with the color red, it’s a passionate color and I chose to wear my hair red because I wanted to feel that passion," she explains.
She also did it to channel one of her favorite on-screen characters. "I felt Moira Rose from Schitt's Creek on my shoulder all night. I am a huge fan of the show and it did help me through these past few months by making me smile. Tonight’s episode was in honor of Catherine O’Hara and the entire show and casts' Emmy wins."
Stylist Rhonda Spies chose a strong-shoulder Zhivago sparkly long-sleeve gown for the occasion and paired the look with Neil Lane jewels.
Week 6: The Hair
Week 6: The Makeup
"We went for a strong makeup look to complement the graphic dress and smooth red bob," says makeup artist Marylin Lee Spiegel. "A smokey eye with a silver sheen using Smith and Cult Glitterbaby Metallic-Shift Eyeshadow in Silver, and a bold lip by Nars in shade Ingrid made a statement. Then I sculpted her cheeks and gave her a lovely flush with Nars Wanted II Cheek Palette."
Week 6: Reflecting on the Night
"I was very sad to see Vernon [Davis] go home, he really had incredible potential and a gravitas to all his performances," says Carrie Ann, adding that the highlight of the show was seeing Derek Hough and Hayley Erbert performing a Paso.
"For all the fans who have been with us from the beginning the moment was exciting and passionate and very artistic but oh so familiar. That Derek Hough signature style is very special and I love having him now as a judge. He brings a lot to the table and is a lovely human being aside from being a talented artist."
Week 5: Bringing Back the '80s
"Wow, '80s night was such a blast," says Carrie Ann. "My own personal look was a cross between Debbie Harry, Berlin and of course the all time great Cyndi Lauper. We chose a fun purple dress, because in the '80s my favorite outfit that I wore to dance class was a purple leotard with pink leg warmers; it was an outfit I loved to wear so I went with that purple and pink theme tonight."
Week 5: The Dress
To capture Carrie Ann's throwback leotard days, stylist Rhonda Spies chose this high-shine one-shoulder Alexandre Vauthier dress.
"We accessorized with a lucite Alexis Bittar necklace and Eriness and Dena Kemp rings. The look was complete with a sexy sparkly heel by Enrique Cuini," says Spies. "We definitely took '80s night to the max!"
Week 5: Into the Groove
"Everyone did such an incredible job bringing the '80s back to life," Carrie Ann tells PEOPLE about the ballroom contestants. "So happy for all the breakthroughs we saw."
She gave congratulations to Justina Machado and pro Sasha Farber for opening the night with "such a bang and a perfectly pitched jazz routine."
"I am so proud of Johnny Weir for delivering such an incredible contemporary routine and really stepping up tonight. The dance was choreographed by Britt [Stewart] who is one of our newer pros, kudos to her. As a dancer who supports other dancers and their work she should be acknowledged for such an incredible piece of choreography."
While Carri Ann was sorry to see Jesse Metcalfe go, she thinks big things are ahead for the actor. "He was just starting to open up but I still see a path for him, maybe on Broadway."
Week 5: The Makeup
"Oh yes it’s '80s night and the feeling’s right! It was fun to play with color this week," says makeup artist Marylin Lee Spiegel. "I gave her eyes a pop of blue and purple with Nyx Extreme Shine Eyeliner Pencils in Azure and Purple Blaze. Her cheekbones glowed thanks to Lime Crime’s Hi-Lite Palette in Opals. Her purple pout is courtesy of Mac Cosmetics Violetta lipstick topped with Dazzleglass gloss in Funtabulous.
Week 5: The Hair
"What says '80s more than crimped hair? So tonight I crimped her hair with a Hot Tools crimper iron, and brushed it out afterwards to soften and break up the crimp," he explains. "Then I teased the roots and added R&Co Zig Zag Root Teasing Spray."
Week 4: The Dress Switch-Up
"Since this was the week following my Disney Pink Princess look we wanted to go a very different route," Carrie Ann tells PEOPLE about her high-shine dress choice. "A little secret, I had a very different dress picked out for the night but it was so constricting that I was worried I wouldn’t be able to breathe well, and when you cannot breathe well you know what happens, you faint. So at the last minute we pulled a dress that was going to be used for a later show."
"I want to thank my team for being able to roll with the punches and adapt so quickly to change. I do believe that it’s a gift we have all started to learn in the pandemic, that we now have to be able to be less attached to certain outcomes and just go with what is happening in the here and now. In the end it worked out well as Tyra [Banks] and I ended up both wearing a one-shoulder dress and it was a fun connection."
The overall message of the dress swap was not lost on Carrie Ann. "Lesson of the night is when you allow things to change rather than pushing an outcome that you want or are stuck on in your head you end up with great solutions," she shares. "And in those new inevitable solutions we find we get positive results."
Week 4: The Dress
Stylist Rhonda Spies switched things up fast for Carrie Ann and chose this silver and bronze sequin gown from Ivan Bitton and accessorized with Lydia Courteille diamond earrings and gunmetal rings by Via Saviene for that "edgy finish."