Paula Julie Abdul was born June 19th, 1963, in San Fernando, California. The daughter of Harry and Lorraine Abdul knew early on that she wanted to dip her feet into dance.
The youngest of two daughters, Paula's love for dance originated from the film, Singing In The Rain, whose star, Gene Kelly, was her idol.
A student at Van Nuys high school, Paula applied her choreography skills (thanks to dance lessons from age 9) as head of the cheerleading squad. She graduated in 1980, and shimmied her way to Cal State-Northridge, as a TV and radio student. But as her heart was truly in dance, Paula took her LA Lakers Cheerleading gig as a full-time job, after dropping out of college.
While a Laker Girl, Paula was promoted to choreographer after having shaken her pompoms for some time, which is where the Jackson Five spotted her. Her dancing skills not only revolutionized the style of cheerleading as an industry, but it also impressed the Jacksons, who hired her to choreograph their "Torture" video.
Paula worked with the Jackson family yet again, as she also choreographed Janet's video for "Nasty" (and danced in it as well). Other '80s pop stars such as ZZ Top, Debbie Gibson, INXS, and George Michael also enlisted the help of the dynamic dancer.
But her choreography didn't end with music. With an acting credit to her name (she appeared in the 1981 film Junior High School), Paula's skills were also used to choreograph scenes in movies such as Coming to America, Dragnet, Can't Buy Me Love, Big, Bull Durham, The Doors, and subsequently Jerry Maguire and American Beauty, as well as television shows such as The Tracey Ullman Show.
Paula wasn't destined to simply be a behind-the-scenes force in music and film. She networked her way to making a demo tape, and convinced Virgin America to cut her a record deal. Her debut single, "Knocked Out" was released in 1988, and she followed it up with the release of her debut album, Forever Your Girl. Both saw lukewarm results, until the single "Straight Up" was released in 1989.
"Straight Up" went directly to number one, triggering the coming of a new pop diva for the early '90s. The title track to Forever Your Girl was released and saw the same success, and by time "Cold Hearted" was released, Paula had three number one hits up her sleeve.
When "Opposites Attract" was released in 1990 (accompanied by an animated cool cat, MC Skat Kat, in her video), Paula became a female artist with four number one hits off her debut album, a feat few female artists have matched.
Hot off the trails of a multi-platinum album, Shut Up and Dance (remixes of Forever Your Girl tracks) was released in 1990, followed by 1991's Spellbound. The latter didn't have quite the same effect on fans, although it did spawn the mega hit, "Rush Rush".
After Spellbound proved to be a so-so hit, Paula went on a little bit of a hiatus -- at least in the music business. She was still in the news though, as she had married and divorced Emilio Estevez, revealed that she suffered from bulimia, and was sued by a backup vocalist (and won).
The former Grammy-winning artist tried to bounce back into music with the release of Head Over Heels in 1995, but even with singles such as "Crazy Cool" and "My Love Is For Real", the album was a failed comeback.
That doesn't mean that Paula wasn't busy. She headed back to the altar, this time to marry Brad Beckerman (whom she already divorced), and returned to acting with cameo appearances in Cybill, The Single Guy, Spin City, All That, The Wayans Bros., and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. She also starred in made-for-TV movies such as Touched by Evil and The Waiting Game, and appeared in Mr. Rock 'n' Roll: The Allan Freed Story.
Moving from the realm of television to video, Paula starred in her own exercise videos, Get Up And Dance! and its follow-up, Paula Abdul: Cardio Dance. She is also currently keeping busy with her own dance education company, Co Dance, and as the sweetheart in the trio of American Idol judges.