1. She is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.
2. She began her career as a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers at the age of 18 before rising to prominence in the 1980s as a highly sought-after choreographer at the height of the music video era.
3. Abdul later scored a string of pop music hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
4. Her six number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 tie her with Diana Ross for seventh among the female solo performers who have topped the chart. She won a Grammy for “Best Music Video – Short Form” for “Opposites Attract” and twice won the “Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography”.
5. After her initial period of success, Abdul suffered a series of setbacks in her professional and personal life.
6. She saw renewed fame and success as an original judge on American Idol in the 2000s, which she left after the eighth season.
7. She attended Van Nuys High School, where she was a cheerleader and an honor student.
8. At 15, she received a scholarship to a dance camp near Palm Springs, and in 1980 appeared in a low-budget Independent musical film, Junior High School.
9. During her freshman year, she was selected from a pool of 700 candidates for the cheerleading squad of the Los Angeles Lakers NBA basketball team—the famed Laker Girls.
10. Abdul was discovered by The Jacksons, after a few of the band members had watched her while attending a Los Angeles Lakers game. “My only problem was how to tell the Jacksons how to dance,” Abdul later recalled.
11. Abdul choreographed videos for several singers throughout the 1980s, including many videos for Janet Jackson during her Control era.
12. In December 2005, Abdul launched a cheerleading/fitness/dance DVD series called Cardio Cheer, which is marketed to children and teenage girls involved with cheerleading and dance.
13. Although she had appeared in the musical film Junior High School years earlier, her singing voice was relatively untrained, but her exceptional dancing proved marketable to the visually oriented, MTV-driven, pop music industry.
14. She was a tireless worker, and relied on input from her vocal coach and producers to improve her sound.