Carlson is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and attended the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield, Minnesota. In addition to acting, she has also modeled, including ad campaigns with Miller Lite, Rembrandt, and Oliver Peoples sunglasses. She appeared in the August 2004 edition of Maxim magazine and on the cover of the October issue of Stuff Magazine.
She is a spokesperson for the Smile Network, a Minnesota-based humanitarian organization that provides life altering reconstructive surgeries and related healthcare services to impoverished children and young adults in developing countries.
Carlson started out in theater, performing in productions of Vanities, Cheaters, Girls Guide to Chaos, Charlotte's Web and Can't Trust the Mate. She also appeared as an extra in the film 3000 Miles to Graceland. In 2003, Carlson booked a guest role in the pilot of the FX series Nip/Tuck. Her character, the easily manipulated wannabe starlet Kimber Henry, quickly became popular with audiences, and she appeared in several episodes of the first and second seasons, eventually becoming a regular in the show's third season. She has remained part of the main cast ever since.
Outside of Nip/Tuck, Carlson has appeared in several feature films, including Paparazzi and The Marine, and the direct-to-video sequel Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation. She has also made guest spots on Everwood, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and CSI: Miami.
She was initially cast in the 2007 horror movie Dead of Winter, but was replaced by Cyia Batten before filming began, due to creative differences with the director. She recently completed work on the comedy picture Made of Honor alongside Patrick Dempsey, and is about to start filming on the fifth season of Nip/Tuck.
She currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
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