She turned down the role of Vin Diesel's love interest in the box-office hit The Pacifier (2005) to take a small but unforgettably sexy role in Sin City (2005) because she had enjoyed working with director Robert Rodriguez in the three "Spy Kids" films.
Is only seven years older than Malin Akerman, who played her daughter in Watchmen (2009).
Featured in the 1994 Bon Jovi music video, "Always", alongside Jack Noseworthy, Jason Wiles and Keri Russell.
Her father was of Italian descent. Her mother's ancestry is English and Irish.
Niece of actress Carol Merrill (Carol was married to Carla's uncle, Mark Burgess). Carol's daughter is actress Hillary Safire.