Carla was born in Sarasota, Florida. Moved with her mother to Paradise, California, when Carla was just five years old. During her childhood, they moved many times within the state. But she remained a straight-A student throughout high school and graduated as valedictorian. A major modeling agency discovered Carla in San Diego and sent her to New York to begin a new career when she was 15. New York was more than she could handle at that young age, so she returned to LA in the summer, modeling and enrolling in an acting class at the suggestion of her aunt, Carol Merrill, known from "Let's Make a Deal" (1963). During her free time, Carla enjoys yoga, traveling and spending time with her friends in Los Angeles.
More features followed, until she got her first supporting major role, that of Norma in the Robert_De_Niro/Leonardo Di Caprio drama This_Boy's_Life (1993), and later scored a co-starring role on the Michael_J._Fox sitcom Spin_City. As her star continued to rise, Gugino would spend the subsuquent years appearing in a wide variety of high profile projects, like Spy_Kids, Out of Sight, Sin City, Night at the Museum, Sucker Punch, Watchmen, and Mr. Popper's Penguins. Gugino would also find major success on the small screen, with roles on shows like Entourage and Californication.
Gugino's screen career took off almost immediately. Starting with a 1988 guest-spot on "Who's The Boss?" (ABC, 1984-1992), Gugino continued to work steadily. In 1989, she landed her first major break with a recurring role on the popular nighttime drama "Falcon Crest" (CBS, 1981-1990). More guest-starring roles would follow in subsequent years on such popular hits as "Doogie Howser, M.D." (ABC, 1989-1993), "The Wonder Years" (ABC, 1988-1993) and "Quantum Leap" (NBC, 1989-1993). In 1996, Gugino landed one of her earliest high-profile roles as sexy reporter Ashley Schaeffer, the love interest of Deputy Mayor Mike Flaherty (Michael J. Fox), in the first 12 episodes of "Spin City" (ABC, 1996-2002).