Kingsbury began a career as a model at the Eileen Ford agency at the age of 17, at which point she changed her last name to her mother's maiden name, Carrera. In 1972, she appeared on the screen in a publicity role for the Chiquita bananas. Her first film role was as a fashion model in Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970), which fared poorly at the box office. In 1976, she earned her first Golden Globe nomination ("New Star of the Year -- Actress") for her role in The Master Gunfighter. She later played in such films as The Island of Dr. Moreau, Lone Wolf McQuade, Condorman, Point of Impact, Tryst and Embryo. For her portrayal of the villainess Fatima Blush in the James Bond film Never Say Never Again, she earned a 1984 Golden Globe nomination for "Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture". She worked opposite Laurence Olivier in Wild Geese II the following year.
On television, she played a part in the soap opera Dallas as Angelica Nero, and more prominently, in the historical miniseries Centennial in 1978 and Masada (opposite Peter O'Toole and Peter Strauss) in 1981. These roles brought her to the mainstream attention of American audiences. She also starred as Emma Forsayth in the miniseries Emma: Queen of the South Seas in 1988.
Carrera has appeared on the pages and covers of such magazines as Vogue, Paris Match, Harper's Bazaar, and twice posed for Playboy (July 1977 and March 1982).
In 1997, she was appointed ambassador-at-large for Nicaragua by then-president Arnoldo Alemán.
Carrera has not appeared in films or television since 2004.