Carmen, whose real name is Tara Leigh Patrick, was born in Sharonville, Ohio in 1972. Her mother was a singer, her father, a guitarist and entertainer. She attended the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) in the Cincinnati Public School District.
She first came to the public's attention after she appeared in Playboy magazine, then on the MTV game show Singled Out, on the TV series Baywatch, dancing with the Pussycat Dolls, and marrying basketball bad boy, Dennis Rodman. She has since had roles in the parody films Scary Movie, Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, and Disaster Movie.
Electra started her professional career in 1990 as a dancer at Kings Island amusement park in Mason, Ohio in the show "It’s Magic", one of the more popular shows in the park's history. In 1991, she moved to California and met Prince.
Soon after meeting him, Electra signed a recording contract with Prince's Paisley Park Records and began a short-lived singing career. During her time at Paisley Park Records, she officially became known as Carmen Electra.
In May 1996 she was featured in a nude pictorial in Playboy magazine. She was featured in Playboy four more times, with her second appearance in June 1997, third in December 2000, fourth in April 2003 and her fifth in the January 2009 anniversary issue. She was on the cover three times, in December 2000, April 2003 and on the 55th anniversary Issue in January 2009.
In 1999, she appeared in the Bloodhound Gang's music video of "The Inevitable Return of the Great White Dope." In 2005, she joined the voice cast of the animated series Tripping the Rift, replacing Gina Gershon as the voice of the sexy android "Six". Also in 2005, she began the Naked Women's Wrestling League, acting as the commissioner for the professional wrestling promotion.
Electra has also produced exercise videos and equipment. Her Carmen Electra Aerobic Striptease is a five-disc DVD series that combines teaching classic stripping moves with a low impact cardio workout, which also starred Jon Eby. She also endorses the Electra Pole, a pole dancing kit released in January 2008.