Carla was born in Coventry to parents who were both dancers. Her English mother was appearing in a company in Lisbon when she met her Portuguese husband-to-be, and the couple returned to live in England. One of Carla's 2 brothers, Jorge, joined the British Army and, at the age of 36, became its youngest-ever Colonel. Carla went to the University of Warwick, where she read Dramatic Arts and Theatre Studies, graduating in 1985. The inevitable round of theatrical work followed but she remains best known for her work in television comedy, especially two children's shows, My Dad's the Prime Minister (2003) and My Parents Are Aliens (1999), the latter running for seven years (though Carla was not in the first series). When, in 2006, the parent company ITV decided, for financial reasons, to axe afternoon programmes for children, Carla and her 'Aliens' co-star, Tony Gardner, spear-headed the Save Kids' TV campaign though they were unsuccessful. She has since appeared in various TV shows, most recently 2 series of 'So Awkward" for ChannelX/CBBC and is about to start filming a 3rd series. She has been working mainly in theatre (RSC, Royal Exchange, Tobacco Factory) including 'Noises Off' by Michael Frayn at the Nottingham Playhouse and is working on series 4 of So Awkward for Channel X. She is married to actor and writer Clive Mantle.