Mrs. Herrera was born as María Carolina Josefina Pacanins y Niño on January 8, 1939, in Caracas, Venezuela, to Guillermo Pacanins Acevedo, an air force officer, and his wife, María Cristina Niño Passios. She was one of the four children of her parents. She had a comfortable childhood, with a governess on hand and luxurious surroundings. Her mother and grandmother introduced her to the world of fashion, taking her to fashion shows in Paris and buying her outfits from reputed fashion houses. As a child, she loved to sew clothes for her dolls but with age she became less interested in needlework. Later, she learned horse-riding and also became an avid reader.