She earned a Bachelor of Surgery from the, a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch College, and is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist. She is also certified through the International Association of Yoga Therapists and Yoga Alliance at the ERYT-500 level
Carmen was trained as a drama therapist by Ramon Gordon of Cell Block Theater. She designed and led the drama therapy and yoga therapy programs at Passages Drug and Alcohol Residential Treatment Center.
She was a yoga therapist at Monte Nido Eating Disorder Centers and the Los Angeles School Districts Program for Pregnant Teens.
She came to prominence onscreen in the 1980s, winning the Venice Film Festival Best Supporting Actress Award for her role in John Cassavetes" film, Gloria (1980). Her acting training was with Sanford Meisner at Neighborhood Playhouse and with Uta Hagen at HB Studios. Carmen was on the Board of Directors of both Women in Film for three years and French Institute of Petroleum /West for six years.
She has starred in a variety of films including Night of the Juggler (1980), Comeback (1982) opposite Eric Burdon, Last Plane Out (1983), "Condo" (1983) Blue City (1986), Robert Redford"s The Milagro Beanfield War (1988), Fright Night II (1988) as vampire Regine Dandrige, John Carpenter"s In the Mouth of Madness (1995), and King of the Jungle (2000) opposite John Leguizamo.
In 2012 she played a supporting role in Last Weekend and later starred in Dawn Patrol (2014). Carmen appeared on television as the female lead in the 1992 National Broadcasting Company mini-series Drugs Wars: The Cocaine Cartel, as well as playing the mother of Angelina Jolie"s character in the 1997 Hallmark Entertainment miniseries True Women and the female lead opposite Val Kilmer in Gore Vidal"s Billy the Kid directed by Billy Graham.
Julie played female lead opposite George C. Scott in two made for television movies, Finding the Way Home and Curacao (also called Deadly Waters). She was a series regular, as Linda Rodriguez Kirkridge, on the short-lived American Broadcasting Company sitcom Condo (1983), and guest starred in three first-season (1990) episodes of the Home Box Office original comedy series Dream On.
She danced on Broadway in Luis Valdez"s Zoot Suit, and was resident choreographer at INTAR under the direction of Max Ferra.
She studied dance at the Merce Cunningham and Erik Hawkins Studios, and Pilates with at the Joseph Pilates original studio in New York City, which led to her 1979 teaching position at Ron Fletcher"s Pilates Studio in Los Los Angeles In 2007, she played the lead role Liz Estrada at the Getty Villa"s commissioned update of Lysistrata. In 2015, she returned to television, appearing as a series regular in the independent television pilot Myrna as Stefie, the ex-wife of the title character.
Recently she has worked as a licensed psychotherapist.
She was referenced in actress Suzanne Somers" book, Ageless: The Naked Truth About Bioidentical Hormones.