Carmen was born in Santiago, Chile and arrived in Canada as a small child when her family fled the Pinochet dictatorship. She is an award-winning stage actor and playwright, whose work has been seen extensively in North and South America. She has written and co-written twenty plays. Her first book, a memoir entitled Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter, won the 2012 CBC Canada Reads contest and was named BBC Book of the Week.
Carmen attended the prestigious theatre training program Studio 58, in Vancouver, Canada.