Born and raised in Macon, Georgia, to an artist and art therapist mother and a geo-technical engineer father, a young Carrie Preston discovered her true calling in performing arts. At the age of 12, she became the impresario of her own front-yard theater company as producer, writer, casting director, costumer, director and actress. Preston later obtained a bachelor's degree from the University of Evansville followed with an acting diploma from the prestigious performing arts school Juilliard School. After attending Juilliard, Preston went on to work in performing arts.
Preston has worked with her husband, actor Michael Emerson, on a number of projects. Emerson plays Ben Linus on television's Lost, and Preston was a guest star in episode 20 of season 3, The Man Behind the Curtain. She played Ben's mother Emily for several flashback scenes, though she and Emerson never appeared in any scenes together. Emerson and Preston were both featured in the 2004 comedy Straight-Jacket, and the 2008 feature film Ready? OK!.
Preston is co-owner of the production company Daisy 3 Pictures with James Vasquez and Mark Holmes.
Since 2008, Preston has appeared in the ongoing HBO series True Blood as Arlene Fowler.