Carey has said that her early interest in acting was rooted in her school play experiences. She was a student head of drama at Woldingham School in addition to being involved in plays. She continues to love theatre at this stage in her career, and has noted that she would love to be in at least one play every year.
When she decided to go into acting, her parents initially tried to discourage her from doing so and attempted to encourage her to choose to go to university instead. Due to a lack of familiarity with the profession, they were scared about what it could mean for their daughter.
Carey’s first film role was the character of Kitty Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, co-starring with Keira Knightley and Judi Dench
She worked with Keira Knightley again when playing the lead character of Kathy in the film Never Let Me Go (which explored the personal struggles and relationships of a group of young people who were cloned with the express purpose of providing donor tissue for wealthy people with health problems).
In 2012, Carey married Marcus Mumford, an English musician who is famous for his role as lead singer in the critically acclaimed band Mumford & Sons. The ceremony took place in a Somerset farmhouse, and famous attendees included Colin Firth and Sienna Miller.
She was a guest star in a highly popular episode of Doctor Who (entitled ‘Blink’), in which she played the character of Sally Sparrow, who helps to investigate a mysterious case involving malevolent angel statues. Carey was voted as the best guest actress in Doctor Who Magazine on the strength of this portrayal, and received an award for her performance at the Constellation Awards in 2008.
She was nominated for an Oscar after her performance in An Education, and she won a BAFTA for the same role.
Carey claims that she is rarely recognized in public, though she is noticed more often for brief periods of time after starring in a major film (such as The Great Gatsby).
She has an excellent singing voice, which can be enjoyed on the Belle & Sebastian song ‘Write About Love’ (which came out in 2010).
Although she hoped for a cameo in Glee, it is said that the show’s creators did not think that Carey was appropriately famous to be given a guest starring role (in spite of the fact that she was nominated for an Oscar).