Karina Lombard was born in Tahiti, the youngest of five children. Her four older siblings are named Helene, Ines, Charles and Denise. Her mother, Nupuree Lightfoot, is a Lakota member and medicine woman. Her father, Henri Lombard, is of Swiss-Russian and Italian descent. Karina lived all over Europe as a child, including in Spain for a period of time, with her father and siblings. Spanish was her first language.
Lombard attended multiple boarding schools and is proficient in Spanish, English, Italian, French and German. She moved to New York City at the age of 18 and began modeling and acting.
In the 2000s Lombard moved into television, appearing in The 4400 and on the first season of The L Word, as restaurateur Marina Ferrer. She portrayed the recurring character Geneviève on FX’s Rescue Me. In November 2016, Lombard portrayed Shawnee chief Nonhelema in the episode “Stranded” of the NBC TV series Timeless.