Michaels was born in Great Neck, Nassau County, New York. She attended LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts in New York City. After graduating, on the high school dean's advice, rather than accepting a place at the SUNY Conservatory, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her acting career. Between acting jobs, she takes literature classes at the University of Southern California, where she majors in English.
Michaels remembers herself playing at acting characters in costume at the age of three, and acting professionally in commercials from the age of four. One of her earliest childhood television roles was on Saturday Night Live in 1991. She has a family acting connection: her maternal grandparents had acted in vaudeville and stage drama, and her brother Fred works for a film production company and as a writer.
Michaels's first part in Los Angeles was the title role in Aimee Semple McPherson (2006). She played the evangelical preacher from the age of 15 into her 40s, which was a challenge for her developing acting skills, and got her a mixed review from Christianity Today.
She had leading roles in several web series, the vampire movie 30 Days of Night: Dust to Dust (2008), the parody House of Heather, and the MTV Films horror series Savage County. In 2009, Michaels also had notable supporting roles in the big screen horror film Boogeyman 3, and the NBC television disaster miniseriesMeteor: Path to Destruction.
|2006||Aimee Semple McPherson||Aimee Semple McPherson|
|2008||I Heart Veronica Martin||Anna Marks||Short film|
|2010||Hip-Hop Headstrong||Cindy||Short film|
|2011||ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2||Jess|
|2013||OJ: The Musical||Amy|
|2014||Relentless Justice||Sherrie De Vries|
|1991||Saturday Night Live||Cindy||Episode: "Sting"|
|1995||All My Children||Amanda||1 episode|
|1996||Law & Order||Vanessa Carey||Episode: "Trophy"|
|1997||Feds||Lacey Leeds||Episode: "The War Against Crime"|
|2001||Law & Order||Heather Denslow||Episode: "For Love or Money"|
|2003||Dragnet||Alana Biehl||Episode: "The Big Ruckus"|
|2003||Division, TheThe Division||Karen||Episode: "Murder.com"|
|2003||Without a Trace||Terri Fuller||Episode: "Victory for Humanity"|
|2005||Six Feet Under||Shannon||Episode: "Hold My Hand"|
|2006||Shark||Jenny Dennison||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2006||Criminal Minds||Brooke Chambers||Episode: "North Mammon"|
|2008||Shark Swarm||Kim Wilder||TV film|
|2008||30 Days of Night: Dust to Dust||Sara Maguire||TV miniseries|
|2009||CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||Tiffany Cohe||Episode: "One to Go"|
|2009||Meteor||Jenny Crowe||TV miniseries|
|2010||Bones||Soleil||Episode: "The Body and the Bounty"|
|2010||Savage County||Megan||TV film|
|2012||Castle||Sarah Marx||Episode: "Dial M for Mayor"|
|2013||Chosen||Libby||Episode: "The Watchers"|
|2013||666 Park Avenue||Catherine McKenny||Episode: "Lazarus"|
|2016||Quantum Break||Fiona Miller|