Kagney Linn Karter attending the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo - Jan. 9, 2010
Karter began erotic dancing while in Missouri and was named the state's Déjà Vu Showgirl of the Year in 2007. She later moved to California to pursue an acting and singing career. Karter fell out with her manager when he discovered she had been working as an exotic dancer. While continuing to dance in California, she eventually moved into modeling, and after signing with the agency LA Direct Models, posed for shoots with erotic photographer Holly Randall.
Karter entered the adult film industry in September 2008, starting with an Internet boy-girl scene for the production company Naughty America. In regard to her stage name, Karter stated that Kagney is her real first name (her father named her after James Cagney) and Linn is her real middle name. She chose Karter as her surname because it "just fit perfectly." She was chosen as the PenthousePet of the Month for June 2009, and appeared on the covers of Hustler in April 2009 and Adult Video News in June 2009.
She also was featured on the cover of Holly Randall's photo book Erotic Dream Girls, published in October 2009. In January 2010, she signed an exclusive performing contract with the production company Zero Tolerance Entertainment.