Staab was born in Hays, Kansas and grew up in Ralston, Nebraska. She graduated from Ralston Senior High School in 1979. In 1980, she won the Miss Nebraska USA title and competed in the Miss USA 1980 pageant held in Biloxi, Mississippi in May of the same year. She placed in the top twelve of the nationally televised event.
Before becoming an actress, Staab worked as a model for the Ford Agency. She has appeared in numerous television shows:
- She appeared as a character known as Jessie on Guiding Light between October 1985 and January 1987.
- She played Daphne, Barnabas Collins' first victim in the primetime version of the classic TV series, Dark Shadows
- Roles on Live Shot, Trade Winds and Code Seven among others.
- The role of Jenny on The Young Riders (1990).
- A recurring role on One West Waikiki.
- The Wonder Years and CSI: NY
- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 6 Episode 12: "Daddy's Little Girl" as Chelsea
- A kidnap victim in the series pilot for PS I Luv U (1991)
- Materialistic woman at bar in Love Potion No 9 (1992)
- The Invisible Girl in the unreleased 1994 Roger Corman movie version of The Fantastic Four.
- Elizabeth Barrington on the now-canceled ABC daytime soap opera Port Charles.
- In the Cheers episode "Smotherly Love" as the winner of a radio contest who takes Sam Malone to Atlantic City for a weekend.
- In the Seinfeld episode "The Pledge Drive" as the coordinator of a public television fund drive on which Jerry Seinfeld was scheduled to appear.
- "Miss Nebraska USA Hall of Fame". Vanbros & Associates. Archived from the original on 2007-03-14. Retrieved 2007-04-26.
- Brown, Kathleen (1991-12-11). "Nebraska Native Lands Role on Fox Series". The Omaha World -Herald.
- ABC Plots Groundbreaking "Housewives" Spin-off, Entertainment Weekly, September 7, 2009