Patrick was discovered in San Francisco by a talent scout for the Eileen Ford Modeling Agency, and at the age of 13 she was signed to a contract to be a model. She moved to New York City shortly thereafter and her career as a runway and catalog model began. At 18, she left the world of modeling and enrolled at Boise State University where she received her associate's (two year) degree in nursing and a BS in Microbiology. She then transferred to University of California, Santa Barbara, where for financial reasons she began modeling again.
Since that time, she has become one of the most popular and recognized actress stars in the world, having graced the pages of Playboy and Penthouse, where she was the "Pet of the Month" for February 2000 and was selected as "Pet of the Year" runner-up, as well as having appeared in more than seventy film features. Today, she hosts the popular webcast The Tera Patrick Show and she is active in the film community, raising money for both the Free Speech Coalition and A.I.M Healthcare.