Grew up in a showbiz family that extends back to her great-grandfather George Bilson who was head of the trailer department at RKO Pictures and her great-grandmother Hattie Bilson who was a screenwriter.
First screen appearance was at age 7 in The Wrong Guys with Louis Anderson; the film was directed by her father.
Attended the same high school as Kirsten Dunst and Katharine McPhee, where she appeared in plays and musicals, including The Crucible and Bye Bye Birdie.
Landed several guest spots on series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and 8 Simple Rules before being cast as Summer Roberts on The O.C. in 2003.