In March 1994, she traveled to New York for test pictures and received enthusiastic responses, however, she did not return to New York until July 1994, after gaining a successful advertisement for Abercrombie & Fitch.

Much of fall and spring 1994 were spent commuting between Omaha and New York.

She joined Company Management, which already represented Jaime Rishar, a more established model.

Despite her success, King noted that she "remember[s] the times where I was so alone" and thought she was "never gonna be able to be a kid." In 2004, King, along with Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, and Eva Mendes was chosen as a spokesmodel for a high-profile ad campaign for Revlon.

The advertisements were featured in print, television, theatrical, outdoor and Internet venues, In 1999, King began her acting career and made her debut in the Daniel Waters' comedy Happy Campers, as Pixel.

Slackers received negative responses from critics, including one who found that the characters "are not so strikingly original as to elevate the slack material", while Four Faces of God and Lone Star State of Mind did not have wide theatrical releases.

2003 saw King in the film Bulletproof Monk, alongside Chow Yun-fat and Seann William Scott, an adaptation of a comic book by Michael Avon Oeming.

After five auditions, a screen test, and a physical test, she landed the role of Jade, a character skilled in martial arts. Bulletproof Monk received mostly negative reviews from critics, who cited that the fight scenes were not as well choreographed or directed as those other genre films, and that the alternating comedic and action scenes were jarring.

Regardless, Bulletproof Monk was nominated for Choice Movie in a Drama/Action Adventure award at the Teen Choice Awards.Following her debut acting roles, King appeared briefly in the film Blow, portraying the adult Kristina Jung, daughter of cocaine smuggler George Jung (portrayed by Johnny Depp).King made her first appearance in a large Hollywood production with her role as the seventeen-year-old nurse, Betty, in the World War II epic romance Pearl Harbor (2001).She was featured in the cover story of the New York Times Magazine published on February 4, 1996, and had walked the runway for Chanel and Christian Dior.In 1998, she began co-hosting MTV's fashion series, House of Style, with fellow model turned actress Rebecca Romijn.King landed dual roles (as twins) in the film adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel Sin City.