Bowden was raised in Wyckoff, NJ. She was discovered at the age of 14, when a family friend, whose own children had modeling careers, suggested that Bowden's parents send pictures of their daughter to a talent manager. The manager, who previously guided the careers of child stars Christina Ricci and Keshia Knight Pulliam, recognized Bowden's potential and set about grooming her for future stardom by sending her off to acting lessons. In no time, Bowden started appearing in catalogs and print advertisements, then in television commercials for J.C. Penney and Dr. Pepper. She soon graduated to appearing in music videos for Jewel and Fall Out Boy. All the while, Bowden squeezed auditions and acting gigs in between attending Immaculate Heart Academy, a private Catholic school in the Township of Washington, NJ.Bowden landed her first break in series television with a guest spot on the venerable "Law & Order" franchise, playing the friend of a missing girl in a 2006 episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC, 1999-). She also took what would have been a recurring role on the daytime drama, "One Life to Live," (ABC, 1968-2013), playing the role of bad girl, Britney. But as soon as she had accepted the daytime gig, Bowden was offered a spot on "30 Rock." Dropping plans to attend college at Marymount Manhattan at the last minute, Bowden jumped and said yes to the role - one she considered to be a one in a million opportunity. Although she did not appear in the show's unseen original pilot - where the part was played by a different actress - Bowden did appear in the pilot that eventually aired, having turned 18 just around the time of filming.Bowden, who often went by "Katie," held her own among powerhouse comic performers Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan, both formerly of "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975-); comedian Judah Friedlander and A-list feature film actor, Alec Baldwin, who went on to win an Emmy Award for his hilarious portrayal of domineering network executive Jack Donaghy. Through it all, Bowden deadpanned lines with a look that was not simple-minded, but disengaged, and often considered co-workers who were in their mid-30s as "old" - not so much a mean but a neutral analysis. In one memorable scene, when asked by Liz Lemon (Fey) if she would mind going out to pick up coffee, Bowden's character looked up from her magazine and replied, "Oh, no thanks."