Shaya was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel and immigrated to America as a child. Her father and ex-husband Charlie Castro also worked as police officers. Carol Shaya divorced Castro on September 16, 1997 and has since dropped the Castro from her name.
In August 1994 Shaya, a NYPD officer, appeared nude in Playboy after receiving authorization to engage in outside work from her Captain/Commanding Officer. On October 28, the NYPD filed departmental charges against Shaya seeking her termination for unauthorized off-duty employment and improper use of her uniform and the Police Department logo. Because she had received prior authorization, the Judge overturned the department's termination request and placed Shaya on modified duty on a temporary basis until the media stopped following her while on duty. On March 7, 1995, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton overturned the departmental judge's ruling and terminated Shaya anyway, saying her appearance in Playboy violated the City Charter and the department's rules.
In response, Shaya sued the department for US $10,000,000 for wrongful dismissal and gender discrimination. In her claim, she said that other, male, officers who appeared in pornographic films, not just softcore pictorials, were merely suspended, and not fired. Her lawsuit was criticized by Stanley Crouch in an American Enterprise Institute speech. The case, Shaya-Castro v. New York City Police Department, 649 N.Y.S.2d 711 (1996). , was decided against her, and upheld on appeal.
The Beaux Arts Society (founded in 1857) coronated Carol Shaya "Queen" of the Beaux Arts Ball, which was held on November 11, 1994 at The Liederkranz Club in Manhattan. Joe Franklin was coronated King at that event and the two of them reigned as Royal Family Members for one year. Carol Shaya is a Life Member of the Beaux Arts Society.
In 1994, Shaya appeared as Sergeant Witoshensky, a recurring role in the television police drama, New York Undercover. Shaya also starred as Detective Fine (Lead) in the film direct-to-video Silent Prey in 1997. Carol Shaya starred Off-Broadway as Dori Grossman in Grandma Sylvia's Funeral at the SoHo Playhouse. In August 2004, the New York Times reported Shaya was selling real estate in the Queens borough of New York City. Carol Shaya now resides in West Hollywood, California where she works as an actress and personal trainer. She is currently in negotiation for a potential show deal and is actively pursuing her career in the entertainment field. Carol Shaya is an active member of the Screen Actor's Guild.
Carol Shaya's television appearances include having been a guest on Conan O'Brien, Tom Snyder, Howard Stern, Entertainment Tonight, Hard Copy, Extra!, E! Special "Sex On The Riviera", E! News Daily, The Girlee Show, Geraldo Rivera, American Journal, Today Show, Inside Edition, Good Day New York, Dateline, Live At Five, Queens Live, VH1 "Sex & Videotapes", and appearances on British and German television shows.
Carol Shaya's radio appearances include having been a guest on Howard Stern, Scott & Todd, John Lander & Patti Steel, Ed Lover & Dr. Dre, Jeff Fox & Ken Webb, Rambling with John Gambling, AM Philadelphia with Amy Buckman, Broadway Bill Lee, and also British radio shows.