Known for her roles in 678, Alexandria... New York, and other Egyptian films, Karim was the recipient of a 2004 Cairo International Film Festival Best Actress Award and a 2011 Asia Pacific Screen Awards Jury Grand Prize.
She made her television debut in 2000 and her film debut in a 2001 feature titled Shabab Ala Elhawa.
Aside from her acting career, she worked as both a ballet dancer and a model.
Born Nelly Mohammed Atallah, she grew up in Alexandria, Egypt, in a family of both Egyptian and Russian heritage. Her marriage to Hani Abu Naga resulted in children named Kinda, Celia, Yousef, and Karim.
She and Sherihan both became successful screen actresses in their native Egypt.