Dakota was raised on the outer part of Cape Cod, Massachusetts by her phenomenal single mom and later moved to New Haven, Connecticut, where she attended Wilbur Cross High School and the Educational Center for the Arts as a poetry/prose student. Dakota earned her B.A. at Vassar College and was awarded the Molly Thatcher Kazan Prize for excellence in Dramatic Studies upon graduating. She spent a few years in publishing, working in the publicity department at Dell and in editorial at the Yale University Press. Realizing she wasn't pursuing her dream, Dakota began studying Meisner with Maggie Flanigan in New York and completed the studio's two year professional actors training program. She then moved to Boston to be closer to family, and there launched a successful regional theatre and commercial career. She has appeared in a number of features, most recently playing Tobey Maguire's character's wife in Jason Reitman's Labor Day and Zoe Kazan's character's mother in a flashback that opens the Joss Whedon penned In Your Eyes, directed by Brin Hill. Dakota now lives in North Hollywood, California.