Hawkins is perhaps best known for her "crumpet" roles in various British comedy films and TV programmes of the 1970s, such as Please Sir! and in two Carry On films: Carry On Abroad (1972), alongside Sally Geeson, and Carry On Behind (1975), alongside Sherrie Hewson. She appeared in the Carry On Laughing television series, but she declined to appear in the 1976 Carry On England, finding the proposed nudity excessive (the part written for Hawkins was played instead by Tricia Newby). Other film appearances at this time included principal roles in British comedy films Not Now, Comrade and Confessions of a Pop Performer. At the end of 1976, she appeared in the Porridge episode "No Way Out" as a fake Doctor assigned to secretly give Fletcher a false passport.
Hawkins "more or less retired" in 2005, with the aim of devoting more time to spiritual matters and animal care.