Sharma was raised in Bangalore. She was educated at the Army School there, and received a degree in arts from Mount Carmel College. She originally intended to pursue a career in modelling or journalism, and had no aspirations to be an actress. After graduation, Sharma moved to Mumbai to further her modelling career. She enrolled herself at the Elite Model Management, and was groomed by the style consultant Prasad Bidapa. In 2007, Sharma made her runway debut at the Lakme Fashion Week for designer Wendell Rodricks's Les Vamps Show and was picked to be his finale model at the Spring Summer 2007 Collection. Since then she has done campaigns for the brands Silk & Shine, Whisper, Nathella Jewelry and Fiat Palio. Sharma later said, "I think I was born to emote and act. I would walk down the ramp and smile and they used to say, 'give us a blank look. ' It was really difficult, not to smile". Whilst modelling, Sharma also joined an acting school and began auditioning for film roles.