Jackson was born to British parents Alan Jackson and Marguerita Jackson. She has an elder sister, Alicia Jackson. Jackson attended St Edward's College, gaining ten GCSEs, and then went to sixth form to study English language, English literature, and philosophy and ethics. After winning the Miss Teen Liverpool and Miss Teen Great Britain pageants, she won the title of Miss Teen World in 2009. Jackson won eighteen prizes, which included a modelling contract in the US on a $50,000 scholarship. She won Miss Liverpool in 2010.
Subsequently Tamil film director A L Vijay spotted her and introduced Jackson as an actress in the 2010 Tamil period-drama Madrasapattinam. In 2011, she was signed by Gautham Menon to play the female lead opposite Prateik Babbar in the Hindi remake of the 2010 hit romantic drama film Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya. In September 2012, Jackson made her return to Tamil cinema with a supporting role in Thaandavam. She made her début in Telugu cinema with the Vamsi Paidipally film Yevadu. She next starred as a super model Diya in Shankar's romantic thriller film I, her biggest project in her career. She signed up two other Tamil projects to be directed by Thirukumaran and Velraj and won positive reviews for her work in Velraj's Thanga Magan. She had her first Bollywood release in 2012, the romantic drama Ekk Deewana Tha. Her upcoming releases are Theri, 2.0. She has a pet cat named Alfie, with whom she posed in a PETA ad campaign promoting the adoption of animals from shelters.