Gayatri Jayaraman was born to Jayaraman, an auditor, and Chitra, a housewife. She was educated at Adarsh Vidyalaya and then Church Park in Mumbai. Gayatri initially wanted to pursue a career in medicine and despite getting 94 percent in board exams, she did not get a medical seat, and hence began reading a B.Sc in Life Science at IGNOU. She balanced her time between modelling and education and thus also went on to study physiotherapy at SRM College in Chennai. She has participated in the beauty pageants, winning the Miss Tamil Nadu title in October 1997 and Miss South India title in 1998. She entered the final stages of Femina Miss India 2000, after being selected among the 26 finalists from 8000 entries and made it through to the final 5, eventually finishing fourth. She has also been a video jockey on television. She made her acting debut in the Kannada film Neela and she won critical acclaim at the box office and was selected as one of the thirty-two Indian films to feature at the International Film Festival of India. She made her Tamil film debut after being approached by producer KRG to feature in his Manadhai Thirudivittai opposite Prabhu Deva, the film became a commercial failure. Her Telugu film debut was with Srikanth in Aaduthu Paaduthu. She featured in a small role in Vaseegara alongside Vijay and Sneha. In May 2007 she married Samit Sawhny, an Indian entrepreneur and author, in the Andaman Islands in a small and private wedding function. She retired from films after her marriage and is now a certified scuba diving instructor in the Andaman Islands.