Janani Iyer was born into a Tamil family. She studied at D.A.V. School in Gopalapuram and later completed engineering in computer science at Saveetha Engineering College in Chennai. After her studies, she ventured into modelling and appeared in over 150 regional television advertisements. However, she said, she always dreamt of becoming an actress, considering acting to be her "passion in life". During her modelling career, she appeared in insignificant cameo roles in Thiru Thiru Thuru Thuru in 2009 and Gautham Menon's Vinnaithaanda Varuvaayaa in 2010, though she had initially signed the latter film to play the second heroine. In early 2010, following the recommendation of director A. L. Vijay, Janani went to audition for director Bala, who was looking for a Tamil-speaking newcomer for the lead female character for his film project, Avan Ivan. Her next release was Paagan. In 2013, she made her debut in Malayalam cinema with 3 Dots. In 2014, her Tamil Film Thegidi released with both critical and Box office acclaim. She has signed four more Malayalam films Koothara, Edison Photos, Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal and Seventh Day. Her upcoming movies include Machuka, Edison photos.