Navya Nair was born to Raju & Veena Raju who hails from Cheppad, a village near Harippad in Aleppo District. The film director K. Madhu is her uncle. She studied at Bethany Balikamadom High School, Nangiarkulangara till 10th grade and then at MSM Higher Secondary School, where her mother was a teacher. She married Mumbai-based businessman, Santhosh Menon, on 21 January 2010 and they have a son Sai Krishna, born on 22 November 2010.
The first film opportunity for Navya Nair offered during her schooling, starring opposite Dileep in Ishtam in 2001. There followed roles in partnership with Dileep, in films such as Mazhathullikkilukkam, Kunjikoonan, Kalyanaraman, Pandippada, Gramaphone and Pattanathil Sundaran. The most popular character of Navya is that of 'Balamani' in Nandanam. She won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress in 2002 for the same. She has been paired with Mohanlal, Mammooty, Suresh Gopi, Jayaram, Dileep, Prithviraj, and Jayasurya. She started acting in offbeat movies, such as Saira and Kanne Madanguka when her chances in commercial films decreased. Saira was the opening film in the section Tous Les Cinemas Du Monde at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2007, which was the 4th Malayalam film screened at the Cannes International Film Festival. Saira has participated in 21 other international film festivals like USA, Brazil, Israel, Russia, Italy, Greece, Zimbabwe, Belgium, Bangladesh etc. She won the state award again in 2005 for her performance in Kanne Madanguka and Saira. Her debut in Tamil cinema came with Azhagiya Theeye and her first role in Kannada cinema was in Gaja but the most notable one was the 2009 Tamil movie Aadum Koothu, which won the National Award for the best Tamil film. The T.V.Chandran film revolved around a character called Manimekala played by Navya Nair. She has around 50 movies to her credit. After marriage, she stopped her full-time acting career. She came back to film through "Scene Onnu Nammude Veedu" in 2012. After a gap of almost 2 years from then she did "Drishya", a Kannada remake of Malayalam megahit thriller "Drishyam". She has acted in some advertisements also. She also judged Sunfeast Delishus Star Singer Season-7 on Asianet. "Navya Rasangal" is the first published book of Navya Nair. It is her autobiography. She is a well trained classical dancer and has performed in many stages. She has won many awards as a dancer.