Padmapriya was born to parents Janakiraman, a brigadier in the Indian Army, and Vijaya and brought up in Punjab. She did her schooling at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Trimulgherry, Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh and studied at Loyola Academy, Alwal, Secunderabad, from which she graduated with a B. Com degree. Later, she pursued an MBA degree in finance at Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies, Harihar. She was then working for GE Capital as a risk consultant in Bangalore and Gurgaon. After GE she was with Symphony in Bangalore. During her free-time, she ventured into modelling, which would later pave her way to the film business and acting. She has also won Miss Andhra Pradesh in 2001. While studying in 12th class in Andhra Pradesh, Padmapriya did a music album. She also holds a PG Diploma in Environmental Law from National Law School of India University and Masters in Public Administration from New York University. Padmapriya got married to Jasmine, who is from Gujarat and works as the Policy Head for South Asia at Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, headquartered in Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on November 12, 2014 at Mumbai.
Padmapriya made her acting debut in the 2003 Telugu film Seenu Vasanthi Lakshmi. This made possible her entry into the Malayalam film industry in the same year, starring in the film Kaazhcha alongside superstar Mammootty. In 2005, she acted in her first Tamil-language film, Thavamai Thavamirundhu. She next starred in the Malayalam film Rajamanikyam again alongside Mammootty. Thecomedy film, featuring also Rahman and Sindhu Menon, was a universal blockbuster, becoming the most popular film of the year, Padmapriya's highest-grossing film till date and even the highest-grosser in the history of Malayalam cinema, after Twenty: 20. In 2006, she appeared in 6 films. Her first release that year was Vadakkum Nathan. She next starred in the Tamil film Pattiyal, was a commercial and critical success, becoming one of the highest-grossing Tamil films of the year. Later that year, she acted in the Malayalam-language film Karutha Pakshikal and Yes Your Honour, which both were well appreciated by critics. In 2007, she had 7 releases, the first being Anchil Oraal Arjunan. Next she starred in Veeralipattu and Satham Podathey, a Tamil film. She also enacted in Naalu Pennungal, Mirugam, Irumbukkottai Murattu Singam, Kutty Shranku, Naayika. She made her Hindi debut venture Striker opposite Siddharth Narayan and Kannada debut film Thamassu alongside Shivrajkumar.