Swathi’s father, who was an officer in the Indian Navy, was training as a submariner in the Soviet Union. She has one elder brother named Siddharth. While studying in 11th class, she moved to Hyderabad. She enrolled at St. Mary’s College in Yousufguda, Hyderabad and graduated in biotechnology. After her EAMCET, she ventured into television at age 17 by hosting a show called "Colors". Due to a positive response, she went on to present over 150 episodes. After completing the first year of her graduation, she made her debut in feature films.
She made her debut in supporting roles. Her first film in supporting role was Danger, a Telugu Movie. It received negative reviews. Her next movie release in support role was Aadavari Matalaku Ardhalu Verule which released in 2007. That film was a hit. In 2008, she debuted as a female lead in her first Tamil movie Subramaniapuram. For her performance in Ashta Chamma she won the Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Teluguand Nandi Award for Best Actress. She made her debut in Malayalam with Amen which was a super hit. She also acted in Kanimozhi, Poraali, Idharkuthane Aasaipattai Balakumara, Vadacurry, Yatchan, Swamy Ra Ra, North 24 Kaatham. Swathi has been occasionally working as a voice actor and playback singer as well. In 2008, she had dubbed for actress Ileana D'Cruz in the film Jalsa. In 2010, she gave her voice to an HIV/AIDS education animated software tutorial created by the nonprofit organization Teach AIDS. In 2011, she turned playback singer, rendering her voice for two songs, "Unbelievable" and "A Square B Square", for the soundtrack albums of her own film Katha Screenplay Darshakatvam Appalaraju and 100% Love, respectively. She has also appeared in an advertisement for "Cadbury DAIRYMILK". Her upcoming movies are Yaakkai, Thiri, Amali Thumali.