Wilson was born and raised in the small coastal town of Gold Beach, Oregon, United States, the daughter of Kathy and Dale Wilson. While in high school, she competed on the school's volleyball team. She was crowned Miss Teen USA in 1990 at the age of 17 in Biloxi, Mississippi, and was the second contender from Oregon to win the crown. She graduated from Gold Beach High School in 1991.
Wilson has starred in The Rocky Horror Show (off-Broadway) and was a judge on the 2006 Miss Universe competition. Wilson is also a singer and was featured on Tommy Shane Steiner's debut album Then Came the Night, performing a spoken-word part in "What We're Gonna Do About It". This song reached number 43 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts in 2002.