Yasmeen Ghauri was born in Montreal, Quebec to a Pakistani father, Moin Ghauri, and a German mother, Linda Ghauri. Early on in her life, Ghauri had a difficult childhood often being teased by her classmates at school for being too thin and for her ethnicity. Ghauri was reportedly working at a McDonalds restaurant at the age of 17 when she was discovered by Montreal hairdresser and salon artistic director of Platine Coiffure Edward Zaccharia. At the restaurant, she often turned up dressed in black from head to toe and people described her as having a rebellious nature. Despite this, she was named Employee of the Month. Soon after her discovery, there was a shift in mentality within the fashion industry, moving from predominantly all-American models to more "ethnic" models, a trend which Ghauri fit.