Amy Lysle Smart was born in Topanga, California. Inspired by her friend Vinessa Shaw, Smart studied ballet for ten years and enrolled in acting classes when she was 16, but began her career as a fashion model, working in Italy, France, Mexico, and Tahiti (Awards-winning spots for Club Med directed by Bruno Aveillan);.
Smart's first film role was for director Martin Kunert's film Campfire Tales, followed by a very minor role in the 1997 film Starship Troopers as the co-pilot for (and friend of); Carmen Ibanez (Denise Richards);. Amy had a starring role in the mini-series titled The 70s, playing a young woman from Ohio. In 1999, Smart played the girlfriend of a popular football player (played by James Van Der Beek); in the film Varsity Blues. Also, Smart appeared in the series Felicity, as a girlfriend of Scott Foley's character. She subsequently appeared in a number of films catering to a teenage audience, many of which were successful, including Road Trip (2000); and The Butterfly Effect (2004);. In 2002, she was ranked #27 in Stuff magazine's "100 Sexiest Women in the World" and in 2004, she was nominated for "Best Kiss" at the MTV Movie Awards for her role in Starsky & Hutch.