Yasmine Etemad-Amini was born in Pars Hospital in Tehran, Iran, on July 26, 1968. She attended the private Tehran Community School until the rising tensions in the late 1970s forced her family to leave Iran permanently. They settled in the San Francisco area of California, where she attended and matriculated at Notre Dame High School.
She is a graduate of George Washington University, obtaining a BA in political science, and a doctorate in jurisprudence from its Law School. She is a member of the Maryland Bar Association.
She worked for ten years as a staff attorney for Children’s Law Center in Washington, DC, representing the rights of at-risk and underprivileged youth. She was also the co-founder and a director of the Foundation for the Children of Iran. Founded in 1991, the purpose of the Foundation is to provide health care services to Iranian children or children of Iranian origin regardless of race, color, creed, religious or political affiliation. She resigned her leadership role and any affiliation with the Foundation in February 2014. In November 2018, she announced that she had breast cancer.