Szohr was born in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin of Hungarian and African-American descent. Szohr (pronounced "Zoar") was discovered at age 17, when she began working as a Kohl's Department Store model.
Szohr has also modeled for Crate and Barrel, Mountain Dew, Sears, Quaker Oats, Jockey, JanSport and Seventeen magazine, where she received a full-page ad for Claire's Boutique. Szohr has had appearances in many TV shows including: Somebody Help Me, CSI: Miami, Gossip Girl, House at the End of the Drive, The Reading Room, That's So Raven, Joan of Arcadia, Drake & Josh, What I Like About You, Uncle Nino and My Wife And Kids, as well as acting in the video, "Over You," by Daughtry. Out of all the characters in Gossip Girl, Jessica identifies with her character Vanessa the most. Jessica enjoys watching Dirty Sexy Money, The Office, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Jessica has several tattoos - something unknown written on the side of her left foot, an angel on top of her right foot, the number sequence "7663" on her left inner arm and the word "simplicity" running vertically along her right side