Burns was born in Dallas, Texas, the daughter of Brad and Betsy Burns. Burns has two sisters. She was a ballet dancer for twelve years during childhood and started modeling at age fifteen after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament in a skiing accident. At age 16, Burns and her family moved to Europe, where she later lived in Paris, Milan and Munich.
From 1998 to 2001, Burns starred in Baywatch as the character Jessie Owens. Burns starred in North Shore, a prime-time soap opera on Fox that consisted of 21 episodes which ran from June 14, 2004 through January 13, 2005. In 2006, starred in the WB series Pepper Dennis playing Kathy Dinkle.