Brooklyn Decker was born in Kettering, Ohio. She and her family moved to Middletown, Ohio, then to Charlotte, North Carolina. She was eventually discovered by a talent scout in a shopping mall when she was still a teenager. She then started her modeling career as the face of Mauri Simone, a popular prom dress maker. She won the 2003 Model of the Year award at the Connections Model and Talent Convention.
Decker has been featured in pictorials in Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, FHM, and Glamour, and has modeled for The Gap, Intimissimi and Victoria's Secret. She has appeared in music videos for Jimmy Buffett and the band 3 Doors Down. She is also an avid Tar Heel basketball fan.
In 2005, within two months of moving to New York City, Decker auditioned for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, in which she first appeared in 2006. She was again featured in the 2007 edition, and hosted the 2007 behind-the-scenes television special. She returned for a third consecutive time in 2008. Decker was chosen cover girl for the 2010 edition, shot on location in the Maldives islands. In 2007, she had a recurring feature on the CNN/SI website called "She Says, Z Says," along with Paul Zimmerman, discussing NFL football games of the week. Decker appeared in the 2007 made-for-television Lipshitz Saves the World, then worked for a period in Australia. She joined the cast of Sports New York to discuss the 2010 NCAA basketball tournament. In 2008, Decker rang the Stock Exchange bell with other Sports Illustrated models.