Actress and former beauty queen Jennifer Lynne Gareis was born on August 1, 1970 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Franklin & Marshall College, where she participated as a swimmer in the varsity team. Her first prominent appearance in a beauty pageant was in 1992, when she joined—and eventually placed third—at Miss Pennsylvania USA. Two years later, she successfully competed in the Miss New York USA pageant, and represented the state in the Miss USA pageant in 1994. She placed sixth in that pageant.
Her success in the pageant led to several acting roles. She began playing small roles in films, first tackling an uncredited role in The Mirror Has Two Faces, and later appearing on Private Parts, Enough Already and Lifebreath. In 1997, Gareis got her first regular television stint, when she joined the cast of the daytime soap The Young and the Restless. She took over the role of Grace Turner, the scheming mistress of Nicholas Newman (Joshua Morrow). She left in 2000, only to return briefly a year later for a year-long stint.
Gareis’ next role on daytime soaps was in Y&R’s sister program, The Bold and the Beautiful. She joined the show in 2006, taking on the role of Donna Forrester, the wife of Eric Forrester (John McCook) and the acting CEO of the family business, Forrester Creations. To date, she still plays the role on a contract basis.
Gareis also had other significant television roles. She had a two-episode run on the mystery series Veronica Mars, as well as a guest role on Diagnosis Murder. Her other films include Miss Congeniality, The 6th Day, Luckytown, Boat Trip and Venus on the Halfshell.