Charlotte McKinney was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. She has an older sister named Garland. She has dyslexia, and says she was the target of bullying as a result of her physical development during puberty. She attended William R. Boone High School in Orlando.
After dropping out of high school at age 17, McKinney, who describes herself as “a curvier bombshell with big boobs,” pursued a modeling career but struggled to find success with an agency. Opting to rely on Instagram as a portfolio, she soon became “Insta-famous” and was profiled in Esquire. McKinney credits the social networking service as a factor in her subsequent success, which includes campaigns for the fashion brand Guess. She signed with Wilhelmina Models.
McKinney was the featured model in Carl’s Jr.’s All Natural Burger commercial, which was released online in January 2015 and aired regionally during Super Bowl XLIX. The viral ad featured McKinney walking around a farmers’ market, stating that she is “all natural” and using double entendres to imply that she is naked with strategically placed items in the market, until it reveals McKinney in a bikini eating the All Natural Burger. The success of the commercial has led to McKinney being dubbed “the next Kate Upton,” who also garnered national attention for appearing in a Carl’s Jr. commercial during a Super Bowl.
On February 24, 2015, McKinney was announced as one of the celebrities who would compete on season 20 of Dancing with the Stars. Her professional partner was Keoikantse Motsepe. The couple was the second one to be eliminated and finished in 11th place.
McKinney appeared as Missy in the film Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser.