Moore was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan by her grandmother (and primary inspiration) Doris. She is of African-American ancestry, and is a graduate of Cass Technical High School; whose other notable alumni include Diana Ross, David Alan Grier, Lily Tomlin, and Miss USA 1990 Carole Gist (the first African American to win). After high school, she went to Wayne State University where she majored in Psychology.
At Miss Universe 1993, Kenya was heavily booed after becoming one of the 10 semifinalists. This was attributed to Kenya's entry into the top 10, while Miss Mexico 1993 failed to make the cut. It gained attention in 2007 when Miss USA Rachel Smith was booed at Miss Universe in Mexico again. Both women were of African-American descent competing against Mexican women of white descent.
Kenya has appeared on the cover of several major magazines, including Glamour, Seventeen, Ebony and Essence. She is recognizable for her roles in movies such as Waiting to Exhale, Deliver Us From Eva and the 2007 Lindsay Lohan thriller I Know Who Killed Me. In addition to her guest hostess spot on BET's Video Soul, Moore made guest appearance roles in notable sitcoms such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Living Single, The Jamie Foxx Show, Martin, In the House, The Steve Harvey Show and on the UPN sitcom Girlfriends. One of her best acting roles came in the independent film Trois which also starred Gretchen Palmer and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation star Gary Dourdan. Trois went on to become one of the highest grossing African-American films of 2000.
Kenya has also been featured in several music videos, including R&B group Shai's "I Don't Wanna Be Alone", rapper Nas' "Street Dreams" and the Jay-Z & Jermaine Dupri Grammy-nominated hit "Money Ain't a Thang".
She founded the Kenya Moore Foundation which awards scholarships to under-privileged girls from her high school alma-mater. In 2007, she released her first book Game, Get Some!, that coaches men on how to get the woman of their dreams as she reveals the secrets of what women really desire from men.