Turner-Smith was born in Peterborough to Jamaican parents; she is the only one of her siblings who was not born in Jamaica. After her parents divorced she moved to the United States with her mother.
She was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in her senior class at Gaithersburg High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008. She has lived in Los Angeles since 2009.
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Turner-Smith worked as a banker in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, until a mutual friend introduced her to musician Pharrell Williams after a N.E.R.D. concert.
When she told him she was looking to become a writer, he convinced her to become a model and move to Los Angeles.
In 2013, she made her acting debut, as a siren in True Blood,which led to numerous minor roles in films and music videos between 2013 and 2017. During this time, she was credited as Jodie Smith. In 2016, she appeared in the music video for Zayn Malik’s “Pillowtalk.”
She first came to prominence playing Sgt. Azima Kandie in the 2017–2018 season of the TNT series The Last Ship. She then had a major role as Melantha Jhirl in the 2018 Syfy/Netflix series Nightflyers.
She began starring as Josie in the Cinemax series Jett, which premiered in June 2019 and starred as Queen in the 2019 road trip/crime film Queen & Slim, opposite Daniel Kaluuya.
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