Gabrielle Reece was born on 6th January 1970 in La Jolla, California and raised in Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. She returned to the U.S. mainland for the eleventh grade, when she took up sports. She accepted a volleyball scholarship from the Florida State University, where she majored in communications, and in volleyball she led the league in kills four times and blocks once.
In 1989, she moved to New York City to pursue more rigorously a parallel career as a sports fashion model and also continue in her pro volleyball career. In 1997, she was selected for induction into the Florida State University Athletic Hall of Fame. Reece set two school volleyball records in solo blocks (240) and total blocks (747), both of which still stand. FSU inducted Reece into the Florida State University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997.
She trained hard to hone her skills in 2-person beach volleyball and competed domestically in the 1999-2000 Olympic Challenge Series and the 1999-2000 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. In 1997, competing with the best global beach volleyball players ever assembled, Gabby’s 4-person team took first place at the first-ever Beach Volleyball World Championships.
She also appeared as a guest on Extreme Makeover Home Edition and America's Next Top Model and The Tyra Banks Show. In 2007, Reece and her husband Laird Hamilton, appeared in the ABC reality television series Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race, featuring a dozen celebrities in a stock car racing competition. In the first round of competition, she matched up against the former NFL coach Bill Cowher and the actor William Shatner.