Deborah Gregory was born in Brooklyn, New York. When she was only three years old, her mother was institutionalized, and young Deborah was put into foster care. As a teenager, she started designing her own clothes, and fantasized about a singing career. At the age of eighteen, she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology. She graduated in 1986 with a BS in Cultural Studies from Empire State College. After graduation, she found success as a model in Europe. Gregory has written for various magazines including Essence, More, US, and Entertainment Weekly. In 1999, she penned the book series The Cheetah Girls. The books were adapted into a series of original movies by Disney Channel, starting in 2003. She also wrote Catwalk and Catwalk: Strike a Pose.