Szohr was born in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. She is of Hungarian and black ancestry. Szohr played soccer, served on the student council, and was part of the cheerleading squad while in school. She started a cleaning company with a friend, cleaning their teachers’ houses. Szohr started modeling at age six. Her first national campaign was for Quaker Oats at age ten, and she also appeared in print ads for Kohl’s department store.
Szohr made her debut as an actress in 2003 in an episode of the third season of My Wife and Kids (2001), titled My Wife and Kids: Not So Hostile Takeover (2003). Her first film was Uncle Nino (2003) playing a minor role as The MC. She appeared in numerous guest teen television series such as That’s So Raven (2003), Drake & Josh (2004), What I Like About You (2002), and Joan of Arcadia (2003). She also appeared in three episodes of CSI: Miami (2002) as Samantha Barrish.
Szohr earned her breakthrough role on the hit CW teen drama series Gossip Girl. She plays Vanessa Abrams. Szohr described her character to Ocean Drive magazine, “Vanessa doesn’t change for other people. She says what she thinks…she’s just a badass girl from Brooklyn”. The portrayal of Vanessa has drawn criticism from Ziegesar. Originally cast as a recurring role, Szohr was promoted to series regular after the season one episode “The Blair Bitch Project” in April 2008. In May 2011, it was confirmed Szohr would not be returning for the fifth season. She returned in for a cameo appearance on the series finale, “New York, I Love You XOXO”, on December 17, 2012.
In 2010, Szohr was included on People magazine’s “100 Most Beautiful People in the World” list. She dated Ed Westwick, her costar in Gossip Girl, from the years 2008 to 2010.