Tanedra Howard was born and raised in Inglewood, California. She attended Santa Monica College, where she was a member of the cheer squad, and El Camino College. In 2006, Howard was one out of 500 actors chosen to try out for the ABC reality show I Wanna Be a Soap Star 3, but did not make it on the show. She had an uncredited role in the remake of Prom Night, titled Grad Night, in 2006. The same year, Howard's roommate showed her an ad on Craigslist, where Lionsgate Films was holding auditions for the VH1 acting competition reality TV show Scream Queens. She had no acting experience but auditioned and was cast. Howard spent five and half weeks competing in weekly challenges with nine other actors and ultimately won the competition, earning the role of Simone, a predatory lender, in Saw VI in 2009. She reprised her role in Saw 3D, released on October 29, 2010. Besides that, Howard also appeared in the online Shane Dawson Christmas special.