Vinson was born in Sydney, New South Wales, where she was raised by her single mother. Her father is from New Zealand but he lives in Canada. Vinson studied with the Australian Theatre for Young People for four years and enrolled as a student in the Brent Street School of Performing Arts, studying dance when she was twelve. On leaving high school, Vinson continued her studies as a full-time student with the Brent Street School.
Vinson played the role of Cassie Turner in the Australian soap opera Home and Away from 2004 to 2008. She joined the show permanently in December 2004, having previously appeared twice on the show as a minor character and auditioning for the role of Martha McKenzie but losing out to Jodi Gordon. In 2006 Vinson was nominated for a TV WeekLogie Award for Best New Talent for her performance in Home and Away. In April 2008 Vinson announced she would be leaving the series to pursue a career in the United States. She portrayed the role of Lori Mandel, a pregnant woman held hostage in a bank in CSI: NY. Vinson also had a guest role in episode 13 of NCIS, "Broken Bird", which first aired on 13 January 2009. She played the part of an airline hostess named Jeannette. She was then cast as one of the leads of Blue Crush 2, which was filmed in mid-2010 and the action thriller No Man's Land directed by Jason Cox. She appeared in Matchbox Twenty's music video "Put Your Hands Up".. She had the lead role in 2013's You're Next.