Born on November 6, 1972, Romijn-Stamos is the daughter of a Dutch father and a Dutch-American mother. Her parents, a custom toy and furniture maker and an English as a Second Language teacher, divorced when she was seven. Romijn-Stamos, whose first language is Dutch, grew up in the hippie counterculture of Berkeley in the '70s. She attended Berkeley High School where her cheerfulness, blonde locks, and long legs earned her the nickname "Jolly Blonde Giant." After graduation, she enrolled in the music program at the University of Southern California at Santa Cruz to study singing. Partially into her freshman year, Romijn-Stamos grew restless. She yearned to travel but could barely afford her tuition. A friend introduced her to a Parisian modeling scout, who convinced her to move to Paris.