Vickers was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the daughter of jazz musician Charles Vedder. During her youth, she traveled with her parents to their various performances. She attended the University of California, Los Angeles, and studied journalism. While at UCLA, she took a class in acting and discovered that she enjoyed it, so she changed her major to drama. She began making television commercials. She later moved to New York City to model for White Rain shampoo advertisements, but she eventually returned to California to pursue an acting career.