Tinsley Mortimer was born to a Virginia family. Her family is descended from John Mercer, the writer of the first Code of Virginia. Tinsley spent her childhood at Graymont, the Mercer family house in Richmond, and made her debut at the Bal du Bois. She was also a nationally-ranked tennis player, trained by coach Nick Bollettieri. She attended boarding school at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, where she met her husband, Topper Mortimer. The couple moved to New York, where Tinsley graduated from Columbia University with a degree in art history. Though the two parted ways in 2009, they remain good friends.
On the New York charity and party circuit, Tinsley is largely known for her self-proclaimed “girly girl” style. While working at Vogue and, later, the public relations firm Harrison & Shriftman, Mortimer’s unique look caught the eye of society photographers and she has since been featured on the pages of Vogue, WWD, Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire magazine, to name a few.
Tinsley is considered one of the most photographed socialites in New York. Her handbag line, Samantha Thavasa by Tinsley Mortimer, debuted in winter 2006 with its American flagship store on the Upper East Side. In summer 2007, she became the beauty ambassador of Christian Dior and helped to create a lip gloss called Tinsley Pink for the brand. In fall 2007, she introduced her first clothing collection, Riccimie by Tinsley Mortimer, sold exclusively in Japan. In 2008, Tinsley made her first TV debut on the season premiere episode of “Gossip Girl.” In 2010, she starred in the reality show “High Society.” Tinsley has also appeared on Extra, Access Hollywood, E!, America’s Next Top Model, and The Fashion Show on Bravo. Tinsley lives in Chelsea with her two Chihuahuas, Bebe and Bella.