Born in the Bronx in 1976, Joy Bryant was enrolled in an inner-city outreach organization called A Better Chance as a young woman. While studying at Yale University, she was discovered by a modeling agency scout. Working in Paris as a fashion model, she was eventually offered contracts with big names like Tommy Hilfiger and Victoria's Secret.
Bryant's acting debut came about in 2001 in Robert Townsend's Carmen: A Hip Hopera. An MTV production, the film also starred Beyoncé Knowlesand Mekhi Phifer, along with several hip-hop superstars. After a small role in the Eddie Murphy action comedy Showtime, she made her big breakthrough in Denzel Washington's directorial debut, Antwone Fisher. Bryant played Cheryl, the beautiful and supportive girlfriend of Antwone (Derek Luke). In 2003, she co-starred with Jessica Alba in Bille Woodruff's romantic drama Honey. That same year, she appeared in Mario Van Peebles' How to Get the Man's Foot Outta Your Ass, based on his father Melvin Van Peebles' autobiographical novel. Projects for 2004 include the crime drama Three Way Split with Gina Gershon and the adventure drama Haven with Orlando Bloom.