Zeenat Aman was born in Mumbai (erstwhile Bombay) to a Muslim father, Amanullah Khan and a Hindu mother, Scinda. Her father was a script writer who was one of the writers for such movies as Mughal-e-Azam and Pakeezah. He died when Zeenat was 13. Her mother re-married to a German, Mr. Heinz (was constantly referred to as Mrs. Heinz in all subsequent articles film magazines would carry on Zeenat). Zeenat’s mother obtained German citizenship, and took her to Germany, where Zeenat was very unhappy, returning to India as soon as she turned 18.
Aman graduated from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai and went to University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California for further studies on student aid. Upon returning to India, she first took a job as a journalist for Femina and then later on moved on to modeling. One of the first few brands that she modeled for was Taj Mahal Tea and Television X Debut in 1966 exclusively. She was the second runner up in the Miss India Contest and went on to win the Miss Asia Pacific in 1970.