Yukta was born in the Sindhi-speaking Mookhey family in Bombay, Maharashtra, India, on October 7, 1979. Her family consists of her dad, Inderlal, the former Managing Director of Ragz Clothing Company, but is now a Real Estate Agent who also deals in stocks and bonds; her mom, Aruna, who runs a grooming saloon 'Swiss Chalet' in Santa Cruz, Bombay; and a brother, Kanwal, who is an engineering student.
She studied in Dubai, U.A.E. for seven years, as Inderlal worked over there. The family re-located to Mahatma Gandhi Road, Mulund (West), Bombay during the year 1986. After completing her school, she went on to study in V.G. Vaze College, Mulund, and obtained a degree in Zoology. She has also studied Fine Arts for 3 years; has a diploma in computers from Aptech; and three year Hindustani Classical Music course.
She shot into the limelight in India after being crowned Femina Miss India 1999. She then went on to win the Miss World title in London, England. She took over this title from Annie Thomas and would relinquish it to Priyanka Chopra during the year 2000.
She first appeared on the silver screen in an item number in the 2001 Tamil movie 'Poovellam Un Vasam', which was directed by Ezhil and starred Ajith and Jyothika in the lead roles. Her first major release in Bollywood was the 2002 'Pyaasa' opposite Aftab Shivdasani. She was to appear in the 2003 release 'Market' but opted out due to an injury. She then appeared in two movies 'Love In Japan' and 'Memsaab' during the year 2005 as well as a music video 'Kathputli' during 2006.