Daniels was born in Orange County, California. She is of Czech, English, and German descent. She was an athlete in high school and volleyball, softball, soccer, track and field, football, golf, and tennis were among the sports she played. She attended an art school for about two years, but dropped out.
Daniels began stripping prior to her porn career to pay off her art school debt. Her stage name was derived from the first name of an ex-boyfriend as an act of revenge against him. She entered the adult film industry in January 2011 and joined the agency OC Modelling. Her first scene was for Reality Kings. She was initially a lesbian-only performer, but later started performing with men also. Her first four sex scenes with men were in the film Dani Daniels: Dare for Elegant Angel. Elegant Angel also produced an all-girl film titled Dani, which features Daniels in every scene. Dani won the 2013 AVN Award for Best All-Girl Release.
Daniels was the Twistys Treat of the Month for July 2011, the Penthouse Pet of the Month for January 2012, and Elegant Angel‘s Girl of the Month for March 2014. That same month, Brazzers cast her in the lead role of a five-part series titled The Whore of Wall Street, an adult parody of The Wolf of Wall Street.
Daniels performed for the 2014 film Dani Daniels Deeper, which won the AVN Award for Best Interracial Release and the XBIZ Award for Interracial Release of the Year in 2015. In 2015, she collaborated with Doc Johnson to create a line of sex toys,which won the 2016 AVN Fan Award for Most Amazing Sex Toy.
In addition to working in the adult entertainment industry, Daniels is also a blogger and painter. She creates her artwork under the name Pen15. Her technique is pointillism.As of January 2016, she is attending flight school. She identifies as bisexual but mainly considers herself a “girl/girl model”. She voiced her support for Bernie Sanders in the2016 United States presidential election as well as her dislike for Donald Trump.